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RIO DE LA PLATA.-The chief places on this river visited by India ships are Maldonaldo, Monte Video, and Buenos Ayres.
MALDONALDO, on the N. side of the river, is in latitude 34° 58' S., longitude about 54° 45′ W. The harbour is safe, with depth for ships of any size, and partly sheltered from the sea by the island Gorelli. The town is at a short distance, pleasantly situated; the houses are mean.
PROVISIONS AND REFRESHMENTS.-Bullocks are good, plentiful, and cheap. Fruits are abundant.
MONTE VIDEO, in latitude 34° 53′ S., longitude 56° 1′ W., is about 22 leagues W. of Maldonaldo. The harbour where ships moor in 2 and 3 fathoms, is on the E. side of the mount, which gives its name to the town, situated to the E. of the harbour. The houses are good, the streets are constructed at right angles, and the town is well fortified. The only landing-place is within the harbour, at a stone pier.
TRADE. The exports from Monte Video to Great Britain in the year 1821 amounted to £25,772, official value, consisting of articles enumerated under Buenos Ayres; the imports from thence, of foreign and colonial merchandize, amounted to £169, principally spirits; of British and Irish produce, the declared value was £30,775-for the articles see BUENOS AYRES.
PROVISIONS AND REFRESHMENTS.-The market is excellent, abounding with meat, poultry, and fish. The beef (which is fine) and mutton are reasonable. Vegetables and fruits are cheap, and very abundant.
COINS.-Accounts are kept in pesos of 8 reals, subdivided into 16 parts, and also into 34 maravedis. The gold coins are doubloons of 8 escudos, with halves and quarters. The silver coins are dollars, or pesos, Mexicanos of 8 reals, with halves and quarters, eighths (or reals), and sixteenths.
WEIGHTS. The quintal is divided into 4 arobas of 25 lbs. each; the pound into 2 marks, or 16 ounces; the ounce into 8 drams, 16 adarmes, or 576 grains. Merchants commonly reckon 100 lbs. equal to 102 lbs. avoirdupois; but the exact proportion is 123 to 125.
MEASURES.-The Spanish foot is 11 English inches; it is divided into 12 pulgadas, each 12 lines. The fanega is a measure for corn, &c. containing 12 celemins; and 5 fanegas are equal to one English quarter.
BUENOS AYRES is on the S. side of the River Plate. To the E. it is bounded by a small river, and to the N. and W. by gardens and orange groves. The castle or fortress is in the centre of the town. The streets are regular, and the houses lofty. The Plaza del Tauros, for bull-fights, is at the N. W. angle, close to the river, and in the neighbourhood of it are depôts for military stores, &c. Various roads and streets lead into the Plaza. The length of Buenos Ayres is nearly two miles; its breadth about
one. The river is very shallow, so that vessels of burthen cannot approach within 8 or 10 miles; and goods are conveyed to land in craft drawing little water, the expence of which is paid by the consignees.
TRADE.-The exports to Great Britain in 1821 were bark, unwrought copper, ostrich feathers, horse-hair, hides, skins, tallow, sheep's wool, &c. to the official amount of £247,320. The imports were, 1st, foreign and colonial piece-goods, spirits, tobacco, &c., amounting, in official value, to £37,059; 2d, British and Irish produce, vix. cottons, woollens, linens, silks, glass and earthenware, hardware, cutlery, apparel, beer, upholstery, &c., copper and brass, cordage, haberdashery, hats, iron, leather, plate and plated ware, jewellery, &c. to the amount of £560,276, in declared value.
PORT CHARGES appear lower here than at Rio de Janeiro. The vessel which touched at that place in 1818, visited Buenos Ayres, at which port the amount of charges was 150 Spanish dollars, 7 reals, comprehending port charges inwards, manifest-fee, Consul's duty and certificate of crew, bill of health, notary's fees and stamps.
DUTIES. These are continually fluctuating. In 1818 they were about 30 per cent.
