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

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 6 of 92)
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United States


New Zealand

Prance .~....

Belgium .-.,

Oth^r Rrifi«h nrM.<«^«.Qinn«

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Other foreign countries




In 1897, Canada supplied 170,986,368 pounds of cheese out of a
total import of 291,555,936 pounds.

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Cheese and butter imported into Great Britain for the year ended September jo, i8g8.
[From official British returns.]










Australasia ^ -




Foreign countries:












United States

Other countries




Grand total



* Not separately given; probably included in other countries.

In response to a letter recently addressed by me to Prof. J. W.
Robertson, commissioner of dairying for Canada, asking his views
on the subject of dairy legislation, I have received the following
synopsis of an address delivered by him before a farmer's convention
at Ottawa:

All laws dealing with commerce should aim to prevent fraud. As far as possi-
ble, they should protect the public interest against injury, even if no fraud be
intended. When a man occupies the honorable position of a legislator, it is his
duty to obtain all possible information of the facts bearing on the subject under
his consideration. It is also clearly his duty to take counsel with those who carry
on the business or businesses likely to be affected by any legislation he may pro-
mote. No man can stand outside of any business and say, **I think so and so
should be done for its benefit," with the same certainty of being right as can the
man who is actually engaged in the business. In the legislation of late years, so
far as the department of agriculture is concerned, an effort has been made to obtain
information from the people engaged in the business, and then to crystallize what
they need into a law which will benefit them and do no harm.

The dairy products act, 1893, was passed to prevent the making of "filled"
cheese in Canada. I do not believe that a single box of filled cheese has been made
in the country since that time. It was thought proper to include in the law a pro-
vision to prohibit the fraudulent branding of the word "Canada" on cheese not
made in this country. * * * Since the law was passed, if anyone falsely marks
cheese or butter with the name of "Canada" he is liable to a fine not exceeding
$20 and not less than $5 for each box of cheese or box or package of butter.

It was further thought desirable that the name of the country from which the
cheese came into Canada should be plainly marked on the package. The Govern-
ment employs an inspector at Montreal to see that all butter and cheese coming
from the United States in bond shall be branded "The produce of the United

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States" before it is exported from Canada. I think there is no doubt that the law
of 1893 was beneficial legislation, and beneficial only.

The dairy act, 1897, was passed to provide for the registration of cheese factories
and creameries and make the branding of the word ** Canada" or ** Canadian** on
ail cheese and butter intended for export compulsory. There had been a wide-
spread agitation for two years on the subject of the branding'of the date of manu-
facture on cheese. There was much conflict of opinion as to whether the date of
manufacture should be branded on the cheese or not.

The branding of the date of manufacture was not made compulsory by the
dairy act of 1897. However, section 6 of the act prohibits misrepresentation as to
dates of manufacture. It is as follows:

**No person shall knowingly sell, or offer, or expose, or have in his possession
for sale any cheese or butter upon which, or upon any box or package containing
which, is printed, stamped, or marked any month other than the month in which
such butter or cheese was made; and no person shall knowingly and with intent
to misrepresent sell, or ofifer, expose, or have in his possession for sale any cheese
or butter represented in any name as having been made in any month other than
the month in which it was actually made.*'

The penalty for violation is a fine not exceeding |20, and not less than $5, for
every box or package sold or offered or had in possession for sale contrary to the
provision of that section.

However, there was an evident desire on the part of the owners of cheese fac-
tories and creameries to have legal provision whereby they could brand on the
cheese and butter produced at their factories a registration number and be assured
of protection in the exclusive use of that number. It was not thought desirable to
make the* use of a registration number compulsory. It is quite optional, but it
provides the means of identification of the produce of any factory by a registered
number, the owner of such number having the exclusive right of using it practi-
cally as a trade-mark.

If any manufacturer has what he considers to be extra-fine cheese or butter and
desires to preserve its identity, he can do so now. The law forbids the removal of
the registration number under a penalty not exceeding |20, and not less than $5, for
every box or package. That provision of the law has already been taken advan-
tage of to a large extent. Up to last week, we had received applications from 394
factories and had issued registration numbers to 378. The registration is free.

