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I have endeavored to obtain from the custom-house authorities of this port a statement showing the course of trade, the articles, &c., of import and export for the past two years; but, at present, I find it impossible to get more than aggregate amounts. For the year ended June 30, 1862, the total value of the trade of this port of Maranham amounted to $3,022,160, of which $1,621,216 were imports, and $1,400,944 were exports, divided among the nations as follows:
The duties collected on said amount of imports was $1, 008, 880, (amount in
Export duties are trifling. The general trade of the past year exhibits an increase of $550,518 over previous year, as follows: Excess of imports, $174,316; excess of exports, $376,202.
During the year Maranham has been unusually healthy, while other ports of Brazil have been visited with the Asiatic cholera, and, in some places, the mortality being very great. This city has thus far escaped. There has been little or no yellow fever.
OCTOBER 22, 1862.
I have the honor of enclosing the following documents relating to the commerce and productions of the province of Maranham:
No. 1.-Relating to production of cotton.
No. 2.-Table of imports and exports.
No. 3.-Agricultural products of province.
No. 4. Arrivals and departures of vessels in foreign trade.
No. 5.-Coast trade of port of Maranham.
The impulse given to the cultivation of cotton in this consular district by the political difficulties of the United States has resulted in an increased product of from five to seven thousand bales. The amount exported from this port during the year 1859-'60 was 36,580 bales. There is no doubt but it will reach 42,000
this year, averaging ten hundred pounds per bale. The season has been very favorable for its cultivation, with the exception of some recent rains in particular districts of the province, and which, unhappily occurring during the height of the picking season, has lost several thousand bales to the province. This, however, will be somewhat balanced by the present high prices, inducing the planters to send to market the greater part of the three thousand bales generally retained for home consumption. It is generally conceded that it has been one of the best seasons we have had for several years, both as regards amount of crop and quality of staple. The following table, (No. 1,) procured from the records of the custom-house of this port, gives the best idea of the variations in amount of crop for this province, from the commencement of its cultivation in 1760 to 1860, a period of one hundred years, during some of which the crop was double of what it is this year, and in others falling off to a few bales.
The American trade has increased in general amount over previous year, the balance being greatly in our favor, as follows: Total value of trade, $168,174; of which, $138,077 were imports from, and $30,007 were exports to, the United States; showing a balance in our favor of $108,070-more than 300 per cent. The cause of this rare condition of the trade may be attributed solely to the depressed condition of the hide market in New York. Maranham has ever paid her American debts with the hides annually exported to the various ports of the United States, and almost invariably had a balance in her favor of many thousand dollars, but the last two years have shown a decided variation from the oldestablished custom.
The price of hides has varied but little between New York and this port during the last two years; upon some occasions, however, being actually lower in the former than in this market, and consequently entirely precluding the possibility of their exportation to the accustomed market. The production for the year is about 1,400,056 pounds, all of which, with the exception of a very small quantity, has found its way to European markets, being about equally divided between England, France, and Portugal.
With regard to the different articles of import from the United States, the greatest improvement is noticeable in flour, domestics, and hardware. The importation of the first article has reached 5,455 barrels, against 3,653 for previous year, one-half being Haxall, the other Pocahontas, and various other brands. Prices ruled very high during first part of the year, at one time reaching 308000 milreis for first quality, but at this time, owing to an overstocked market in consequence of large importations from France, England, and Portugal, caused by the prevalent idea abroad that the civil war existing in the United States would greatly diminish the amount of production and exportation of all kinds of breadstuffs. The price is merely nominal in this market, and many months will elapse before it can recover its usual tone. The American importation might be made sufficient to supply the annual consumption, which is seldom over 10,000 barrels. The stock on hand by 1st of November will reach 3,000 barrels, and by 1st of December over 4,000, which will reduce the price to 15$000 and 18$000 milreis per barrel.
The consumption of American hardware has increased from 159 cases for previous year to 235 for 1860-'61. Axes, particularly, which form the larger part of the importation, have steadily grown in favor, and will, I have no doubt, eventually be used to the exclusion of all others.
The increase in domestics has been from 197 to 305 cases, two-thirds of the importation being composed of Suffolk blue drills, the remainder of stripes and plaids of various mills. The latter found ready sale; but the importation cannot be returned during the present scarcity and value of the raw material. Agricultural implements make up part of the cargo of every American vessel arriving at this port. So many of the staple articles of production of Brazil, being identical with those of the United States, the people of this country
naturally look to us for the most efficient implements and machinery employed in their cultivation and preparation for market. Many years must elapse, however, before they can become among the leading articles of trade, for the reason of the difficulty attending a change from the old system of cultivation to a new one, such as the use of the plough involves. This is a barrier which the negro slaves of Brazil will be slow to surmount. They appear to have but little aptitude or capacity for using them, and it is only by untiring efforts and patience on the part of their masters, who are alive to the advantages to be gained, that they finally succeed.
The value of the foreign trade of this port for the financial year of 1859-'60, as returned by the custom-house department, was 5,652,256||200 milreis, equiv alent to $3,108,909 26 American currency; of the above amount, $1,727,743 44 being imports, and $1,381,165 81 exports, divided among the different nations, as shown in the following table of foreign trade.
Statement showing the quantity of cotton exported from the port of Maranham during a period of one hundred years, from 1760 to 1860, in bales of two hundred pounds.
TABLE No. 2.
Table showing the value of imports and exports of the port of Maranham for the financial year of 1859-'60, together with the name of the countries whence the imports are made.
Table showing the agricultural products of the province of Maranham for