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features in our national life; that the people of the republics of South America, as far as he was informed, all looked upon the United States as the mother of all the republics, and her voice and her wishes commanded the utmost respect from them all; and that in his country there was a very strong and general desire ainong the thinking people to be on more kindly and friendly terms with the United States. We assured him that our Government entirely reciprocated the feelings of good will he had expressed, and that we would communicate the desire and readiness of his Government to enter into treaty relations with our country.
A RECIPROCITY TREATY. We asked the President if he could suggest the basis of a reciprocity treaty between the two countries whereby the products peculiar to the one should be admitted either free of duty or at greatly reduced rates into the ports of the other. He said it was a matter he had been considering over since our arrival here. We may observe that we also furnished to the secretary of foreign relations a memorandum of topics we desired to discuss. The President remarked that the difficuity was to find products of his country not produced in ours; that we admitted now free hides and all the results of cattle raising of his country, so far as he knew. Next to this, or perhaps of greater importance, was the wool interest; that our country placed a heavy duty on the wool of Uruguay; that at one time most of their wool found a market in our country, and with that market came a large trade, but that for various causes, especially the duty on wool, the trade had departed; that he was anxious to find a basis for a mutual concession out of which might come a greater commerce between the two countries; that his people preferred to do their business with our country if it could be done on as reasonable and as profitable terms as with any other. We did not feel at liberty to intimate that our country would modify its duty on wool, and left the matter with the general understanding that if any treaty of reciprocity acceptable to our people and the people of Uruguay could be found or devised, the negotiation for such a treaty could be taken up hereafter.
The President expressed himself as warmly in favor of a convention of all the republics of the Western Hemisphere being called by the United States. He thought that the initiative of such a congress should come from the oldest and strongest Republic; that his Government would gladly send delegates thereto; that the call for the convention by the United States should also cover a suggestion of the topics to be considered, each country, however, having the right to present for consideration such other questions as the delegates thereto might be directed to bring forward. He believed that such a convention would result in great good. He thought that possibly in regard to the question of a common silver coin, the advantage of which to the countries adopting it he conceived to be very great, should be considered by the convention.
To our general question, "What do you suggest as promotive of both friendly and commercial relations between the two countries?” he responded very quickly, “Establish steamship lines between your ports and ours.” He remarked that the American flag was rarely seen or never upon an American vessel, except sailing or war vessels, and that infrequently; and that were such a line to be created he had no manner of doubt of its tending to furnish to the United States a very large share of the business of this country. He said his Government was too poor to contribute in money toward the building up of such a line, but they could in other ways aid it, and most certainly desired to do so, and he hoped that the result of this commission would be to bring the matter so strongly before our Government that it would speedily inaugurate a line of merchant steamers from our ports to his.
All the expressions of the President with respect to our country, the desirability of his people doing their business and extending their trade relations thereto, were of the most emphatic and cordial character. The conference concluded by utterances of good will on the part of the President, of admiration of our country, and of the earnest hope that the two should be drawn together by commercial ties, and the interchange of friendly relations produced by the advent of American citizens and American capital into the rich country of Uruguay. He expressed the belief that our mission here would be productive of great good, not only assuring this country of the good will of ours, but in drawing their attention more particularly to the United States and her products.
THE COMMERCE OF URUGUAY. [Statement of Thomas W. Howard, vice-consul of the United States at Montevideo.] The natural resources of Uruguay are great. Production and, consequently, commerce are constantly increasing. The population is rapidly augmenting, and the Republic bids fair to be at no distant date one of the richest of the South American republics.
San Felipe de Montevideo, the capital and chief port, is pleasantly and well situated at the mouth of the river La Plata, and, owing to its position, must in time control the whole trade of the river La Plata Valley. It has already a large trade with Paraguay, the Brazilian provinces on the Upper Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as with the Argentine provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, which trade is rapidly increasing.
Montevideo has bonded warehouses, and the custom-house laws in this respect are very liberal. Goods can be stored, and if reshipped within one year pay po storage whatever. This wise law has given this city much of its trade with the countries above mentioned.
