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

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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746 NOTES.

lime had between them some 580. The reports these sealers have brought arc sat-
isfactory. Recently, it was very rare for a scaler to catch as many as 200 from the
commencement of the season to the first week of April; but this seems to be the rule,
not the exception, this year. As over forty days remain, counting from the loth
ultimo, the year's record is expected to be something extraordinary. We do not
know how the foreign sealers have fared, but probably they have not done badly
where their Japanese confreres have been so successful.

Direct Steamship Connection with Syria. — Consul Ravndal
writes from Beirut, May 26, 1899:

American manufacturers and exporters, as well as importers, will
be interested in learning that Barber & Co., Produce Exchange, New
York City, will dispatch a steamer direct for Beirut on the loth
proximo, which, after discharging at this port, will receive cargo for
New York, touching on the way home at Alexandria. According to
information in my possession, it is more than likely that this steam-
ship agency will have steamers calling at Beirut regularly once every
six weeks, and, if this proves true, a lively interchange of goods may
be expected. The consular representatives of the United States in
the Levant have for years been working for direct transportation
facilities, as essential to the development of United States trade with
countries of the eastern Mediterranean. Now that this seems to be
realized, all concerned should encourage the promoters, in order to
cnake the service permanent and a success. Steps are now being
taken towards the establishment of a sample room in Beirut, to
facilitate the introduction of American goods.

Demand for Shipping in British Columbia. — Consul Dudley
iends an undated report from Vancouver (acknowledged by the De-
partment June 17, 1899) ^s follows:

I have for several months observed the fact that very few sail-
ing vessels are coming to this port to load lumber for China, Japan,
Australia, South America, and South Africa. When I first assumed
charge of this consulate, there were a number of such vessels en-
gaged in this traffic. Many boats are needed here and would be
chartered immediately if they could be obtained, as the shippers of
lumber find it impossible to secure them. The increase in exports
of lumber from Washington and Oregon in part accounts for the
change. The large wheat crop of last year and the immense foreign
demand has also taken up much of the shipping formerly engaged
in the lumber traffic, the owners of vessels preferring to carry grain
rather than lumber. If there are sailing vessels on the Atlantic coast

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NOTES. 747

seeking employment, I feel very certain they could obtain it by com-
ing to this coast. The export of coal from Vancouver Island is
steadily increasing, and sailing vessels find employment there, al-
though the largest quantity of coal is carried by steamships. Own-
ers of vessels can secure full information by addressing any of the
shipping firms at this port, at Seattle, Wash., or at San Francisco,

New Cotton Mill in Mexico. — Consul Canada, of Veracruz,
under date of May i8, 1899, transmits newspaper clippings describ-
ing a new cotton mill located in Orizaba, about 82 miles west from
Veracruz on the Mexican Railway, as follows:

The company interested in the new concern consists mainly of French capital-
ists. The capital is {2,200,000.

Work on the building was commenced December i, 1896. In the latter part of
August, 1898, the first turbine wheel was installed.

• The power is derived from a fall in the Rio Blanco — a height of 82 feet — 5,000
liters per second. The water is stored up in a tank containing 1,200 cubic meters,
moving two turbine wheels of 500 horsepower each. From the turbine pit, 135 feet
deep, the water flows through a tunnel 670 meters in length and is used again by
the cotton factory at Nogales, another suburb of Orizaba.

The factory occupies an area of 170 square meters. The buildings are lit with
1,200 incandescent lamps and 20 arc lights. The company generates its own

In addition to the power derived from the turbine wheels, there is a magnificent
steam engine of English make; capacity, 450 horsepower. There are 8 Northrop
American looms. The balance of the machinery, with the exception of the electri-
cal plant, is English. The electrical part is French.

This factory is now the second largest in the Republic, the largest being that at
Nogiales. This concern employs some 950 operatives — men, women, and children —
but the help so far is almost entirely male, girls and women being scarce in the

Germans and Frenchmen are in charge of the printing. Six colors are printed
simultaneously, with fine engrossed English cylinders. The capacity of the mill is
1,500 bolts a day.

The mills are turning out various grades of goods, from common manta to
prints. At present, they are not making a very high class of goods, but when the
help gets more intelligent they will do so.

