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Vessels cleared from Odessa in the year 1861 with cargoes.
Enclosed I send a translation of a decree ordering the establishment of a new custom-house at Alexandroona, in the kingdom of Poland, and establishing also custom-houses at Nikolaief and at Kherson, those ports of the Black sea being declared open to commerce. I have also to inform you that, in consequence of a new loan contracted by the Russian government with the house of Rothschild of fifteen millions of pounds sterling, the government has given notice that paper money can be exchanged at the Bank of State for gold and silver, at the rate of five roubles and seventy copecks of paper for the "half imperial" of gold, and one rouble ten and a half copecks of paper for the rouble silver. This rate of exchange is to continue from May 1 (old style) to August 1, 1862. After that time the exchange can be made at the rate of five roubles sixty copecks of paper money for the half imperial, and one rouble eight and a half copecks of paper for a silver rouble. It is designed ultimately to equalize the value of the paper and silver and gold (or metallic) currency. An English company, under the style of G. Turner & Co., have lately taken a contract of paving the streets of Odessa in the most approved modern way, in granite rectangular paralellopipeds. The whole amount of the contract is for one hundred and fifty thousand square sagines, four million nine hundred and fifty thousand rouble, or thirty-three roubles the square sagine-about seven feet square. The time of fulfilment of the contract extends to the
The 10th of April his Majesty the Emperor vouchsafed to sanction the two following decisions of the council of the empire:
1st. There will be established in the kingdom of Poland, near to the railroad H. Ex. Doc. 63-22
in actual construction between Warsaw and Bromberg, a custom-house of the first class in the village of Alexandroona, which name it will bear.
This custom-house will have the authority of putting off to eight months the payment of duties, and of sending within a delay of two months to the customhouses of Warsaw, Moscow, and St. Petersburg all foreign merchandise, the importation of which is not exclusively limited to such or such ports or customhouses.
2d. The ports of Nikolaief and Kherson are opened to foreign vessels.
There will be established at Nikolaief a custom-house of the first class, second description; and at Kherson a custom-house of the third class, second description, and both will be ready to commence operations on the 1st (13) of June, in the present year 1862. The barrier of the custom-house at Otchakoff will be removed.
JUNE 16, 1862.
I herewith enclose a translation of an imperial order, to the effect that all Chinese merchandise can be imported free of duty, with the exceptions of teas, spirits, and wines. The two latter are prohibited, and the former (teas) subject to the same duty as if brought over land, which is, I believe, forty kopecks per pound.
Business is nearly at a stand still at present in this city. The low price of grain in England and France do not enable the merchants to offer encouraging prices to the producers to bring in their produce, the cost of producing and expense of transport from the interior being nearly or quite as great, or even greater than the price to be realized. The result is, that not much is being exported, not much being brought in, and this affects, in proportion, all other business. The cry is "railroads; give us railroads communicating with the grainproducing districts of the interior; give us cheap and easy means of transportation, and all will be well." There is no question but this would be the true policy of the country. The agricultural and all other interests suffer for want of the means of cheap and rapid communication and transport. The government sees and knows, and will, in time, remedy the evil.
Upon the recommendation of the former minister of finance, and by the advice of the council of the empire, his Majesty the Emperor vouchsafed, on the 22d day of April last, to decree as follows:
1st. The importation of Chinese merchandise is permitted without payment of duty, with the exception of teas, which must pay the duties now established, or hereafter to be established, on teas imported overland from China; and with the exception of wines or spirits from grain, the importation of which from China is and remains prohibited.
2d. In case of importations being made of European and colonial merchandise by the ports of Eastern Siberia, whether by the ocean or by the Amoor river, the custom-house at Irkoutsk will govern itself in respect to such merchandise according to the rates of the custom-house for European commerce.
3d. The general government of Eastern Siberia will be directed to take measures at the places where foreign commerce is carried on with the Chinese, that the local authorities should exercise due vigilance for the purpose of preventing the exportation into China of projectiles of war, of arms, of powder, and of opium, and the importation from China of wines and spirits from grains.
JULY 12, 1862.
