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ogram (the designs being given), is very handsome, such as tables, cabinets, blotters, and inkstands, &c.; but these are only made to order.
Furniture shops are plentiful, and in some of these excellent wardrobes, chairs, and tables may be found of til or vinhatico, walnut or plain. Cedar-wood linings are generally used for glove and other boxes. The manufacture of many articles in wicker-work has increased enormously within the last ten years. Sofas, tables, chairs, and baskets of all shapes are made, and shipped by thousands every year. largest quantities are made at Camacha, and afford a lucrative occupation to many men, boys, and girls.
The fine baskets made of the peeled broom come chiefly from São Martinho, Santo Amaro, and that neighborhood, and are brought in weekly from these districts, either to the shops or for sale at the doors of houses and hotels.
Plaited straw for hats and bonnets comes from the Estreito and about Camara de Lobas.
Weaving is done chiefly at Ponta do Sol, the Canhas, Machico, Caniço, and Seixal. The hand-looms are very primitive and simple. The weavers are women, who are most ingenious in dyeing their wools with the roots and bark of trees.
Madder is used for crimson; walnut bark for brown, any shade; mulberry and wild berberie root for yellow. Black and purple dye is made from logwood and copperas. The beautifully embroidered bodices worn with the native costume are made at Ponta do Sol.
The stone-cutters are remarkably good workmen, as much of their work testifies, especially the balustrade round the terrace of the Empress's hospital. The hard gray cantaria comes chiefly from Cabo Girao, taken with difficulty from quarries on the face of this grand cliff. It is much used for door and window frames, for window balconies, steps, &c.
Houses are built of hard blue freestone, of which there is an unlimited supply from quarries and river beds; hence the houses are strong and well built. Much lime and sand is used with the stone; the former comes from Porto Santo, and is prepared in kilns in or near Funchal.
The wood used in building is generally chestnut, being hard and very suitable for this purpose.
The floors are either of American white or pitch pine, the latter being especially excellent and beautiful for the purpose, Madeira carpenters or joiners doing it full justice by their good workmanship. It is used for the flooring of the Empress's hospital, and is worth observing.
The hampers, made of unpeeled broom, used for packing potatoes and onions, are manufactured in the Little Curral.
The Gaula people excel in cutting spoons of every size and shape, from soup-ladles for kitchen use to salt-spoons. Folhado, being a very hard wood, is suitable for the larger, and lemon, orange, and box for the smaller sizes. Spindles are made either from the Erica arborea or Folhado, and the distaff from the thick cane, Arundo donax. Troughs of different sizes are much used by the poor, especially in kneading their bread, and are hollowed from a section of any tree large and hard enough; so that many fine trees are sacrificed for the purpose.
Very strong material is made from the wool of the island sheep; some dark brown, the natural color of the sheep, and other white. Very quaint, picturesque, little brown caps of various shapes are knitted by the shepherds about the west, at Prazeres and that part of the island, while watching their herds in the mountains. These little caps are by no means ugly, and are very becoming to the brown faces of their wearers, and are taking the places of the carapuça.
Flax is grown in many places, but is troublesome to prepare for spinning, this being all done by hard manual labor.
Embroidery is one of the chief employments of the women, both in the town and in the country, and was principally set on foot by Miss Phelps, in 1856, as an insular industry, to the great benefit and amelioration of the condition of a large class of women who had little or no means whereby to earn a living.
Knitting in fine thread, silk, and the threads of the aloe is very well done, and gives employment to many.
The aloe thread is used as well in stitching hats and bonnets, and is very strong; when dyed it makes effective doyleys of various colors.
Coarse and fine horse-hair chains are much in demand, and are cleverly made. Feather flowers, once so beautifully made at the Santa Clara Convent, and especially by some nuns who died a few years ago, have much deteriorated; but the best best are still made at the convent.
Madeira coopers are celebrated for their not only excellent but beautiful handiwork.