The law of 1897 makes compulsory the branding of •'Canadian'* or ** Canada"
upon every box or package of butter and cheese exported. In the case of cheese,
the word must be branded on the cheese itself before it is taken from the factory
where it is made. The British law requires that the packages containing cheese
or butter shall be branded with the name of the country or their origin. Some time
ago, large cheddar-shaped cheese of 100 pounds and over were made in Canada, and
doubtless afterwards retailed in England as Scotch or English cheddars. The re-
tailers would get from 4 to 6 cents per pound more for it than the price at which
they were retailing Canadian cheese, but no part of this 4 to 6 cents came to Can-
ada. The injury to our cheese is wrought by the consumers being made to believe
that the cheese that they use and pay a high price for is not Canadian, although
made in Canada. I think it is important that the word " Canada" be branded, not
only on the box, but on the cheese itself, and, still better, that it be stamped into
the cheese itself, so that the word "Canada " would be apparent to those who saw the
cheese uncut in the retailer's shop. It would be a good plan to have the word
"Canada" or "Canadian" pressed into the end of the cheese while still in the
cheese press. The indentation of the letters need not be more than one-eighth of
an inch deep into the cheese. Any cheese maker who lets any cheese out of his

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factory in 1899 for export, without the word ** Canadian " or ** Canada " on each one,
is liable to a fine.

A few people who do not know the trade may complain that this is harassing
legislation. They are, perhaps, cousins of the people of whom John Bright once
spoke, when he said that there were people in the world who thought the ten com-
mandments the most harassing legislation that was ever enacted, because they
seemed to run counter to their own peculiarities so often.

I now come to speak of the bill which was introduced into the House of Com-
mons by Mr. Parmelee last year. It was entitled •*An act to prohibit improper
speculation in the sale of butter and cheese." The bill deals with the commerce of
butter and cheese, and as soon as you touch anything that concerns the bargain
making of the people, you touch something that should be dealt with in a most
careful and cautious way, but not in a cowardly way. The careful way to deal with
many matters which are known as abuses is the way we used to deal with nettles.
When you take them with a right good grip, they don't sting. All bargain making,
which is fair commerce, consists in arranging for the exchange of things. All
commerce which is honest is the exchange of things. If there is nothing to ex-
change, there can not be a fair transaction. I may bet on a horse race if I want to
bet, but that is not commerce; there is nothing to exchange. The one who gets
the money gives the one with whom he deals no equivalent.

In the exchange of things in our system of civilization, there are usually the
three classes — the producers, those who are called middlemen, and the consumers.
The producers of cheese, for example, are not merely the men who manufacture
the cheese in the factories, but they include those who keep the cows, the milk
drawers, the men who make the wagons and harness, the men who make the ma-
chinery and erect the buildings, and scores of other productive workers. These
men who are known as producers are seldom able to act as their own middlemen
with advantage.

In a few cases, the farmer can carry his own butter, cheese, eggs, and other
things to the market and in the market find the actual c6nsumer willing to exchange
money for them. But in most cases, there must be someone to do the work of
distribution. He is known as a middleman, a buyer, a merchant, or distributer.
The carrying companies who transport the cheese and other products from one
place to another are also middlemen. How are the producers in Canada to reach
the consumers in Great Britain, unless there be some middlemen in Canada to
render the service of carrying the products from here to the consumer? .

I have no sympathy with the agitation which is sometimes raised for doing
away with the middlemen. They are just as necessary for the production of wealth
in Canada as are the producing workers. The middleman is a useful person in his
place, and so long as he does his part of the nation's work, he is fairly entitled to
be well paid for his services; but he is not entitled to any more than his services
are worth.

Let me illustrate the difference between a middleman who renders services in
commerce, and a middleman who obstructs commerce. In the olden times, a trav-
eler from the north of England to London had to go by stage coach, and he might
carry some of his goods with him. He had to pay something for coach hire and
had to pay directly or indirectly for the tolls on the road. That was paying for
the capital and labor of the men who made and kept the road.