A bill has already been passed by Congress for the construction in the Bay of Montevideo of a port consisting of breakwater, wharves, etc., upon which $15,000,000 will be spent, and facilities will thus be given whereby vessels of the largest size can load and unload at wharves, thereby saying time, money, and damage from breakage. At present vessels are loaded and unloaded into lighters, and much time is lost, as in stormy weather all business is stopped; often not more than twenty days in a month are working days. The cost of lighterage is very high, and may be estimated at about one-third the cost of freight from here to the United States, much of which will be saved by the construction of the port works.
The city has a population of about 130,000 inhabitants. It contains many fine public and private buildings, besides numerous fine plazas or parks. The health of the city is good, the mortality being much less than in other cities of the same size.
Territory.—Uruguay is divided into fifteen departments, and has a superficial area of about 63,341 square miles. It is one of the smallest of the South American republics, but is much larger than Portugal, Greece, or Switzerland, and is about the size of the State of Missouri.
Population.—About 520,536 inhabitants, having more than doubled since 1860, in which year the population was about 221,000. The inhabitants are divided as follows: 368,166 are native-born and 152,370 foreign-born. The sexes are very equally divided, being 268,172 males and 252,364 females.
Commerce.—Trade during the last five years, from 1879 to 1883, from the United States slightly increased, with the exception of 1883, in which year trade decreased considerably. The falling off was principally in lumber. Building, owing to the poor state of business, had entirely stopped, and lumber, which is largely used, was not wanted. This decrease will probably soon be regained, as a great impulse has been given during the year 1884 to house building, etc., and the importation of lumber has very much increased.
The following statement will show the comparative values of different articles imported into Uruguay during the year 1883 from the United States, England, France, and Germany:
Many more articles could be given, but the above will be sufficient to show that, owing to various causes, amongst the chief of which are want of steam communication and high cost of production, the United States does not compete with her European rivals in those articles which she should naturally be able to sell cheaper.
The importation into Uruguay has gradually increased. The valuation of merchandise imported in 1881 was $17,918,884; in 1882, $18,174,800; in 1883 it was $20,322,311, showing an increase in 1882 over the year 1881 of 1.43 per cent and an increase in 1883 over the year 1882 of 11.81 per cent. Of the $20,322,311 imported in the year 1883, the United States sent $1,173,633, England sent $5,515,091, France sent $3,491,298, and Germany, $2,029,860.
Our principal articles of exportation are wool, salted hides, dry hides, sheepskins, and hair.
The following statement will show the comparative values of these articles taken by the United States, England, France, Germany, and Belgium during the year 1883. Belgium is given in these tables because most of the shipments to that country are destined for the north of France and Germany:
The exportation from Uruguay has constantly increased. The value of merchandise exported in 1881 was $20,229,512; in 1882 it was $22,062,934; in 1883 it was $25,221,664; showing an increase in 1882 over the year 1881 of 9.06 per cent and an increase in 1883 over the year 1882 of 14.31 per cent. Of the $25,221,664 exported during the year 1883, the United States took $2,187,162; England, $4,831,263; France, $4,230,562, and Germany, $689,087. Belgium took during 1883 goods to the value of $4.870,947, and much of this went from Belgium to France and Germany.
The following is a statement showing the value of merchandise imported from, and exported by Uruguay to, all countries since 1862:
1862 1864. 1866. 1867 1868. 1869. 1870. 1871. 1872. 1873.
$8, 151, 802 $8,804, 442 $16, 956, 244
$17, 181, 672 $15, 244, 783 $32, 426, 455 12, 431, 408 12, 693, 610 25, 125, 018 12,800,000 | 13, 727,000 26, 527,000 15,045, 846 | 15, 899, 405 30,945, 251 15,927,974 | 17, 492, 159 33, 420, 133 15,949, 903 | 16,615, 961 32,595, 864 19, 478, 868 19,752, 261 39, 231,069 17,918, 884 20, 229, 512 38, 148, 396 18,174,800 22,062, 934 40,237, 734 20,822, 311 | 25, 221, 664 45,543, 973
All the foregoing statistics are taken from customs valuation, which is only twothirds of the real value, and to arrive at the correct figures one-third, or, say, 33 per cent, should be added.
