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I may state that, from my own knowledge, our vessels-of-war calling at Jaffa have uniformly been permitted to purchase their supplies of the authorities duty free.
ALEXANDRIA.-WM. S. THAYER, Consul.
JANUARY 27, 1862.
I have the honor herewith to transmit tables, marked A and B, respectively, showing the exports and imports of this port for the year 1861, prepared from the official records of the custom-house.
The values are stated in piastres au tarif, of which twenty and one-half are equal to one dollar of our currency. The quantities are stated in the denominations of the custom-house, mostly those which are in familiar use throughout the mercantile world. The roll is almost precisely equal to the pound avoirdupois, and two and three-quarters of these make one oke or oque. The quintal or cantar is nearly equal to one hundred weight. The ardeb is about five bushels.
It will be observed that the gross value of merchandise imported during the year was equal to $14,206,053, and of that exported equal to $18,192,370.
By far the largest proportion of the commerce in both directions is with England, which country furnishes nearly one-half in value of the imports, and absorbs nearly two-thirds in value of the exports.
The principal article of export is cotton. The quantity and value of this staple distributed to various countries were as follows:
The average value for the year per pound, according to the custom-house books, is thus 117 cents, or about one-half the present quotation. The fluctuations to which the traffic in this staple has been subjected by reason of political agitations have been referred to in my despatches, numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 13.
Grain stands next in consequence among the exports; the quantity of wheat alone exported during the year having been valued at $317,938; besides considerable quantities of Indian corn, (blé de Turquie,) beans, barley, &c.
Some of the other principal articles of export are gums, rags, wool, ice, coffee, linseed, dates, ivory, mother-of-pearl, and ostrich feathers.
The commerce with America, although believed to be increasing, is not as yet sufficient to require a separate column in the tables. The number of American vessels which arrived during the year was 24 out of a total of 1844, of which 204 were English. These numbers are exclusive of the arrivals of steamships. The exports to America from Egypt are chiefly rags and gums. The imports are chiefly machinery, furniture, and ice. Nearly all the machines used in the cleansing of cotton have been imported from the United States, as well as a considerable portion of the rolling-stock used upon the viceroy's railway to Suez.
The natural impediment to direct commerce between the United States and
Egypt is obviously the identity of the principal exportable productions of the two countries-cotton and grain. Vessels can be freighted in the United States with goods which readily find a sale in Egypt; but, excepting rags and gums, they find here among the usual exports of the country few articles which would advantageously command a market in the United States.
Since, however, American bottoms have a preference in freights hence for Europe, a ship may come hither from the United States loaded with American manufactures and take hence cotton or grain to Liverpool or Marseilles, where return cargoes to the United States can generally be attained without difficulty. The facility with which a profitable commercial intercourse between the two countries may thus be established does not appear to be generally understood by our merchants.
Statement showing the arrival of vessels of all nations at the port of Alexandria during the year 1861.
Statement showing the departure of vessels of all nations from the port of Alexandria during the year 1861.
Statement showing the value of imports at the port of Alexandria during
Statement showing the value of exports of merchandise from the port of Alex
Next month it is expected that a new Italian line of steamers between Ancona and Alexandria will be in operation, so that we shall have by it an arrival and a departure every fortnight. The steamers, which are large and luxuriously appointed, are nearly finished in England. The passage between Egypt and Europe will, in this way, be reduced to three days and a half. When the railway shall be constructed from Ancona to Otranto, the Italian terminus of the line will be at the latter port, so that only three days will be required. As Ancona is by rail but eighteen hours from Turin, via Milan, this route promises to be the shortest and most popular of all between western Europe and Egypt. The French Messageries have, since the 20th of October, added to their line two steamers a month, making one a week. The boats of this company alternate, touching in the voyage between Marseilles, one week at Messina, and the next at Malta. This company last month started their monthly line between Suez and India. This is the commencement of a rivalry with the English P. & O. company's weekly line on the same route. The other principal lines between here and Europe are the P. & O. company's weekly line, with a terminus at Southampton, its other weekly line with a terminus at Marseilles, and the weekly Austrian Lloyd's, terminating at Trieste. The passage by this last
requires but five days, and is the shortest at present existing. Add to these the six lines of merchant steamers intended primarily for freight, but accommodating passengers, namely, four between here and England, and two between here and France, and it may be said that we have at least an arrival from, and a departure to, Europe of a commercial steamer every day.
There are also three lines between here and Constantinople, the steamers of which come and go once a fortnight, touching at Smyrna and along the coast of Syria, namely: the Austrian Lloyd's, the Russian company's, and the French Messageries; besides these is the more direct lines (once a fortnight) of the Austrian, which touches at Smyrna, Athens, and the Ionian Iles, without visiting Syria in the journey between here and Constantinople. These facts, with others, such as the projected railway of six hundred miles to Berenice, (mentioned in despatch No. 23,) indicate the increasing commercial importance of Egypt.
The proposed re-establishment of the port of Berenice on the Red sea is worthy of remark. This city was anciently founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus as the emporium of European trade with India, and continued such for centuries, until the diversion of commerce by the discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope. The ruins of its past greatness still attract the notice of travellers. History tells us it was through Berenice that the Romans imported annually from India merchandise which cost them two millions of dollars, and which they sold in Europe for a hundred times that amount.
CYPRUS.-J. JUDSON BARCLAY, Consul.
MARCH 31, 1862.
I have the honor to transmit the accompanying tables of the export and import trade of this island for the year 1861. There is as yet but an insignificant commerce between the United States and this place, confined to the exportation of "Terra Umber" and wine, and in return the introduction of late of American furniture, as also large quantities of plank, which finds a ready and profitable market in this island. An experiment has lately been made by an intelligent American capitalist to manufacture wine of superior quality to that of the island, which I am happy to say has entirely succeeded, and will hereafter be prosecuted on a large scale.
Owing to a deficiency in the grain crops the exportation of wheat during the past year was small, proving a loss to the export trade of the country equal to about $150,000. The cotton crop also gathered in last year was very short, and in consequence the trade in this article was very limited. These deficiencies will account for the curtailing of the trade of the island last year, which has occasioned a loss to the custom-house of one million of piasters.
The operation of the new protective tariff of the Sublime Porte, in regard to some articles, is most prejudicial to the trade of Cyprus. Of these in exports I would mention wines and spirits. By the tariff of 1839 the duties upon these were raised from very low rates to 19 aspers per oke on red wine; 603 aspers per oke on comanderia; 45 aspers per oke on raki, or, according to prices ruling in 1845, equal to four per cent. upon the value of the first, seventytwo per cent. upon the second, and thirty per cent. upon the third. The duty imposed upon comanderia wine was so excessive that the custom-house directors, from 1839 to 1859, did not exact its full amount, but accepted rates varying from eighteen to thirty aspers. On account of this heavy duty imposed on wines, a decline in the trade is inevitable, and already apparent. Indeed, no more efficacious means could have been taken to cripple this leading branch of trade to which, at one time, Cyprus owed largely her wealth and prosperity. On the part of the Turkish government, the policy is the most suicidal that