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Statement showing the imports and exports between Aden, Arabia, and the United States for the year ending March 31, 1882.
Statement showing the navigation at the port af Aden, Arabia, for the year ending March
Number of vessels.-British, 938; British Indian, 26; Austrian, 59; American, 2; Belgian, 3; Danish, 8; Dutch, 25; French, 86; German, 16; Italian, 25; Norwegian, 3; Russian, 6; Spanish, 21; Turkish and Egyptian, 12; Arab, 2.
For what purpose called.-For coal, 591; for cargo or passengers, 503; for repairs, 16; for orders, 10; for provisions, &c., 15; for water, 10; for bills of health, 8; for telegrams, 4; for repairing telegraph cables, 4; to land sick persons, 2.
JAMES S. WILLIAMS,
United States Consul.
Report by Consul-General Mattson, of Calcutta, on the trade and industry of British India.
In compliance with paragraph 556, Consular Regulations, I have the honor to submit the following report upon the trade and industry of British India for the official year (of India) ending March 31, 1882.
The year was one of marked prosperity and plenty, which may also be said of the season following it, and the people of India are at this
time blessed with abundant food for their own consumption and a large surplus for export.
The total area under cultivation is 198,000,000 acres, of which about five-sixths are in food crops, the principal of which are rice, millet, wheat, and pulse, and the remainder in non-food crops, among which cotton, jute, hemp, oil-seed, tobacco, spices, dyes, and opium are of most importance. Of the cultivated lands nearly 30,000,000 acres are under artificial irrigation.
The total yield cannot be ascertained for the want of agricultural statistics, but its enormous quantity will appear when it is remembered that it furnishes food for a population eight times as large as that of Great Britain, with the great surplus exported as shown in the trade statistics herein, together with the usual reserve on hand as a contingency against future wants.
The number of live stock, according to official estimates and reports, is as follows: Horses, asses, camels, and elephants, 1,098,000; plow cattle and other cattle, 52,500,000 (which includes nearly a million of the Oriental buffalo); goats and sheep, 21,200,000; swine, 970,000.
The most notable feature concerning agriculture at the present time is the general desire and effort in the direction of supplying Great Britain with wheat, and the marked increase in the export of that staple to over 37,000,000 bushels from 14,000,000 bushels in 1880-'81, and only 4,000,000 bushels in 1879-'80.
Another matter deserving of special mention is the growing interest in the production of sugar. The Government has recently gathered statistics on the subject, from which it appears that the area in sugar-cane is 1,922,283 acres, besides 168,262 acres under the date palm, 14,100 acres under the Palmyra palm, and 2,930 acres under the cocoa palm, all of which yield sugar. This industry is domestic in all its stages; each cultivator who has a bit of land suitable for the purpose grows a little sugar cane varying from half an acre to two or three acres, in rotation with other crops, and although the yield per acre is only about one-half that of other cane-producing countries, the industry is quite flourishing and comparatively remunerative to the indigent tiller of the soil. The total actual produce of coarse sugar (gur) was 1,791,180 tons, value at $92,482,287. There is no doubt that by a proper system of cultivation the yield can be nearly doubled.
I can scarcely add anything new to what was stated under this head in my last annual report. There seems to be no manufacturing enterprise in India except a very little developed by a few Europeans or by the Government itself, and that even is hardly worth mentioning in a vast country like this abounding in cheap labor and raw material, such as sugar cane, hides, cotton, wool, silk, jute, and paper material, nearly all of which materials are exported the long distance to Europe and America to be manufactured with labor that costs from ten to twenty times as much as the labor of India, and then sent back here as manufactured goods to be purchased largely by the very laborers who would gladly have done the work for 10 to 15 cents a day and board themselves.
A few examples will better illustrate this deplorable want of manufacturing enterprise. The export of paper material for the year under review was in value 894,848, while the import of paper and pasteboard was $1,892,536; the export of hides and skins $15,795,169, the import 14708 C R, PT 2—36
of leather $678,360; the export of unrefined sugar $2,190,585, the import of refined sugar $4,968,756; the export of cotton, raw, $59,743,838, and the import of cotton manufactures, $83,088,394; and while India with its large surplus of good wheat might easily supply not only her own European population, but also the other countries in Asia, with first-class flour, she imports all her fine flour, and there is not one firstclass flouring mill in the country.