Jerked beef.--This production comes next to wool in importance and ranks second in the list of exportations from Uruguay. There are 23 saladeros” in Uruguay where this beef is prepared, 14 of which are situated at points along the river Uruguay and 9 on the bay of Montevideo, opposite the city. The killing season begins in November and ends in May, this being the time of the year when cattle are in good condition. The cattle are purchased on the “estancias,” or cattle farms, for account of the “ saladeros," and are collected together and sentdown in droves to the different establishments. The beasts are given a short resting spell, and are slaughtered and the beef prepared by men long accustomed to the work, as it needs much care and experience to prevent the meat from spoiling. The fleshy parts of the animal are dexterously pared off in such a manner as to look like a succession of skins taken from the same animal. These sheets of flesh, which are about an inch in thickness, are then placed in the sun on frames to dry. As soon as perfectly dry and decomposition prevented, the beef is piled in large stacks, care being taken to place between each layer of 'meat sufficient salt. The piles are then left until the salt has been absorbed and the meat dry and, in the judgment of the saladeros, fit for shipment.
The amount of beef produced during the year 1883 was 34,793,581 kilograms, valued at $3,479,358 gold. Our principal markets are Brazil and the island of Cuba. The Government are making strenuous exertions to introduce this article into Europe, where the sainples have been sent, and it is expected that on account of its small cost-say about 4 cents, gold, per pound put on board in this port-a large trade will be done. The following statement will show the comparative quantity and value of this article shipped to the different markets during 1884:
The boof sent to Europe is better prepared than that sent to Cuba and Brazil. In my opinion, a large trade could be done with the United States if the article were introduced there and the people taught how to cook it. Well prepared in the proper manner, it is very palatable and nutritious.
Navigation. The progress of steam communication in the river La Plata is a very interesting study, and I regret that the time allowed for the presentation of this report will not permit of a more extensive treatment of the subject.
The first vessels authorized to carry the mails and passengers and specie from England were British men-of-war, viz, H. B. M. 10-gun brigs. These vessels ran for a considerable time between these countries and England and had fixed days for sailing, and I believe were monthly packets. They were replaced by the Royal Mail Steamer Company, which ran a monthly steamer from England, and was afterwards made bimonthly. The next company to put on a line of steamers was the Messageries Iinpériales, a French company, which ran from Bordeaux to the river La Plata. Both the lines were subsidized by their respective Governments and are still in existence; the latter is the Messageries Française. In 1883 the carrying trade between the river La Plata and Europe was done in 600 sailing vessels and 576 steamers, of which latter 203 were English, 118 French, 107 German, 48 Italian, 14 Spanish, with not one American steamer.
How to increase trade.-Rapid and frequent steam communication, the steamers to be adapted to carrying freight, with limited but good accommodations for passengers. Little or no duty on raw material, to enable the American
manufacturers to produce goods as cheaply as their competitors in Europe. With quick transportation and cheap goods, the natural desire to do business with South America, and competition will soon give us banking facilities and whatever else may be needed for a large trade.
The European trade with these countries has grown to its present large proportions from small beginning, and ours must take the same course. South America, lying at our doors, is naturally our market, and with good legislation and experience must in time be entirely our own. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
THOMAS W. HOWARD,
United States Vice-Consul. The COMMISSION TO THE CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICAN STATES.
THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC.
[Extracts from the report of the commission concerning its conference with the Government
of the Argentine Republic.] Memoranda of topics to be considered at an interview between the Government of
the Argentine Republic and the commissioners of the United States. (1) The advantage of closer commercial and political relations between the Argentine Republic and the United States.
(2) The United States is willing to lend its moral influence in any just manner to protect the peace and prosperity of the Argentine Republic.
