« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
DANGERS OF THE BLACK SEA.
The perils of the Black sea (the boisterous Euxine) have been proverbial since the days of Zenophon. The storms of winter and early spring are frequent, sudden, and violent; its harbors are few and exposed; and no suitable landmarks guide along its dangerous shores. I am happy to state that a humane society has been founded during the past year by W. B. Hoffer, esq., British marine surveyor, under the protection of the various consulates here, which have designated an international committee of two from each maritime nation, in the hope to materially diminish the hazard of life and property by an efficient system of buoys, beacons, life-boats, &c., with rewards for rescues. I have the honor to enclose copies of its first report for this department, and that of the navy.
PROTECTION OF OUR MEDITERRANEAN COMMERCE.
Towards the close of the year the Constellation has appeared off the coast of Syria, and it is hoped that other war vessels will soon display our flag in the waters of the Levant. One or two fast steamers would be welcomed by our merchantmen in the Mediterranean. No national vessel has visited this port for several years, although war vessels of light draught are allowed here.
IMPORTS, EXPORTS, AND NATURAL RESOURCES.
European manufactures are subjected to severe restrictions, and even Ottoman ingenuity and enterprise are not encouraged.
Thus clothing, utensils, &c., pay no higher duty than the raw material, while an excise tax of four per cent. is levied on the manufacture of the article within the empire.
Manufacturing on an extensive scale has accordingly ceased, and Turkey supplies its wants by importation. Prices rule generally from twenty-five to thirty-five per cent. above the exporting market, leaving an average profit to the importer of from ten to fifteen per cent.
Cotton, woollen, silk, and linen goods, coffee, sugar, tea, spices, butter, iron in bars, rods, and sheets, nails, zinc, lead, tin, coal, leather, boots, shoes, cordage, drugs and dyestuffs, watches, and jewelry, are among the principal imports.
Wheat, corn, barley, rye, flaxseed, olive oil, raisins, cotton, silk, wool, goats' hair, opium, madder, nuts, are the main articles of export.
The extraordinary fluctuations of the currency of the capital, and an extra tax of some $12,000,000 in addition to the usual tithe, have diminished the trade of the past year.
No statistics of the products of Turkey are ever given or encouraged by the government, but there can be no doubt of its stores of coal and minerals, nor of the remarkable fertility of much of its soil in spite of droughts of many months' duration, and centuries of exhaustion and neglect. Fruit of every variety is produced in profusion, and offered at very low prices, and for a very long time. As one instance of the power and peculiarity of the soil in this climate, I may observe that, for nearly five months, grapes of the largest size and finest flavor have been sold in this market at about two cents a pound, notwithstanding little or no rain fell within hundreds of miles.
Want of good roads, and of safety in the interior, the rapacity of late pachas, and the popular jealousy of European improvements the inevitable result of immemorial misgovernment-have more than neutralized the rare natural advantages of Turkey.
Although rum seems to have been the principal American import, I observe a considerable and increasing demand for American stoves, agricultural imple
ments, sewing-machines, and other labor-saving contrivances. Here, as everywhere, the American article stands first, and I think a profitable trade could be opened in these articles, and boots, shoes, coal oil, Paraffine candles, chairs, &c.
The enterprising house of S. M. Micasian & Co., natives of this country, but citizens of the United States, have opened an almost exclusively American store in this city, and deserve much credit for introducing the products of the industry and ingenuity of our countrymen into European and Asiatic Turkey.
Freights to the United States have been from $15 to $20 per ton; to England, from $1 50 to $2 50 per quarter.
More than 1,300 British vessels command at this port remunerative freights, while ours, as yet, number only seventy-two; yet, American vessels can be sailed faster and with fewer hands, and have a higher reputation.
Almost all the steamers that crowd this port are English built, and might easily be surpassed by our citizens in speed, and especially in passenger accommodations. The old" Bangor," which I can just remember, on the Portland and Bangor line, still plies at this port, and is, in spite of her venerable appearance, a popular steamer.
Entering on my official duties November 24, 1861, and called to the United States with the treaty in the spring, I ask for my first annual report the indulgence of the department.
I have the honor to enclose the following returns:
Imports and exports between this port and the United States during the year ending September 30, 1862.
Table of arrivals and departures of vessels of all nations at this port in 1861. General statistics of the navigation through the Sulina mouth of the Danube during 1861, prepared by the European commission, and communicated by H. Hobar, esq., former acting United States vice-consul at Galatz.
Statistics of the commerce and industry of the island of Scio for 1861, translated from reports of M. N. Cavalli, esq., late United States vice-consul.
Return of imports and exports between the United States of America and the port of Constantinople during the year ending September 30, 1862.
Table of the arrival and departure of vessels of all nations at the port of Constantinople during the year 1861.
14, 012 3,050, 692 15, 039 3, 160, 710 29,051 6,211,402
BEIRUT.-AUGUSTUS JOHNSON, Consul.
JULY 15, 1862.
No American vessels have visited Syrian ports during the quarter ended June 30, and no vessels have cleared for any port in the United States from this place.
NOVEMBER 1, 1862.