I have to inform you that a connexion has been formed between the rivers Volga and Don by means of a railroad from Tzaritzym, on the Volga, to a near point on the Don, the railroad being only seventy versts (about fifty miles) long. The effect of this will be to bring into closer intimacy the commerce of the Volga and the Caspian, with that of the Azoff and Black seas. I have also to inform you that the custom-houses at Astara, Beliossourar, Igdyz, (Orgoo,) Ridonte Kali, and Nicolaisvky, are put on the same footing as those of Alexandropol, Nakhiteheiran, Bakou Djaghisman, and Djibrail, with respect to the introduction of colonial and European merchandise in the country over the Caucasus. The duty on a fabric known as "biaze" is reduced from twenty to ten copecks the pound, and its introduction is authorized through all the custom-houses of trans-Caucasia and of the northeast coast of the Black sea. The business of this city, so far as the shipment of produce is concerned, is at present a little more active, and it is hoped that prices will continue to advance, and that wool and grain will reach an average sale; but everything depends upon the markets of western Europe.
SEPTEMBER 28, 1862.
I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of July 8, requesting information in regard to the commercial importance of Nikolaief and Kherson, ports of the Black sea, recently opened to foreign commerce by the Emperor of Russia.
The information to be communicated can only be for the most part that of conjecture or probability, inasmuch as the opening of those ports is so recent that no statistical data have been gathered to demonstrate the facts. The towns in question have each a population of about forty thousand inhabitants, the one situated near the mouth of the Boug, and the other near that of Dneiper. The distances from Odessa are of the one from eighty to an hundred miles, that of the other from an hundred to an hundred and twenty or thirty miles. The more especial design, as I understand, of the government in opening those ports was to facilitate the exportation of the produce brought down those rivers, which heretofore has been carted direct from different points of the rivers, at considerable expense, or brought in barges from Nikolaief and Kherson to Odessa for exportation. No one would expect the amount of imports at either of those places to be anything considerable for at least several years to come. It is now, moreover, said to be confirmed that the contemplated railway from Kiro to Odessa, in the course of those rivers, is to be made. If this should prove to be true, it would have a tendency to lessen very much the future commercial importance of both Nikolaief and Kherson, as it would afford a convenient and cheap means of transport to Odessa, which has a population of an hundred thousand, and a large number of established and wealthy merchants, with branch houses in all parts of the world, who carry on extensive import as well as export trade, and which would afford, therefore, a better market for produce for exportation. I am not aware of any particular article of export more convenient at either of those ports than at Ŏdessa that would be worthy of consideration in adding to their commercial importance. The custom-house at Nikolaief was decreed to be of the second category of the first class; that at Kherson of the second category of the third class. At Nikolaief there are not as yet any foreign consuls or vice-consuls. At Kherson the English is the only government which has a consul, and he was appointed about eight years ago.
I would suggest that Tagaurog, in the sea of Azoff, near the mouth of the Don, is at present the most important commercial town after Odessa, in the south of Russia, its exports being nearly or quite equal to those of Odessa, its imports, however, being comparatively little; but, in the future, I think it may become a very important place. The recent connexion of the rivers Don and
Volga by railway at Zzoritryihe opens a great field for commerce in all the course of the Volga as well as the Caspian provinces and Central Asia, that would add to the importance of Tagaurog. It is not improbable, moreover, that in the future a great thoroughfare for trade across the continent may be opened, having Tagaurog or some port near it as a terminus. The population of Taganrog is now about twenty thousand; many countries have consuls there.
OCTOBER 11, 1862.
The business of Odessa for the last month has been more active, the quantity of grain brought in from the country and shipped having been considerable and of superior quality, mostly of this year's crop. There is, however, much complaint amongst the merchants at the low prices of grain in England and France; and the United States, they say, is the cause of it. It is a matter of great astonishment with them how the United States can carry on so gigantic a war as the present, and still be able to export on so large a scale breadstuffs and provisions for Europe, and undersell European countries in the same markets.
OCTOBER 18, 1862.
I enclose herewith a statement showing the number of vessels of all nations' and the nationality of each, arrived at and cleared from this port, during the year ending the 30th of September, 1862. This statement shows, also, both the tonnage and the cargoes taken, as well as the countries for which they cleared, and the number in ballast, inward and outward, and of sailing vessels and steamers.