(3) The advantages of holding an international congress of delegates from all the American republics to discuss and agree upon means to secure permanent peace between the nations of this hemisphere; to arrange a mode for the settlement of differences without an appeal to arms; to present a united resistance against the encroachments of European powers or their interference in American affairs, the doctrine of the United States being that American trade shall be confined as far as possible to American waters; that the American nations are capable of settling their own disputes, of determining what is best for their own interests, and should protect, defend, and encourage the development of each other.
(4) The advantage of a common silver coin to be issued by each of the American nations in a just proportion and be a legal tender in all commercial transactions between citizens of the several republics (to which the assent of Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Chili, and Peru has already been given):
(5) The advantage of reciprocity between the Argentine Republic and the United States, by which the products of either country may be admitted free into the other when carried in Argentine vessels or those of the United States; such treaty to guarantee the protection of persons and property and to provide for the settlement of all questions involving the same by arbitration.
(6) What can the Argentine Government suggest for the Government or the people of the United States to do to increase trade between the two Republics?
The formal topics submitted for consideration at our conference with President Roco, of the Argentine Republic, and his Government were all cordially approved and accepted by them. Nowhere has the commission met with more genuine cordiality, and nowhere has the desire for closer political and commercial relations with the United States been so apparent as in the Argentine Republic.
That country aspires to be to South America what our country is to the northern continent, and is making very rapid strides toward such a position. They imitate us in all their institutions, place their children under teachers brougbt from the United States, and in their national policy endeavor to follow as closely as possible the path which we have found leading to prosperity and internal development.
The President earnestly desired more intimate commercial relations with the United States, but said that it was useless to expect such trade without transportation facilities.
The Argentine Government was willing to do as much as the United States in giving financial aid to a steamship company that would sail vessels between the ports of the two countries, and he hoped that our Congress would do something at once, so as to make the markets of the United States accessible to the Argentine Republic. He looked to the United States to lead in this as in other measures, and we were requested to assure our Government that his own would immediately follow and do its share in any movement that would increase trade or unite the two countries in closer political relations.
To come back to the fact stated in the commencement of this report the small trade we have in manufactured goods with a people who have for us such kindly feelings-a mass of statements on this point is herewith submitted from gentlemen of the largest experience and information on commercial questions. We need not refer to them separately, though each one has its own peculiar thought. That of Mr. Bowers comes from a successful American merchant; that of Mr. Christophsen is that of the consul of Russia, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark at Buenos Ayres, and also agent for several steamship lines. The tables of shipping, tonnage, and nationality for the Plate River and Europe, the statistics of the imports, percentages, and nationality whence received of the Argentine Republic for a series of years, and the general review of the steainship lines and their subsidies, given by Mr. Christophsen, will be found useful and suggestive. And in this connection we refer to the proposed establishment of the Mexican line of steamers between Vera Cruz and the La Plata ports. The aid given it by the Government of Mexico will be fonnd in a short extract taken from the New York Marine Register, and a full transcript of the extract will also be found in the accompanying papers.
We also call attention to two extracts from the message of the Executive of the Republic, one in 1879 and the other in 1882, on the subject of steamship lines between the Argentine Republic and our own country. They not only prove the desire of these people to become on closer terms with us, but their willingness to aid in that direction in a manner very liberal, considering their European connections. One of these extracts forcibly presents the great respect in which our country is held by the Argentine Government.
THE ARGENTINE IMPORTS.
The imports of the country for 1883 exceeded $80,000,000; probably for 1884 they will reach $85,000,000. Of this trade our country only has 67 per cent. And of this small per cent a mere fraction consists of articles into which much labor has gone. Lumber covers more than one-third of it; kerosene over one-ninth. We send bulky articles, like agricultural machinery and railroad supplies, and on this point we again call attention to the statement of Mr. Consul Baker, wherein he shows how feeble is our commerce in that great list of manufactured goods in which our country so much excels. There is but one course for this diminished trade, one thing without which our commerce on these coasts will always languish.