The only candles made in Madeira are of tallow, and are superior to those of Lisbon. Charcoal is only used for ironing-stoves and by the blacksmiths. It is made in the mountains by the poorest peasantry.
The oil used by the peasants in the mountains is expressed from the Laurus canariensis, and is most fragrant while the berries are being boiled before pressing.
The Madeira fruits make good preserves, and were highly famed as far back as the sixteenth century, and nuns and confectioners had arrived at such perfection in the art that, an offering of every sort of confectionery in white sugar being sent to the Pope, the Madeira confectioners took rank as the first of the age.
The few nuns that still live in the convents preserve the art, but only in a measure, and candied fruits, jams of many sorts, and guava jelly are about the best things to be found in the Funchal shops.
Citron, pineapples, and bananas are exported to England in very large quantities. The red pottery manufacture is on the São Roque road, where flower-pots chiefly are made; the water-vessels, infusas, and jars sold in the shops come from Portugal. At Santa Cruz delicate specimens of red pottery are made, and can be ordered at the Maria Pia Bazaar, where they keep them for sale, as well as a great variety of the Portugal ware from Caldas. The Oporto ware is quaint, and may be had in any china shop. It has a very original appearance and is very cheap; the plates in blue and white are very pretty, and the many-colored bowls delightfully original.
So far as I can learn, there are no traces of mines in the Madeira Islands. Some years ago the government, upon a rumor that coal was to be found on the north side of the principal island, caused a survey to be made, which resulted in the discovery of nothing. Some limestone quarries in Porto Santo, and the freestone referred to above, represent the total marketable mineral products of these islands.
The Portuguese peasant seldom eats meat. Vegetables and a morsel of fish form his staple food. Imagine, then, a government which lays a heavy tax upon fish, and ruthlessly exacts it from the poorest of the poor. Some idea of the oppressiveness of this tax upon the downtrodden peasantry may be gathered from the fact that in the budget for 1880-1881 the finance minister estimated the revenue from this tax would be $135,000. This was in Portugal, with a population of only 4,000,000.
Fish of the following tribes are to be found near the Madeira coast: Perch, red mullet, beryx, barracuda, gurnard, sea-bream, picarel, flag-fish mackerel, zemdæ, gray mullet, wrasse, pike, herring, codfish, flatfish, eel.
Tunny of a very considerable size are caught in the deep-sea fishing-grounds, as well as the cherne. Turtles are taken chiefly during the summer time, and vary in size; they are not so prized as the West India turtles, but nevertheless make very fair soup.
Shrimps (Camarans) are sometimes offered for sale. Madeira lobsters are very different in appearance from those in England. Crabs are small, and not worth eating. The Gueros or whitebait of Madeira are exceedingly good, and are chiefly caught after heavy rains, when they come in shoals to the muddy waters brought down by the mountain torrents.
At low tide innumerable limpets and periwinkles are seen on the rocks, and crabs of every size hurrying sideways into crannies. Sea urchins with long spines are most injurious in bathing, and are known to cause serious trouble to those who step on them. Occasionally the fishermen bring in curious sea monsters, the Urgamanta, for instance, the creature described in Victor Hugo's "Les Travailleurs de la Mer." It is much dreaded by the diving boys around the ships at anchor, for it comes to the surface floating on its back, and endeavors to envelope its prey with its large and powerful double flaps, and having done so, immediately sinks to the bottom.
The Pulvo (octopus) sometimes is caught of a considerable size. The Portugal fishermen make a soup from this sea monster, which they consider a great delicacy.
The only fresh-water fish are eels, of which there are a variety. They are caught in the mountain streams.-(T.)
Among the native trees of Madeira are to be found the following: Catha dryandi (Buxo da rocha).-This is more of a shrub than a tree, and is found on the sea cliffs of Sao Gonçalo and a mile inland; also in similar situations in different parts of the island.
Cerasus Luitanica (Gingeira brava).-The Portugal laurel in Madeira attains to the size of large forest trees; its racemes of creamy blossoms give it a lovely appearance in spring.