The ports on the other side of Cape Horn, which are beginning to be visited by East India vessels, and to be resorted to by merchants as a convenient medium of remittance from India, are Valparaiso, Coquimbo, and Copiapo on the Chili coast; Lima, in Peru; and Acapulco, in Mexico, properly in North America. The unsettled state of the Governments in these countries, and the imperfect knowledge we have of their regulations, which frequently fluctuate, prevent a very accurate account of them.
VALPARAISO is in latitude 33° 1' S., longitude 71° 31' W., situated in a bay of the South Pacific Ocean. It is large, and would be larger, but the mountain at the foot of which it is built, obstructs its extension. The proximity of this port to Santiago has drawn hither all the commerce. The harbour is free from dangers, except to the N. E. of Los Angelos, where is a sunken rock, a cable's length or two from land, which must be carefully avoided. Valparaiso, as well as Santiago, the capital, sustained considerable damage by the earthquake in November, 1822.
TRADE.-The demand for British merchandize, as well as Indian piecegoods, is fast increasing. The chief articles of the former are enumerated under Buenos Ayres. The foreign and colonial imports from Great Britain (quicksilver and spirits), amounted, in 1821, to £15,137; the British and Irish produce to £346,517. Piece-goods from India met with a very favourable market in 1821; a quantity of cinnamon, cassia, and Bengal rum was
brought back to Calcutta, for want of sale, in 1821-22. Coffee was largely in demand. The exports to Great Britain in 1821, amounted to £32,421, chiefly almonds, bark, cocoa, copper, hides, skins, tin, &c.
REGULATIONS. By a Chilian proclamation in 1820, it is declared that Valparaiso is established as a general intermediate port of the Pacific; so that vessels trading with countries between Chili and California, may freely enter, anchor, and depart, repair damages, or obtain necessaries, under protection of the Government. Goods may be landed and deposited in the Government stores, without specification of contents, and a receipt given for them by the magistrate, on presentation of which, and payment of two reals per package, weighing two quintals, (for 6 months), the goods will be delivered for re-embarkation. If they be intended, either wholly or in part, for consumption in the country, they will be liable to duty on landing.
DUTIES.―These are continually varying, through the necessities of the Government. In 1818 they were generally 34 per cent. upon the selling prices, and on some articles 100. In 1821 the duty on Indian piece-goods was 33 per cent. on the sale price. The duty on bullion is high to foreigners; but it is said that the miners may ship copper and other produce of the mines, duty free, and import foreign goods, purchased therewith, also duty free.
PORT CHARGES amounted, in 1819, on a ship of 600 tons, to 72 dollars.
COQUIMBO, in latitude 29° 56′ S., longitude 71° 15′ W., and COPIAPO, in latitude 27° 19′ S., longitude 70° 50′ W., are ports to the N. of Valparaiso. The town of Copiapo was destroyed by an earthquake about four years since, and another is now built, about 10 leagues from it, near the Cordilleras. The country about Copiapo and Huasco, another port on the mine coast, in latitude 28° 27′ S., longitude 71° 9′ W., is extremely barren. The harbours in this part of the coast are generally small bays, under high land, which shelters shipping from S. E. winds that blow on all the coast constantly from 10 A. M. to sunset. Ships lie close to the shore very safe, except when a N. wind sets in, which is rare.
TRADE.-The W. ports of South America have furnished a large supply of copper to India, in part payment of the exports thither; the other part is paid in bullion. There are many hundred mines of copper wrought in Chili. The annual produce has lately risen to upwards of 60,000 quintals. The greatest part goes to Calcutta; a small quantity to China; the rest to Europe and America. It is said that about 250,000 pieces of cotton goods are annually consumed in Chili, and that 200,000 pieces would meet a ready sale; but the market has been glutted with English as well as India goods. Few other descriptions of India commodities are calculated for the Chili
market, except small quantities of the inferior sorts of Bengal indigo. There is an increasing demand for China goods; but tea is almost excluded, by the fondness which prevails for la yerba, or herb of Paraguay, a decoction of which is drunk universally in Chili, and is preferred to tea throughout great part of South America. Previous to the revolution, Chili consumed a quantity equal to more than two millions of pounds of this article. Besides its metals, Chili produces several articles suitable for exportation, among which are Chinchilla skins, the procuring of which affords employment, for four or five months in the year, to many persons who hunt the animals among the hills adjoining Coquimbo, Huasco, and Copiapo. They are not met with S. of Coquimbo.