Mexican Port Dues. — The following, dated May 19, 1899, has
been received from Consul Jones, of Tuxpan :

I wish to call attention of shippers to article 13 of the new tariff
law that went into effect last October to protect the interior com-
merce of Mexico. According to this new law, all vessels that enter
any Mexican port and wish to proceed with the same cargo or any

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748 NOTE%S.

part of it. to another Mexican port, or vessels coming in ballast, tak-
ing part cargo at one port, then proceeding to another port to com-
plete cargo, must pay the following rates:

, , Per ton,

Atlantic ports: gross wd^bt.

Distance, 60 miles •$1.00

Upwards of 60 miles to 360 miles 3. 00

Upwards of 360 miles to 500 miles 5. o»j

Pacific coast:

Distance, 60 miles 1.00

Upwards of 60 miles to 360 miles 2.00

Upwards of 360 miles to 500 miles 3.00

Two instances of the above ruling — one a cargo of coal, another
a cargo of lumber now unloading at this port — have come to my

Match Monopoly in Venezuela. — Under date of May 22, 1899,
Minister Loomis transmits from Caracas copy and translation of the
law concerning the creation of a match monopoly by the Venezuelan*
Government. A newspaper article, also sent by Mr. Loomis, says
that it is understood that French capitalists have submitted a propo-
sition looking to the control for twenty-five years of the importation,
manufacture, and sale of matches. These capitalists are members of
the syndicate that has similar monopolies in Colombia, Bolivia,
Guatemala, and other countries. The law provides that the prices
for the matches are to be fixed by the Government, never to exceed
present prices of any particular brand. The existing factories will
be closed, the Government indemnifying them in gold, giving them
six months in which to dispose of their stock. The Government can
lease the business for a period not to exceed twenty-five years. They
are to manufacture matches equal to the best consumed. Until the
plant is installed, the syndicate will be permitted to import from its
shops in Europe. Duties on material imported are to be paid in
accordance with the existing tariff schedule. The syndicate is to pay
the Government 600,000 bolivars ($115,800) for the privilege and
shall deposit in the Credit Lyonnais 100,000 francs ($19,300) as a
guaranty for the fulfillment of the contract.

New Venezuelan Tariff. — Minister Loomis writes from Cara-
cas, under date of May 22, 1899:

The Venezuelan Congress, which adjourned on Saturday last,
enacted a new tariff law; but, owing to the numerous amendments

•The charges are presumably stated in Mexican currency. On April i, 1899, the value of the
Mexican dollar was estimated by the United States Director of the Mint at 47.3 cents.

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NOTES. 749

made to the original bill, it is not possible for me to get a corrected
copy for transmission by this mail. It can be said, however, that
there will be an average increase of 25 per cent on existing duties, a
very few articles — flour among them — being excepted. In addition
to the advance in duties made by the new law, power is given the
President to add 25 per cent more to any or all of the new schedules,
as he may see fit. In short, the new law makes it possible for the
President to regulate the tariff pretty much as he deems best. The
new duties will probably not be imposed for sixty or seventy days.
No date, I think, has been fixed for putting the tariff into effect.

Grasshoppers in Algeria.— Consul Skinner, of Marseilles, under
date of May 4, 1899, transmits the following information:

Reports from Algeria indicate that standing crops will be seri-
,ously damaged and in some cases destroyed by the clouds of grass-
hoppers now moving in a northerly direction. Ten thousand francs
(Ji,93o) have already been placed at the disposal of the general of
the division for the first expenses incurred in fighting against the in-
vasion, and steps have been taken to secure $38,600 additional for the
same purpose. Near Biskra 3,200 camels are being employed in
the transportation of inflammable material, which is being burned
where deposits of eggs are found. In all parts of the colony men
are at work plowing up eggs and destroying them. It is hoped
that the energetic measures being taken will prevent a now menaced

The Algerian wheat crop of 1898 was estimated at 24,118,000
bushels. The exports of cereals from the colony during 1897 were
as follows, in tons: Wheat, 54,178; corn, 971; barley, 33,492; oats,
32,781 ; flour, 2,826.