Cletha arborea (Folhado).-Peculiar to Madeira, growing and blossoming in great beauty in the Upper Seixal Valley, Boa Ventura, and other parts of the island.
Dracæna Draco (Dragoeiro).-The dragon tree, once so plentiful, has become very scarce; there are a few trees on the Brazen Head and in some of the quintas, at the Mount, but it is easily raised from.seed.
Erica arborea (Urza molar), Erica Scoparia (Urza durazia).-These two species of heaths in Madeira grow to an immense size, become trees, and are a remarkable feature about the mountains, their limbs twisted into most fantastic shapes. The flower is very small.
Heberdenia excelsa (Aderno).—In the same localities as the Til and Pāt Branco.
Ilex Perado (Perado).—The Madeira holly is a very handsome tree; the berries are larger than the English holly and the leaves are smooth. Ilex Canariensis (Azevinho).—In woods; has a small berry.
Juniperus oxycedrus (Cedro da Serra).-An elegant drooping juniper, from which the red scented cedar wood is procured for lining desks, work-boxes, &c.
Laurus Canariensis (Louro).—There are large groves of this fragrant tree at Santo Antonio da Sena. The peasantry extract an oil for burning from it.
Myrica Faya (Faya).—This is a candleberry myrtle, and is common in
the woods of Madeira.
Myrtus communis (Murta).—Though really a shrub, the myrtles in some parts of the island grow to a great size and are plentiful.
Olea Europaea, var. Madeirensis (Öliveira).-Exceedingly rare. Oreodaphne fætens (Til).-The grandest of the native trees. Large specimens with an immense girth are still existing near the road from the Grand Curral to the Encumiada de São Vicente; also in the Boa Ventura Pass and up the São Jorge River.
Phabe Barbusana (Barbusana).-A bright though dark evergreen, with large purple berries.
Persea indica (Vinhatico).-The Madeira mahogany is a fine forest tree, having a rich tinted red wood and a bright high-green handsome foliage. Occasionally some of the leaves become a rich crimson. It is much used for furniture.
Pittosporum coriaceum (Mocaim).-A very rare, but a highly ornamental tree, with deep cream-colored blossoms.
Picconia excelsa (Pão Branco).-Generally found in the same locality as the Til. A hard timber much in demand.
Pyrus ancuparia.-The mountain ash has only been found in two localities in Madeira, near Pico Ruivo and between the ice-house and Pico Arrieiro, and grows small and more like a shrub.
Rhamnus glandulosa (Sanguinho).—Rare in the mountain forests, and seldom met with in gardens. A graceful, small-leaved, slender tree.
*Quoted from the before-mentioned work.
Good specimens may be seen at Quinta do Prazer, the Mount, near the drago trees.
Salix Canariensis (Seixo).-A willow which grows in great abundance near streams, especially in the north.
Sideroxylon Mermulana (Mermulana).—This tree has become very rare, though occasionally seen on the sea cliffs. Captain Cook speaks of it and the Pão Branco as being plentiful in the vicinity of Funchal when he visited it in 1764.
Taxus baccata (Teixe).-This beautiful tree has become almost extinct from the reckless way in which it, together with the Juniperus oxycedrus is cut and used for torches. The fragrant red wood is split into lengths and several bound together for this purpose.
As will be seen from the annexed Table A, 50 men-of-war, of which 8 were American, entered and cleared at this port during the year 1882. The convenient position and salubrious climate of Madeira might lead one to conjecture that should the British possessions on the west coast of Africa rapidly increase in wealth and importance (as seems probable), this island would become irresistibly advantageous to England as a sanitarium and naval station.
From Table B it will be seen that during the past year there entered here merchant vessels as follows: 543 steamers, of 917,745 tons; 204 sailing vessels, of 53,260 tons; giving a total of 747 vessels and 971,005 tons. These figures show an increase over those for the year ending June 30, 1881, of 42 steamers, with a tonnage of 91,341 tons. The sailing-vessel tonnage shows no change to speak of. Of the 543 steamers entered during the year no less than 439 were English.
