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Exports from Buenos Ayres, M.-Continued.
Tons. Fanegas. Value. 2,800 100,900 6, 720
* Including Brazil, Spain, Mediterranean, West Coast, &c., 21,000 salted, 202,000 dry ox and cow, 12,000 salted, 12,000 dry horse bides, and 850 bales.
Ox and cow.
Ox and cow.
October 31, 1853...
114,066 604, 868
1 ton English, 74 fanegas, Buenos Ayres, standard fanega = 1.53 imperial busbel.
H. R. Helper, Consul.
AUGUST 7, 1862. I now have the honor to request your attention to the enclosed copy of a letter this day addressed to the Hon. S. P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, on Buenos Ayrean currency, which is, literally, and in the fullest sense, the root of all the evil pending between this consulate and the customhouse at New York.
UNITED STATES CONSULATE,
Buenos Ayres, August 7, 1862. Sir: Although I am aware that you have received, from time to time, many explanations, both written and verbal, of the peculiar character and condition of Buenos Ayrean currency, upon which hinges all the trouble arising from invoice certificates issued in this consulate, concerning which I had the honor of addressing you on the 28th ultimo, yet I have thought that a recapitulation of some of the oddities of this medium of exchange might, perhaps, be serviceable to you in arriving at a speedy and just decision of the questions involved.
In performing this task, while I shall strive to be as brief as the circumstances of the case will admit, I shall, at the same time, endeavor to be so comprehensive, in giving general and necessary information, that I may never again have occasion to solicit attention to the subject.
Before I sailed from New York for Buenos Ayres, I obtained, by request, from merchants and others doing business with this country, several epistolary statements touching this question; and my residence here, though as yet of but little more than three months' duration, has afforded me ample opportunity of comparing those statements with the actual daily occurrences and condition of things to which they refer. One of the several gentlemen who favored me in this way was the Buenos Ayrean consul himself, Edward F. Davidson, esq., located at No. 128 Pearl street, New York, whose description of the much-depreciated and ever-fluctuating (paper) currency of Buenos Ayres is so clear and correct that I beg leave to quote it, as expressing, in substance, what I should otherwise wish to say solely on my own account; and I offer his report with all the more satisfaction, because I hope it may be accepted by you as the joint testimony, if you please, of two consuls, the Buenos Ayrean consul in the United States, and the United States consul in Buenos Ayres.
Mr. Davidson says, (and I indorse every word of his statement thus quoted :)
* The currency of Buenos Ayres is an irredeemable paper money, issued by a bank, under authority of special laws passed from time to time, and is by law legal tender, and taken for taxes and duties. This currency is not used out of the provinces of Buenos Ayres; the other twelve provinces of the Argentine Confederation use patriot doubloons and the parts thereof, and some Maenquino, Peruvian, Bolivian, and Chilian silver and copper, as also some coins issued from a mint in one of the (upper) provinces. The patriot doubloon is considered, in twelve provinces, worth seventeen (17) of an imaginary coin they call pesos, or dollars. In Buenos Ayres the patriot doubloon is considered worth sixteen (16) of an imaginary coin they call patacones, or “pesos fuertes, which last is translated, by the English residents, hard dollars.'
"The purchases of Buenos Ayrean produce, made in Buenos Ayres, are usually in paper money; the purchases of the other produce, that is, of the produce of the other provinces, are usually made in rials, which rials are the eighth part each of the seventeenth part of a doubloon. The purchase, however, of Buenos Ayrean produce is, sometimes in rials, and of the up-river produce, in paper; it being of course a matter of bargain between buyer and seller.
“The paper money, having no specie basis, is affected in value, as compared
with gold, by new issues, by high or low rates of merchandise requiring a legs or greater volume of it for the transaction of business, and especially by politics. It has fluctuated 50 per cent. in one day.
“There is a broker's exchange, in which this money is largely bought and sold daily, for immediate delivery or on time, the article with which it is bought and sold being patriot doubloons. It is the custom to speak of the doubloons being sold or bought, and of the doubloons fluctuating in value; an the doubloon is the thing quoted, and not the paper ; but of course it is, in fact, the paper
that varies in value and not the doubloon. At first this paper money was issued at a value of sixteen (16) to the doubloon, and mortgages and leases based upon it proved serious losses to the owners."
So end these extracts from Mr. Davidson's communication, for the truthfulness of which, in all particnlars, I fully vouch. From divers official publications, and from several merchants of this city, I have obtained other statistical facts and information, which I shall now proceed to submit for your perusal.
What follows here is a quotation of the prices or value of Buenos Ayrean currency, semi-annually, 1st of January and 1st of July, from 1826 to 1862, inclusive, as exchanged for gold doubloons of the value, or of the nominal value, of sixteen American or Spanish silver dollars : January 1. July 1.