Demand for Locomotives in Tunis. — Consul Skinner writes
from Marseilles, June 8, 1899:

I learn to-day from Tunis that the Compagnie des Phosphates et
du Chemin de Fer de Gafsa, a corporation engaged in extensive enter-
prises in that protectorate, is in the market for all sorts of rolling
stock, including locomotives, and that proposals have already been
invited in England. I think that it is not too late for American
manufacturers to compete for this order if prompt action is taken.
The address of the company is 60 rue de la Victoire, Paris, and for
cabling purposes it may be addressed as the ** Compagnie Gafsa.**

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750 NOTES.

Change in Russian Calendar. — Consul-General Holloway
sends the following from St. Petersburg, May 13, 1899:

The Russian Government has, after many years' discussion, de-
termined to abandon the old-style or Julian-Greek calendar, \irhich
is twelve days behind the now universal system of the Gregorian
cycle, and which has been a source of annoyance to Russians doing
business with other countries, who were compelled to use both dates,
as well as to foreigners trading with Russia. The St. Petersburg
Astronomical Society has taken the matter in hand, and with the
cooperation of the ministers will appoint a commission to be com-
posed of sixteen persons, nine of whom are to be members of the
Astronomical Society, who will arrange all the details. It is expected
that the new-style calendar will go into effect in 1901.

Pilotage Dues in Russia. — Under date of May 22, 1899, Consul-
General Holloway writes from St. Petersburg:

The Russian Government has raised the pilotage for steamers
and sailing ships trading with Cronstadt and St. Petersburg from
60 copecks (30.9 cents) per foot draft to -6 copecks (3.09 cents) per
register ton from and to sea. The difference is considerable, amount-
ing to 60 rubles (5^30.90) for a steamer of 1,500 tons loading or dis-
charging in Cronstadt, and 120 rubles ($61.80) if such steamer goes
up to St. Petersburg.

Russian Hogs in Germany. — The importation of Russian hogs
into Germany is only permitted in the following places in Silesia:
Beuthen, Kattowitz, Myslowitz, and Tarnowitz. Consul Erdman,
of Breslau, under date of May 13, 1899, reports the number of Rus-
sian hogs imported through these border towns as 5,002, the duty
being $1.19 per head. Of the total imported, 40 were rejected as
being measly and one as being affected with trichinae. These were
destroyed, in accordance with law.

Export of Horses from Turkey. — Minister Straus writes from
Constantinople, under date of May 18, 1899, that, according to a
note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey, the
regulations prohibiting the exportation of horses from that country^
have been removed and a duty of 5 Turkish liras ($24) will be charged
upon each horse exported. As inquiries are made from time to time
regarding the export of Arab horses from Turkey, adds Mr. Straus,
this information may be of interest.

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NOTES. 751

Invoices for Turkey. — Consul Bergholz, of Erzerum, under date
of June 2, 1899, says:

An Armenian merchant here, Missak Venetzian, who has recently
been ordering goods from the United States, complains that certain
shipping agents in New York have added to the cost of hi^ goods
by having an invoice sworn to before a notary public and his signa-
ture and seal authenticated by the Turkish consul-general. I would
ask the Department to notify exporters that consular invoices are not
required by the Turkish customs authorities.

Commercial Work of French Consuls.— The following, dated
Lyons, April 29, 1899, has been received from Consul Covert:

Among the many efforts made to increase the trade of France in
the Orient is one by which the consuls are to be brought into direct
communication with the business men of their country. In pursu-
ance of this plan, the consul-general at Calcutta will hold a reception
to meet the business men of Paris at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The announcement is made that **he will place himself at the dis-
position of persons who wish to consider the possible openings for
French trade in British India, especially for rails, nails, automobiles,
petroleum, velocipedes, textiles, silks, laces, woolens, cottons, jewelry,
silverware, watches, clocks, machinery for flour mills, photographic
apparatus, and Paris-made articles.*' The consul at Calcutta will
visit several industrial centers in France, for the purpose of discuss-
ing the same matters with business classes.

Knife Shields in Germany. — Consul Brodowski writes from
Solingen; April 22, 1899:

Millions of knives, razors, etc., are manufactured in this consular
district, and the material for the shields is imported from all parts of
the world, to the value of tens of thousands of dollars monthly. Any
kind of hard wood (walnut excepted), bones of horses and other large
animals, deer and buffalo horns, ebony, etc., are used. Cuban ebony
and hard woods are preferred, and it seems in general that the Amer-
ican imports give the most satisfaction. A good deal has been lately
imported from the Chicago stock yards. The largest firms in this
branch here are Wilhelm Flucht and Carl Schiirmann. I believe
that I could do a good deal to further our export trade in this direc-
tion, if fair offers were made to importers here.