I also enclose a statement showing the principal articles imported and exported, and the value of each in the different months of the year, and the total amount for the same year. It appears from these statements that the whole number of vessels cleared from Odessa during the year has been 1,027, or 117 less than in the year 1861. Of these, more than one-third have cleared for Great Britian and Ireland, and more than one-fifth for France-nearly two-thirds of the whole number for these two countries. Of the remainder, the major portion have cleared for Italian and German ports, and the others for different countries. I am aware of only two direct from this port for the United States: one an American and one a Norwegian, with cargoes of wool. Only three American vessels have visited this port during the year. The imports for the year amount to 13,891,449 roubles, 420,288 less than for the year 1861, while the exports amount only to 32,890,291, it being less 7,413,123 roubles than for the year 1861. These figures show about the plain_truth in regard to the business of the place during the past year. The merchants who carry on the foreign trade have all the while complained of the bad prices of grain in England and France, and have declared that the prices demanded in Odessa were greater than could be realized abroad after deducting legitimate expenses. The producers, on the other hand, have complained that the prices obtainable in Odessa for their grain were inefficient to pay the expenses of production and transport from the interior; and thus between the merchant and producer it is agreed that unless railroads or other cheap means of transportation shall be provided, the industrial interests of the country must greatly suffer. They say it is impossible to bring their grain in carts and wagons from one to five hundred miles into Odessa and be able to compete successfully in the English and French markets with the United States, which has all the improvements and facilities for agricultural production, as well as cheap and rapid means of transport. It is said that large quantities of grain have remained in the far interior for want of sufficient inducements to warrant its being brought forward to the market. The shipments, consequently, have fallen off, and the revenues of the noble proprietors or landholders in many instances have been much reduced. The
government is preparing to make railroads on an extensive scale, and doubtless in a few years Russia will be able to congratulate herself on the possession of a fair proportion of these necessities of civilization. The government is proverbially slow in instituting improvements or reforms, but when prepared to act, generally does so on a liberal scale, and on a well-matured plan. The articles imported have been for the most part from England and France, as also the exports have been sent mostly to those two countries. Germany, also, by way of the Danube, has supplied a good portion of the imports. Tobacco, coffee, fruit, and oil, have been brought from Turkey, Greece, and Italy, to the amount of two and a half to three millions of roubles. Olive oil is used extensively in this country, not only for culinary purposes, but also to burn in lamps instead of whale oil. Petroleum has been lately introduced here. It is found in the vicinity of the Caspian and in other parts of Russia. The only refinery or distillery of the article yet established in this vicinity is at Kicheneff, on the Dneister. It makes a brilliant light for Odessa, which until this year has been able to boast of no better than that afforded by oil and stearine candles. It sells for about one dollar per gallon. The average price of wheat has been about one dollar per bushel for the best quality, ranging from ninety cents to one dollar and ten; linseed from one dollar ten to one dollar twenty-five; wool, according to quality, from fifteen to forty cents per pound; rye and corn, fifty to sixty cents per bushel; oats and barley, thirty to forty cents; tallow, eight cents per pound. The price of cotton and cotton yarn has not been quoted in this market for several months. Coffee, the average price about twenty cents, ranging from seventeen to twenty-five cents per pound; olive oil, according to quality, seventeen to twenty-five cents per pound; tobacco, thirty to seventyfive cents per pound. Very little sugar is imported at Odessa, not more than six or seven hundred roubles in value of it during the year, that article being manufactured in this country extensively from the best root. Before offering it for sale in the markets, it is all refined and put up in loaves, weighing twenty to twenty-five pounds. Ordinary from sugar and molasses are articles not seen nor known here in use. The duty is about six cents for unrefined, and nine cents for refined, in loaves the pound. Since the 1st of April, tea has been allowed to be imported by me, and nearly six hundred thousand roubles in value of it has passed through the custom-house in this city during the six months. elapsed since that time. The duty on tea is thirty-eight copecks, or about twenty-six for inferior, and seventy-two, or about forty-eight cents for superior qualities per pound. The retail price, from about one dollar to two dollars the pound. Heretofore tea has been brought overland, packed in skins, and has sold at a still higher price. Black tea is used almost exclusively, its effects upon the nervous system being considered harmless, while that of green tea is believed to be very injurious.
No reports have yet been published with regard to the commerce of the ports of Nikolaief and Kherson, not long since opened to foreign trade. It is proba ble that the import trade will amount to very little at those ports for years to come, (if ever much,) especially if railroads should be constructed to facilitate the transportation of exports to Odessa, where the market would always be larger, and where heavy importing houses are already established, with connexions in all parts of the world.
From the three principal ports of the sea of Azoff, Taganrog, Rostoff, and Berdiansk, which may, from their contiguity to each other, be almost considered as one port near the mouth of the Don, the exports have amounted to 22,696,249 roubles for the year 1861. Of this amount Rostoff has exported 9,580,471, Taganrog 7,277,310, and Berdiansk 5,838,468 roubles in value. During the year the two rivers, Don and Volga, have been connected by a railroad from Tzaritzque to Kalatch, thus opening all the valley of the Volga, as well as the Caspian provinces, to the commerce of the Azoff, which will without doubt in