AMOUNT AND VALUE OF EXPORTS AND DUTIES THEREON.
I regret that it is impossible for me to give any but the scantiest details under this and the following head. Although I am writing nearly four months after the close of the year, having waited thus long in the hope of procuring from the custom-house the few figures necessary, there seems no more prospect now than there was on the 1st of January of inducing this institution to publish its returns before next Christmas. I am merely able to state that the dutiable exports during 1882 amounted to $1,054,951.34 (this figure was sent me from the Funchal customhouse; if it be correct we must add for the total exports the value of 602,785 kilograms of sugar ($121,738.45), the principal article paying no export duty; this would make the total exports $1,176,689.79), and to give some information concerning their method of production, &c.
The two staple exports of Madeira are wine and sugar.
The sugar cane has been cultivated in Madeira for more than four hundred years. In the year 1493 the production was 1,066,666 kilograms. In the course of three hundred and eighty-nine years the production has increased by something less than 15,000 kilograms, or about 11 per cent.
*Since writing the above, England has annexed a large strip of territory bordering on Sierra Leone.
Near the beginning of the sixteenth century the annual export reached its maximum, 1,600,000 kilograms. From this period, owing chiefly to oppressive legislation, combined with the competition of the Madeira vine growers and West Indian sugar plantations, the industry declined. In 1852, when the Oidium tuckeri nearly destroyed the vine culture of the island, sugar revived again. At the present time it maintains a precarious existence by being admitted free of duty into Portugal, all foreign sugar paying the following heavy tolls: refined sugar, 13 cents per kilogram; unrefined sugar, 93 cents per kilogram. To these must be added the following percentages, 3 per cent. on the specific duty above, 2 per cent. ad valorem, and 6 per cent. on total of duties and percentages. Taking the value of a kilogram of foreign unrefined sugar in bond at Lisbon at 9 cents, to get it out of bond will cost 10 cents, Madeira sugar, as stated above, going in free. Notwithstanding this huge official favoritism shown to the island article, Egyptian sugar not seldom successfully competes with it in Portugal. From this it is clearly seen what a forced, artificial, and highly protected industry Madeira sugar culture is.
It is proposed that in 1886 or 1887 Madeira sugar shall pay in Portugal one-half the duty of foreign sugar. Should this proposal become law, it will result in the total destruction of the Madeira sugar industry. Provided the taste for Madeira wine revives in the United States and Europe, so as to allow the whole of the island to be devoted to vine culture, this abandonment of sugar culture would be an unmitigated blessing. For the culture of the vine, climate and soil in Madeira are admirably adapted by nature. For sugar-raising, everything has to be done by artificial means. Water is scarce and has to be brought from the mountains by long and expensive levadas or courses. Unless a levada passes within a reasonably close distance of a field for sugar-cane culture this field is worthless. The right to draw water from a levada is sold with the land. The Government is slowly extending the levada system.
The following is the probable amount of sugar cane produced in the island of Madeira in the year 1882, with an approximate value of sugar and spirit extracted:
Converted into sugar, 2,126,290 gallons, producing 1,181,250 kilograms at 2,800 reis per 15 kilograms
Converted into spirits 1,918,575 gallons, producing 298,200 gallons at 600 reis
Molasses, giving 94,500 gallons, producing 46,000 gallons rectified spirits, at 800 reis per gallon..
36, 800, 000
436, 220, 000
$471, 118 60
Total production, Cartier 4,044,865 gallons, valued at..
Total, United States gold....
Of the above amount 602,785 kilograms of sugar were exported to Lisbon and the Azores. The remainder was for home consumption.
COST OF PRODUCTION.-In my report to the Department upon the wine trade of Madeira, September 30, 1882, I stated that—
Including cooperage, freight charges, and commissions, it is impossible to produce