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752 NOTES.

Steamship Service Between Singapore and the Philip-
pines. — Consul-.General Pratt, of Singapore, under date of April 19,
1899, transmits to the Department copy of a letter addressed by him
to General Otis, at Manila, in which he states that upon relinquishing
his position in the consular service he contemplates the establish-
ment of a line of steamers under the American flag, to ply between
Singapore and the different ports of the Philippines, especially the
southern ones, which can be reached with special facility by way of
British North Borneo. Such a line of steamers, of sufficiently light
draft to enter the shallower island harbors, would, Mr. Pratt thinks,
be useful for the transportation of troops and supplies. The boats
would, in the first place, be at the disposal of the Government, and
serve, secondarily, for the convenience of the public.

Starch in Cotton Mills in China. — Under date of April 28,
1899, Consul-General Goodnow writes from Shanghai to a Utah
correspondent : *

No potato starch is used in the cotton mills in China, to my knowl-
edge. One mill here us^s about 60 piculs (8,000 pounds) of wheat
starch per month and another uses about 1,000 pounds per month of
the same. This costs from $2, 50 to $5 Mexican ($1.18 to $2. 36 gold)t
per picul (133^ pounds) delivered. It is necessary to use almost
twice as much of this as would be necessary to use of potato starch
to accomplish the same result.

Water Filters for China. — Under date of Chefoo, April 22,
1899, Consul Fowler writes as follows:

When in Port Arthur last November, I noticed the soldiers drink-
ing out of large jars, or kongs, water which was unfiltered and cer-
tainly dangerous. It occurred to me that if American manufacturers
could sell a good cheap filter, or, better still, small condensers for
condensing either fresh or salt water, an immense market would be
opened to them, not only among the Russian troops, but among the
British at Weihaiwei and the Germans at Kyao-chau, not to mention
foreigners and even Chinese elsewhere in this Empire, who now de-
pend upon muddy river or rain water for all purposes.

♦ To whom Advance Sheets have been sent.

t Taking t^e valuation of the Mexican dollar, April i, 1899, by the United States Director of the
Mint, as 47.2 cents.

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NOTES. 753

Manganese Ore in Japan.— Under date of May 17, 1899,
Consul-General Gowey, of Yokohama, writes to a New York firm *
in part as follows :

Cargoes of Japanese ore do not run evenly, analyses showing a
range of fineness from 28 to 70 per cent, the average being 55 or 60
per cent. Some shipments, of course, have exceeded these grades,
but the impression here is that there is always uncertainty in placing
an order. Details as to prices, etc., might be obtained from the
American Trading Company or Messrs. Browne & Co., Yokohama,
or Messrs. Howell & Co., Hakodate.

Hawaiian Representation at the Omaha Exposition. — The

Department has received from Consul-General Haywood, of Hono-
lulu, under date of May 26, 1899, copy of a report to the chamber
of commerce, recommending that an exhibit of the products of the
islands be made at the exposition to be held at Omaha. The exhibit
will comprise native fruits and plants, coffee, rice, sugar, etc. ; pho-
tographs, antiquities, woods, shells, curios, etc. ; also a display of
the educational institutions of the country, including the handiwork
done by seminary girls.

Conversion of Mexican Debt. — Ambassador Clayton writes
from Mexico, under date of June 8, 1899, in regard to the conversion
of the foreign or gold debt of the Republic of Mexico. A 5 per cent
loan has been effected for ;^23, 000,000 ($111,929,500), guaranteed
by the customs, redeemable in forty-five years and inconvertible for
ten years. The bonds are to be taken in England, Germany, and the
United States — the larger part in Germany, on account of the fact that
most of the old debt was held by the Germans. The foreign debt
formerly earned 6 per cent interest.