At a certain stage of the journey, in the vicinity of Epping Forest, where the
notorious Robin Hood drove his money-making business, there stood two men,
one on each side of the road, with old-fashioned pistols. They made the travelers
stand and deliver to them. They did not render any service to anybody in con-
nection with travel or commerce. They simply took the traveler's money because

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he coald not help himself. There are men in Canada now of that order, who stand
in the highways of commerce and make the toilers stand and deliver to them.

I say the law should abolish the trade of these men — not of the men who keep
the tolls or drive the coach or render any service, but of the men who stand and
say •* deliver." The law should speedily and surely abolish these men and their
occupation. It is incorrectly said that such men in Commerce arc speculators.
Not a bit of it. Speculation is a legitimate and necessary part of commerce. When
a man buys cheese in June and does not intend to sell it until September, he buys
it in the hope of a rise in the market; he is speculating — that is, hoping for a profit.
That is legitimate speculation; wholesome business. Such a buyer gets possession
of something, and every pound of butter or cheese which he owns as a speculator
makes him so much the more a factor doing all he can to keep the price up. Cheese
may be selling at 9 cents or at any other figure per pound at that time. A man may
not buy any cheese in June at all, but he may say to himself: ** I see a good chance
to make some money without doing anything; a chance of getting something for
nothing. I will offer to sell August cheese for delivery in September at 8^ cents,
and telegraph that ofifer to a score of houses in Great Britain." He has not put a
cent of money into cheese; he does not own a box of cheese; he does not render an
iota of service in the development of the cheese trade. He has merely offered to
sell August cheese for delivery in September at half a cent under the current price.

It may be that nobody in England accepts his offer, but the firms to whom he
cables will be led to say: **We have bought June cheese at 9 cents, and here we
are offered August cheese at 8^ cents. Humph! we will not buy any more cheese
just now." When anybody sends a cablegram or any other communication offering
to sell •* futures" or to sell "options," if the offer is accepted, his whole power and
influence are used to weaken the market. He is merely betting that the price will
be lower, and then he uses every means, fair and unfair, to make it lower. He
is not a necessary middleman in commerce any more than a highwayman is in
travel; and civilized nations, having abolished one, are now confronted with the
duty of preventing the other.

The matter of selling options or futures is not a theoretical evil. It has been a
great injury to the trade during the past, and, to a less extent, during some former
seasons. At a meeting of the board of trade of Montreal, held a week ago, the presi-
dent said that he deplored the practice of selling ** options" or ** futures" in cheese
and butter, that he thought the practice was on the increase, that it was getting to
be a grievous injury to the trade, and that last year it had done a great deal of

The practice of selling ** futures" in cheese and "butter works also another injury
to the trade in these products; it helps to level the price down and, in some meas-
ure, to prevent the man who has exceptionally fine goods from getting as much of
an advance over the common quality as he would otherwise obtain.

Let me give you an instance. If May and June cheese are selling at 9 cents, and
about the middle of June, when the price is 9 cents, one of these sellers in "op-
tions" or ** futures" has reason to believe that cheese will go cheaper, he may cable
to Great Britain, offering to sell to each firm 1,000 boxes of July cheese at 8 cents.
He does not own a box of cheese, but in June he may cable, offering to sell 20,000
boxes of July cheese at 8 cents. If even a few of the firms to whom he cables
accept his offer, what will be his policy? To bring down the price here below 8
cents, so that he can buy for less. If he can not do that, what then? Why, to buy
the cheapest cheese he can find, regardless of quality, and tender those on his
contracts. He would not cable to deliver '*Ai" fancy cheese, and thus he will be
in the market to buy cheese of any quality that can be tendered on his contracts at
all. That practice tends to average the price down, so that the cheese from the

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poorest factories may be paid for within a quarter or half a cent per pound from
that of the best factories.