I have the honor to enclose herewith commercial reports from Damascus and Tarsus; also copy of price current and rate of exchange between Syria and the principal cities of Europe.
There is no exchange between Syria and any city of the United States. The Ottoman government has, by a recent decree, prohibited the circulation of foreign currencies in the Turkish dominions, and has reduced the current value of the Turkish lira to one hundred piasters. This decree has produced a revolu- · tion in the commercial circles of Beirut, and business has been temporarily sus
pended. The European merchants have thus far refused to submit to the operation of the decree among themselves.
The local authorities, in order to equalize the losses resulting from the said changes, have reduced the price of provisions. A change has occurred in the itinerary of the French mail steamers. The "Messageries Imperiales" steamers of that line now reach Beirut from Marseilles, via Smyrna, November 1, and every alternate Saturday; via Alexandria, every alternate Wednesday, beginning from the 29th ultimo. No changes have occurred in the Russian and Austrian line of mail boats.
Referring to circular No. 17, I beg to state that there are no public warehouses in Syria, and to state that vessels-of-war of all nations purchase supplies in Syrian ports duty free, as do the vessels of the merchant service.
Extract from the despatch of Mr. Vice-Consul Meshaka, of Damascus, dated October 22, 1862, to J. Augustus Johnson, esq., United States consul.
SIR: : Having failed to obtain from the custom-house and other sources a detailed account of commercial returns, I have to satisfy myself with the following general statement. Owing to the fact that many of the Christians, who are the main merchants of the place, have left the city in consequence of the insurrection of the year 1860, and many of the laborers in manufacturing silk, which is one of the most important branches of business here, have left the town or were killed in the massacre, and the want of energy on the part of the local authorities to protect commerce and business in general, and want of perfect safety, the commerce of this city has greatly decreased the last two years, and if affairs remain as they have hitherto been, the city will be falling back and business continue to get worse and worse every year. The only hope for the place rests on a change on the part of the authorities in being more energetic and careful in their duties, and in the payment to the Christians of their indemnities, which will encourage them to return or remain in the town and enable them to get again into business.
The crops of this year are far from being good except the grains, which were pretty good. There is no demand for silk on account of the want of laborers to
The fruit crop is seventy-five per cent. less than the former years; but grapes are as good as usual. Owing to the heavy winds and hail of last spring, the oil, crop is comparatively small.
There is no good market for cotton goods, which are imported from Europe, the price of cotton being so much higher than before.
The chief cities in Cilicia at present are Adana and Tarsus, but Adana is the metropolis and residence of the general pachas. It is inhabited by 18,000 souls, and Tarsus, with its environs, by 15,000. In all this province, throughout the plain, as well as in the range of Tarsus, there are not more than 140 villages, inhabited by 12,500 souls. We must add to these the Turkoman, Yarook, and Arab wandering tribes who live constantly in tents, pass their summers in the mountains, and winter on the plains. Most of them are camel drivers and cattle proprietors. These cannot be less than 30,000 souls. We have, moreover, the new emigrants, the Nogais Tartars, that have lately come from Circassia, amounting to 25,000 souls. Altogether the actual inhabitants of this extensive plain, including those of Mount Tarsus, number 100,500, of whom about 26,000 are Christians, 10,000 Nasseins, (idolaters,) and the rest are Mohammedans of different sects and creeds. About two-thirds of the whole number of the inhabitants are employed in agricultural pursuits, and do not cultivate the twentieth part of the land of Cilicia. But in the harvest and crop seasons for
eign laborers come from various parts of Asia and Syria annually, never less than 20,000 able men, purposely for field manual labor. Agriculture since the commencement of the Crimean war has considerably increased, and commerce greatly advanced. The principal ports are Mersine and Karadash. The former is the nearest to Tarsus, and the latter to Adana. Mersine, within twenty years, was founded by Mr. William Barker, who had the first store built in it. But the Crimean war made it advance very rapidly. Before the existence of Mersine all goods from different places of the southern districts of Asia Minor used to be transported on camels to Smyrna; but now, Mersine being the nearest port, all such goods come to it. It is rivalling, to a great extent, the commerce of Smyrna. We have two French and two Russian postal regular line steamers that trade at Mersine once every fortnight, besides which irregular calls of British, French, and Turkish steamers of commerce often occur in winter.
The exports, mostly for Europe, taking them in annual average, are as follows: Eighty ships' cargoes of wheat, middling tonnage; 50 ships' cargoes of barley, middling tonnage; 10 ships' cargoes of maize, middling tonnage; 30 ships' cargoes of sesame, middling tonnage; 100 ships' cargoes of wood for construction; 200 ships' cargoes of wood for burning; 6 ships' cargoes of linseed; 30,000 bales of cotton; 13,000 bales of wool; 50 bales of opium; 1,000 sacks of yellow berries; 2,000 bales of madder root; 300 bales of beeswax; 100 bales of gall nut; 5,000 sacks of raisins; 200,000 okes of tar.
The imports consist chiefly of European manufactures and colonials, not only for local consumption, but also for transportation to different parts of Asia Minor, and the greater part of these goods are imported indirectly: that is, either through Smyrna and Constantinople or through Alexandria and Beirut.