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LETTER

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF STATE,

TRANSMITTING

THE ANNUAL REPORT UPON THE COMMERCIAL RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES WITH FOREIGN COUNTRIES FOR THE YEARS 1880 AND 1881.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 1, 1882. SIR: I have the honor to submit, in accordance with section 208 of the Revised Statutes, a report upon the commercial relations of the United States with foreign countries, for the years 1880 and 1881.

This report purports to give, in as condensed a form as the magnitude of the subject permits, a statement of such changes and modifications in the commercial systems of other nations as have been communicated to the Department, including all commercial information contained in the official publications of other governments which is deemed important, together with a synopsis of information communicated to this Department by diplomatic and consular officers during those years.

In submitting this report, which is in effect a brief exposition of the foreign commerce of the countries of the world, their colonies and de. pendencies, it may not be out of place to preface the same with some explanatory remarks as to the motives which have directed its preparation in this form and the interests to be subserved thereby.

It is believed that previous to the compilation of the Annual Report upon the Commercial Relations of the United States with Foreign Countries for the year 1879, no attempt had been made by government statisticians to compile and arrange in condensed and comprehensive form a statement of the current commercial transactions of the world, although many valuable reports and statistical publications on limited subjects have been issued by the leading commercial nations. In Great Britain statistical tables have been published, showing the imports and exports of the principal countries, and many other nations have published valuable statements as to their own commerce, but no condensed report covering the whole tield has been given to the pnblic, and importers and exporters, manufacturers and agriculturists, who desired to become familiar with the world's commerce, its composition and requirements, bad necessarily to search through volumes of diffused reports upon generalities.

The very imperfect methods for the collection and publication of traile statistics which prevail in the greater number of contries, meet the compiler at the outset and force him into vast fields of research and analyzation, comparison, average, and approximation, from whiclı to deduce facts and figures which, when arranged in simple ani orilerly sequence, give a very inadequate impression ofthe chaos of mattert om

which they were produced ; nor does the result show on its face the amount of mental and pbysical labor expended in reaching it, or the difference between simple statements or reports on particular subjects and compiling, condensing, and properly arranging the important parts of a vast number of such statements and reports.

In this report the subject is arranged under the following heads: 1. The world's trade in natural geographical divisions—by continents.

2. The commerce of each continent is separated into two or more grand divisions, or groupings.

3. The trade of these divisions is reduced to countries, colonies, and islands.

The regular order of treatment is, therefore, as follows: The trade of each country, colony, and island in each division is given, concluding with a résumé of the total trade of the division; when the continental divisions are completed a résumé of the total trade of the continent is given ; when the commerce of all the continents is shown, then follows a recapitulation of the trade of the world.

The principal aim of this report is to give the American exporter and importer, manufacturer and agriculturist, a bird's-eye view of the trade conditions of the several countries and colonies of the world, showing what they buy and what they sell, and giving as many details as possible of the articles composing such trade. Side by side with the statements as to general trade is shown the extent to which the United States partake therein, both directly and indirectly, and the best means for the enlargement of our commercial relations with each. For comparative purposes, statistical tables showing the principal imports and exports into and from Great Britain, France, and the United States, from and to each country, colony, island, and continent are given, supplemented by the “ recapitulation,” showing the total trade of the world and the shares of England, France, and the United States therein; after which the annual reports-many of which are referred to and quoted in this letter- from our consuls-general and consuls follow, giving details, which could not be embraced in this report, of the trade of their several districts.

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