Recently, I heard someone ask, "Why don't the merchants discriminate against
the bad flavors?" So long as options in cheese can be sold, there will be buyers to
take i,ooo boxes and more, no matter what the flavor is like. The bill introduced
by Mr. Parmelee is intended to prohibit that kind of contract — the selling of
"futures" or "options."

Clause 3 of the bill deals with two matters. It reads as follows:

"Everyone who by himself or through the agency of another person (a) sells, or
(d) ofifers to sell, or (c) agrees to sell, or (^) agrees to offer to sell any butter or cheese
which at the time such sale, oflfer. or agreeoaent is made has not been manufactured
and is not his property or the property of some person for whom he is duly author-
ized to act, is guilty of an offense, and liable on summary conviction to certain

You will observe (i) that nobody shall sell, oflfer to sell, agree to sell, or agree to
oflfer to sell cheese or butter which is not then made. What harm can that make to
anybody? If everybody is prohibited selling July cheese until July cheese is made,
whose interests will be injured by that prohibition?

(2) The bill practically forbids anybody to sell cheese or butter unless it is his
property, or the property of someone for whom he is duly authorized to act. Why
should anyone claim a right to sell what he does not own? . Even if the bill should
go so far as preventing factory salesmen from selling cheese or butter before it is
made, I think that would be a good thing. I think the factory man does not gain
anything on the whole by selling his cheese or butter before it is made. But the
bill exempts the salesman of the factory, in clause 6. It reads as follows:

"Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit any person who is duly authorized
to act for the person or persons who supply milk to any dairy or butter or cheese
factory from selling or offering to sell, or agreeing to sell, any butter or cheese to
be manufactured at such dairy or cheese factory or butter factory."

A salesman may rightly be exempted, because he represents the material and
means out of which and by which the butter and cheese will be made. So, if a fac-
tory salesman contracts to sell his cheese or butter before it is made, this bill will
not interfere with that action.

By the dairy act of 1897, the registration of cheese factories and
creameries is provided for. By this means, each factory has a spe-
cial number by which the products of such factories can be identified.

The bill referred to by Professor Robertson was introduced into
Parliament last session, but was not passed.

John L. Bittinger,

Montreal, February 75, i8gg. Consul- General.

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The following reports on the bicycle trade have been made in
answer to inquiries by a Chicago trade journal. The editor has
received advance copies of the reports.



Bicycles are in general use in the department of Marne, which
ranks third in France in the number of bicycles used in proportion
to inhabitants. The first is Paris and the second Gironde.

The roads are very good and are kept in good repair, but are
rather hilly. There is only one local factory, and its product is not

Wheels come here from England and the United States. Impor-
tation from America has increased rapidly, whereas that from Eng-
land has decreased. Three machines of American make are now
sold to one of English.

The duty is 250 francs per 100 kilograms ($48.25 per 220.46
pounds) net, either on bicycles or accessories. Bicycles enter this
district from Havre and Calais. The best communication with the
United States is via Havre. The freight by the Transatlantique
Line, New York to Havre, is $6 to $S per 40 cubic feet, in proportion
to the importance of the invoice. The port charges are —

Francs. Cents.

Bill of lading. o. 60=11. 5

Stamp , I. 20=23. 1

Sutistics o. 10= 1.9

Total 1.90=36. 5

Expenses at Havre: ^=^

Carriage to station per package... o. 20= 3. 8

Removing from custom-house do 1.00=19.3

Total 1.20=23. 1

In case the reexpediting of the goods from Havre is confided to
Mr. H. L. Breton, Boite postal 291, Havre, he would charge, instead of
20 centimes (4 cents) per package, 2 francs per 100 kilograms (38.6
cents per 220 pounds) for shipments of a minimum of 4,000 kilo-
grams (8,818 pounds). For shipments of more than twenty pack-
ages, his charge would be 50 centimes (9.65 cents) instead of i franc

•For a previous series of reports on the bicycle trade in foreign countries, see Consular Rki>orts
No. au (May, 2898), p. 123

No. 224 3.