January 1. July 1. 1826. 16 23
. 197 206 1827
. 375 406 1828 70 48 1847.
. 350 360 1829. 60 73 1848.
. 405 351 1830. 103 116 1849.
. 346 294 1831. 112 108 | 1850..
248 1832. . 104 114 1851.
232 282 1833.. 113 122 | 1852..
315 282 1834. 119 117 | 1853.
288 336 1835. 118 118 1854.
. 295 340 1836. 118 118 1855.
302 353 1837. 116 131 1856.
334 361 1838. 130 144 1857.
332 337 1839. 200 247 1858.
373 1840.. 288 268 | 1859.
364 1841. 351 304 1860.
338 336 1842. 289 260 1861.
340 389 1843. 283 267 1862..
. 384 421 1844.
241 219 Depreciation from 16 in January, 1826, to 421 in July, 1862.
During the month last past, July, 1862, doubloons (or ounces, as they are here generally called, of the real, nominal, or supposed value of sixteen silver dollars) have ruled Buenos Ayrean (paper) currency at the following rates : Day. Price.
Price. July.. 1 421 July
17 411 2 424
413 3 425
19 410 4 423
21 403 5 421
22 407 7 418
23 397 8 417
24 421 10 414
423 11 407
28 407 12 400
29 422 14 405
30 405 16 399
The Bank of Buenos Ayres was established in 1822, with a capital of $1,000,000, (current at the rate of one dollar for one dollar, or sixteen dollars for an ounce,) and its notes were often at a premium, and never below par, until the 9th of January, 1826, when, in consequence of an enormous increase of its issues at the behest of the government, which was then waging war with Brazil, it was compelled to suspend specie payment. For a fuller account of the subsequent operations of this bank, and of its curious connexion with the goverment, I would respectfully refer you to the admirable work of Sir Woodbine Parish on Buenos Ayres and the provinces of the La Plata, pages 373 and 374. There is no bank in the republic, except the “ Casa de Moneda,” here in Buenos Ayres.
The total amount of Buenos Ayrean (paper) currency in circu
lation on the 1st of May, 1862, the date of my assumption of the duties of this office, was ....
$373, 157, 656 Amount burned in the bank since the 1st of May, 1862, in
accordance with laws providing a sinking fund for that purpose..
4, 420, 000
Total amount in circulation August 7, 1862..
368, 737, 656
Reduced to United States currency, this sum of $368,737,656, at the rate of to-day, would amount to about $14,013,782—each Buenos Ayrean dollar being worth about (not quite) four cents—a fall of full ninety-six cents from its original value. A specimen of Buenos Ayrean currency of the denomination of five dollars (worth about twenty cents of our money) is herewith enclosed.
On the 3d of August, 1840, an ounce or doubloon. could not be bought for less than 570 Buenos Ayrean dollars. At that particular time was witnessed the greatest depreciation of this currency recorded in any of the documents which I have examined, the (paper) dollar then being worth a fraction less than three cents!
In the foregoing statement of facts it has been the burden of my concern to prove to you that the currency of this country consists of irredeemable bank notes, having no specie basis, of no fixed value, and, withal, quite as subject to fluctuation in price as any of the public stocks on sale in New York or Cincinnati.
I will give it as my opinion, and I have thought carefully on the subject, that the inconveniences and disadvantages of the depreciated currency of Buenos Ayres would not be lessened in the least by any new law whatever which the Congress of the United States, or any other power out of the Argentine Republic, could enact in reference to it.
Even the people here, the wisest statesmen and the most masterly financiers of the confederation, have always been baffled in their attempts to deal with this question; though they have worked at it earnestly, off and on, for the last thirty and six years. Hon. S. P. CHASE, Secretary of the Treasury.
SEPTEMBER 30, 1862. In reference to the reduction of the depreciated currency of Buenos Ayres into the currency of our own country, the currency of Buenos Ayres has no fixed value; it does not continue of the. same value even so long as two days at a time; it fluctuates in value every day, every hour; it has a wholesale price, it has a retail price. My certificates to invoices are always in accordance with the quotation of value at wholesale; my transactions with the inoney in the consulate.are invariably as it rules at retail. In the settlement of small accounts I give and take Buenos Ayrean dollars at the rate of four cents each; in the
adjustment of large accounts I give and take them at a fraction less than four cents, the fraction always varying one way or the other—sometimes infinitesimally, according to the high or low gradation of the sum in question. *
Tabular statement of foreign vessels arrived at and departed from the port of
Buenos Ayres during the six months ended June 30, 1862, together with their tonnage and aggregate value of outward cargoes.
No. of vessels.
$ 158, 080 359, 755
8,918 171, 996
698, 749 1, 178, 984
12 Total value of exports in American vessels during same period...
Total value of exports. .....
Excess of exports