Manufacturing has been carried on at the public prisons with convict labor for several years past, and almost every conceivable article of Indian manufacture was made, but this soon proved a great injury to private enterprises, on account of the cheapness with which the goods were made and introduced into the market. To encourage private industries, the Government has now ordered that after the 1st of April next, the jail or prison labor shall be restricted to the weaving of course jute, woolen, and cotton fabrics worked by hand looms, the making of coarse matting, brick and tile, hand sawing of timber, oil pressing, stone breaking, and brick crushing, and that all machinery hitherto used in connection with prison labor shall be sold at the earliest opportunity. The following table shows the condition of the cotton and jute mills as given in my last annual report, since which time no material changes have taken place.
Although the country has plenty of mineral resources in gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, iron, coal, and petroleum, it is doubtful whether any mining except that of coal can be done with profit to the capital required; certainly so far all larger attempts have been unsuccessful.
The gold mining about which excitement ran high a few years ago, after absorbing several million dollars English capital, has been prac tically abandoned as a failure, and the principal works of iron manufacturing, the Bengal Iron Company, after a languishing existence, was bought up last year by the state in order to save the enterprise, and the Government now offers to transfer it to some new company at cost, $173,000, on sufficient guarantee being given for requisite skill and capital to carry on the manufacture of iron and steel on an extensive scale.
Fish is found in great abundance and variety in all the waters surrounding India, and by its extensive and permanent use as an article of food among the native population, it constitutes an important factor in the internal economy of the country, but is not an article of export. Some attempts have been made at fish curing as an industry and a means of increasing the food supply, and have proved quite successful, and will in all probability soon be developed under the fostering care of some of the local governments. In the Madras Presidency there are eleven curing yards, in which the total curings amounted to 1,734 tons.
The fishing industry is particularly well suited to the natives of India, and it is only for the want of enterprise that has it not already become one of great importance and profit.
India has great natural resources in the forests of the Himalayas and the mountain country of Madras, in the central provinces, on the hill slopes of the Western Ghats, and in Burmah, but their devastation by the hand of man went on so fast, that the Government felt called upon to interfere for protection, and in 1878 a “forest act" was passed, under which these resources are now being administered to great public advantage, and at the same time to the protection and satisfaction of private rights. Under the act the forests of the state are classed either as "reserved," which means absolutely set aside for strict conservancy, and includes the areas covered by more valuable timber and the wooded tracts about the sources of rivers, or as "protected," which signifies that they are managed to meet local demands for pasture, fuel, and timber. There are now 25,000 square miles absolutely protected from all in jury and devoted strictly to legitimate forest uses, and new tracts are being set aside as fast as the forest department is able to extend its operations. The purposes of the act are not only being carefully carried out by those in charge, but the whole people seem anxious and determined to lend their aid to the measure, knowing that it will result to their own benefit.
Here, as elsewhere, exists a difference of opinion among scientific and observing men as to the effects of forests and denudation of forests upon the rainfall of the country; but upon another point of almost equal importance all seem to agree, and many base their opinion on the best personal observation, viz, the fact that the destruction of forests causes the drying up of springs and streams, the flooding of rivers, and the destruction of soil on the mountain sides by the rapid descent of flood water, no longer arrested in its course by vegetation.
Navigation. The following table gives the total number of vessels from and to foreign ports, with the amount of tonnage and a comparison with the previous year, showing a great gain for steam vessels, both in number and tonnage:
The number of vessels entered belonging to Great Britain and her colonies were 4,974, with a tonnage of 2,803,415; to foreign countries 1,486, with a tonnage of 828,853, and among the latter only 1 steam
and 26 sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 31,040 tons, belonged to the United States.
The large regular increase of steamship trade through the Suez Canal appears from the following table, giving the totals of vessels (steam) and tonnage entered and cleared via Suez Canal during the last five years:
Imports.-Imports of merchandise show a decrease of $13,267,000 compared with the imports of 1880-'81, which, however, in that year were unusually large, and the decrease is mostly in cotton goods, which occupy a very large share of the trade, but declined to the extent of $8,554,472.
The imports of treasure show an increase of $9,338,268 over the previous year; a result of the enormous increase in the exports of country produce, which will be noted under the head of "Exports." The total value of imports, exclusive of Government supplies, was:
$187,968, 337 45, 291, 123 233, 259, 460
Of the imported merchandise 42.24 per cent. of the total value was admitted free of duty, and 57.76 per cent. dutiable goods, on which the net revenue collected (excluding that on salt) amounts to $6,038,258. It should be remembered that all duties have, since 1st of April, 1882, been abolished, except on wines, beer, spirits, salt, arms, and ammuni tion.
Exports.-Exports of country produce and merchandise exceeded the previous year in value over $28,000,000, which great increase is due mainly to the remarkable development of the wheat trade, which in three years' time advanced in value of export from $4,484,059 to $34,416,326. The total value of exports amounted to
331, 997, 385