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(19.3 cents) per package for the expense of taking out of custom-

Bicycles from the United States are almost always shipped
mounted and packed in wood-lattice cases. The bicycles are envel-
oped in very strong paper. The pedals (unmounted) are placed in
a small case inside, which also contains all the accessories (lanterns,
etc.). The handle bars are simply fastened to the interior of the
case. Each case contains from one to four machines; never more.
The cases must be very strong to stand sea voyage and rough

Many machines are sent here from houses having headquarters
in Paris, but some of the dealers named below import directly:

M. Leeroux, Place Drouet, d'Erlon; French machines.

M. Oilier, rue de Talleyrand ; English, French, and American
machines; the largest store in Rheims.

M. Malot Dieudonn6, rue de Mars ; English and French machines.

M. Ferlin, rue de Landouzy; cheap machines of any make.

M. Roselet, rue des Boucheries; English, French, and American.

W. A. Prickitt,

Rheims, December 5, i8g8. Consul.


The State highways could not possibly be better. The Charente
Inf6rieur is noted for its fine roads. The general condition of even
the small roads is excellent. The country is flat, and conditions are
ideal for cyclists.

The only manufactory of cycles in this department is at Niort.
Bicycles are transshipped here from Havre or Bordeaux. There
are bonded warehouses at La Pallice, the deep-water port of La

Goods should be crated in such a way as to protect the wheels
and yet clearly show the machines. The weight of each separate
wheel should be marked on the case, as well as the weight of case or

There is but one person in this neighborhood making direct im-
portations — Mr. Grenfell Stewart, 13 rue du Palais, La Rochelle.
Retail dealers are:

M. Bertrand, 28 rue Chandrier, La Rochelle.

M. Chaulieu, 20 quai Duperr6, La Rochelle.

M. Cacaud, 11 rue Verdi6re, La Rochelle.

M. Caduff, 32 rue St. Yon, La Rochelle.

M. Piscitelli, 14 bis rue du Temple, La Rochelle.

M. Charbonnier, 31 rue C16mot, Rochefort.

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M. Dupuy-Ferrembach, 34 rue Duvivier, Rochefort.

M. Duval, 34 rue Lafayette, Rochefort.

M. Malgat, 113 rue des Fonderies, Rochefort.

M. Moquais, 39 rue du Breuil, Rochefort.

M. Wunderer, 136 rue Chauzy, Rochefort.

M. Cassaugade, avenue Gambetta, Saintes.

M. Chass6riand, Grand rue, Saintes.

M. Peschet, Cours National, Saintes.

M. Solcart et Cie, rue St. Entrope, Saintes.

The makes found here are the Crescent, Dayton, Waverly, Cleve-
land, and Crawford — ^all American; and the Rudge and Humber,
English wheels. There are, besides, several machines of French
make, as the Acet6ne-Metropole (chainless), Clement, Etoile, Dia-
mant, .and Puegot.

George H. Jackson,

La Rochelle, December g^ i8g8. Consul,


Some time ago, the use of bicycles was confined to the wealthier
classes, but with the introduction of less expensive wheels, their use
has largely increased. In the cities especially^ a great many work-
men own bicycles.

The condition of the roads is pretty fair, but after heavy rains,
and especially in the fall and the spring, the country roads get
muddy. Certain parts of the country are very hilly and the roads
more or less rough ; therefore, bicycles ought to be strong. As a
rule, mud guards and brakes are used.

Bonded warehouses, as such, do not exist. Importers may use
their own warehouses. Goteborgs Magasins Aktiebolag, of this
city, leases storerooms in which goods may be kept under bond until
sold or otherwise disposed of. In either case, the goods are kept
under the lock and seal of the custom-house until the duty has been
paid. Upon due notice to the customs authorities, such goods (ned-
erlagsgods) may also be exported to other countries, without pay-
ment of duty; but warehouse dues must be paid. In the presence
of a custom-house official, the owner of the wares may enter the ware-

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 6 of 92)