The copper trade of Chili is thus conducted :-Goods are sent from England or Calcutta adapted to the Chili market, and consigned to British or American merchants, resident at Santiago. The returns can be made only in bills, specie, or copper. If the last be preferred, the consignee at Santiago writes to his correspondent at Coquimbo, that a ship will call at such a time on the Coast for so many quintals of copper, which the latter purchases at a specified price by the appointed day, and draws bills upon Santiago for the amount. The consignee and his correspondent charge their respective commissions.
The beneficial operation of free trade was never more visible than in Chili since the revolution, as the following table of prices will shew:
per cent., on a Copper pays a
Jerked Beef, per quintal Grassa, or soft fat, per botica, of 50 lbs.....
DUTIES.-These are represented to be equal to 35 valuation nearly 30 per cent. lower than the market price. duty of two Spanish dollars per quintal.
LIMA. This city, in latitude 12° 15′ S., longitude about 77° W., is delightfully situated in the Valley of Rimac; its walls are washed by a river, over which is an elegant stone bridge. The Cordilleras of the Andes are towards the N. It has many ornamental buildings, churches, convents, colleges, nunneries, besides bronze fountains, &c. The streets are broad, clean, well-paved, and at right angles. Most of the houses have gardens, refreshed with water by canals. The houses are built mostly of wood, and
the walls of oziers or canes, wattled, covered with clay painted, as a precaution against earthquakes, which are frequent. The trade of Lima is carried on through its seaport, CALLAO, distant about 5 miles. This town is not more than 9 or 10 feet above the level of high-water mark; the streets are in a line, but dusty. The public buildings are not splendid, but neat. On the N. side are the warehouses. The Castle is in latitude 12° 3' S., longitude 77° 2 W.
TRADE. The exports from Lima and the Coast of Peru to Great Britain, in 1821, amounted, in official value, to £9843; the articles were bark, rhatany root, tin, and cotton-wool. The imports from thence into Lima and Arica consisted of foreign merchandize, chiefly quicksilver, to the official amount of £39,316; and British and Irish produce to the declared amount of £127,499, consisting of similar articles to those specified under Buenos Ayres. The trade between the two countries is, however, rapidly increasing.
DUTIES.-By the commercial regulation of 1821, free admission to the ports of Callao and Huanchaco is granted to friendly and neutral nations, and the following duties fixed :-on all imports, 20 per cent. on the current prices of the goods, settled equitably each month by inspectors. Threefourths of the duty belongs to the State; the other is for the dues of the Consulate. Imports under the flag of Chili, Provinces of Rio de la Plata, and Colombia, pay 2 per cent. less to the consulate, but the same to the State. Imports under the Peruvian flag pay 13 per cent. to the State, and 3 to the Consulate. Foreign manufactures, directly prejudicial to the industry of the country-as clothes, made up, tanned hides, boots and shoes, household furniture, coaches, saddles, and other made-up articles; as well as woollens, iron-work, candles, and gunpowder-pay double duties. Quicksilver, agricultural and mining implements, warlike stores, (except gunpowder), scientific books and instruments, prints, maps, and machinery of every kind, are exempt from all import duties. Exports pay as follows:Stamped silver, or specie, 5 per cent. and gold 21 per cent. when exported in any vessel, three-fifths to the State, two-fifths to the Consulate. The exportation of silver ore, gold and silver in bars, or wrought, is absolutely prohibited. All other produce of Peru is subject only to Consular dues, namely-Exported under a foreign flag, 4 per cent.; under the flag of Chili, Provinces of Rio de la Plata, and Colombia, 3 per cent.; under the Peruvian flag, 3 per cent.-Goods reimbarked for exportation, after landing, pay 1 per cent.; the import duty paid, to be restored. Eight months' previous notice will be given of any alteration in the foregoing duties and their accompanying regulations.