Export of Silver from Salvador. — Under date of May 21, 1899,
Consul Jenkins, of San Salvador, writes that a decree has been issued
by the President, according to which the laws prohibiting the ex-
port of silver coin and bars, enacted by the National Assembly on
March 18 and 20, are to be suspended until the meeting of the next

* The letter has been forwarded to the firm.
No. 227 II.

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754 NOTES.

Pearl Fishing in Venezuela. — Consul Plumacher sends from
Maracaibo, May 2, 1899, copy of a recent decree of the Department
of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce of Venezuela, according to
which the North American Sucking Company is to be allowed to ex-
amine the pearl beds existing on the coast. In former years, says
the consul, the pearl fisheries on the Spanish main were celebrated,
and the products were valuable. Fishing with rakes is prohibited.
A report is to be made to the Government, and the commissioner,
Mr. Garcia, is to receive 600 bolivars (jpi 15.80) per month.

Steamship Line from England to Finland. — Consul Metcalf,
of Newcastle-on-Tyne, under date of May 19, 1899, reports the re-
cent establishment of a weekly line of steamers from that port to
Finland, carrying passengers, mails, and freight. One steamer has
already arrived at Newcastle with above 200 emigrants on board, en
route for the United States.

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Commerce in Abyssinia.— An article in the Moniteur Officiel du
Commerce, Paris, February 9, 1899, is summarized as follows:

Harar is the great commercial center of Abyssinia, with a population of 40,000,
of which 1,000 are foreigners. A statement of its commercegivesavery good idea of
the trade of Abyssinia in general, as all commercial operations within the dominion
of Menelik must take place here. Roads penetrating into the interior converge at
Harar, and Ethiopian merchants bring to this market the products of the Abyssinian
plateaus and of the regions of the south — coffee, ivory, and civet. Purchases and
sales are generally effected for cash. The money employed in the country is the
Marie-Th6r6sa thaler, worth from 41 to 46 cents, according to exchange. The only
fractional currency is the 2-anna silver piece of British India. The Ethiopians use
bars of salt nearly 10 inches long as currency.

The latest statistics give the imports for 1897-98 as follows:



Cotton c1oths.»









|i, 133,296

Woolen sfoods a.nd fusts


Food productions

Arms and militarv stores........

Glassware and beads





These imports come chiefly from Germany, England, and Austria via Bombay
and Aden. Of the commerce coming by way of Aden, American cotton cloths form
a very important factor. The use of these cottons is becoming more and more gen-
eral, the poorer classes using them entirely. They are imported in pieces of 30
yards in length, and, according to the rates of exchange, the price varies from 75 to
100 thalers for 20 pieces. During the year April, 1897, to April, 1898, 250,000 pieces
were imported, valued at 2,500,000 francs ($482,500). Woolen goods come prin-
cipally from Germany. Black cloth is used for burnooses and red cloth for saddle
blankets. Rugs are imported from the East; also from England and Austria.

Silks come from France, Germany, and Switzerland; they are used chiefly for
church ornaments and for the burnoose of the Arab chiefs. Silk is not used ordi-
narily for dress, except by the warriors. Arms and munitions find a ready sale.
The preferred gun is the Gras. On an average from 100,000 to 150,060 of these
guns are sold each year. The favorite revolver is the Smith & Wesson, firing the
cartridge Wincester of 0.44 caliber. The Abyssinians are great lovers of fine arms,
and manufacture a saber bent like a cimiter.


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The total exports for 1897-98 are valued in round numbers at 5,835,000 francs
(|i, 1 26, 1 55), as follows:

























Two qualities of coffee are sold on the market of Harar — first, the Abyssin,
brought by Abyssinian merchants from Kaffa, Leka, and Djimma. The grains
are small, like the Mocha, with an earthy appearance, due to lack of care in de-
cortication. The market price is 4 to 6 thalers ($1.84 to J2.76)the frazella (3735^
pounds); second, the Harari, cultivated in the districts around Harar and in the
mountains of the Tchertcher. This coffee, with a longer berry, is better cultivated
than the other and finds a ready sale in America and England at the price of 6 to 8
thalers ($2.76 to $3.68) the frazella (37X pounds).

Ivory is brought from the south for the most part as tribute to Menelik, who
uses it, together with gold, to pay for his purchases of arms. Gold is exported in
rings of different dimensions and thicknesses, as well as in small cylindrical ingots.

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 88 of 92)