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Wines ...........
Cloth of hemp and flax, plain, unbleaohed.
Manufactures of skin and leather .....
Manufactures of cotton......
Preserved fish in oil .........
Fruits, table............
Pottery, glass, and crystal.....
Tools and metal manufactures...
Paper, cardboard, and engravings ..
Manufactures of wool .....
Brandy, winea, and liqueurs ,.............
Olive oil ........
Drugs and medicines .......
Machines and machinery ...
Clothing and sewn underclothing,
Mercery and buttons .....
Prepared skins......
Other articles.....

$154, 000

56, 000
46, 000
37, 000
27, 000
23, 000
22, 000
19, 000
17, 000
14, 000
12, 000

211, 000

2, 000 35, 000 25,000 23, 000

5,000 22, 000 21,000 13,000 11. 000 17, 000 12,000 8,000 8,000 93, 000 507, 000

Total ............


761, 000

THE UNITED STATES.--The total imports into the United States from Central America during the fiscal year 1881 amounted to $3,160,000, designated as follows:

Free goods, $2,990,000, consisting principally of crude cocoa, cochiueal, coffee ($1,990,000), dyes, hides and skins, woods, &c.

Dutiable goods, $170,000, consisting of fruits and nuts, spices, brown sugar, &c.

The total exports from the United States to Central America during the same year amounted to $1,626,000, a decrease of $158,000 from the preceding year.

It will be seen by comparing the foregoing statements that Great Britain buys and sells from and to Central America more than twice the purchases therefrom and sales thereto of the United States. Not only has Great Britain the advantage in the volume of her exports to Central America, but in the character of the goods which enter into those exports she has equally the advantage, for the greater portion thereof are manufactures, while the exports from the United States are composed principally of natural products.

Take the principal imports into Central America-cotton manufactures-as an instance of the difference in the character of British and American trade therewith:

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Small as are our exports of cotton manufactures to Central America, as given above, they are nearly double those of 1879. This shows at least some progression, although nothing to what it should be.

A general increase in the variety as well as in the value of our manu. factures consumed in Central America may be recorded. In addition to the chief exports-breadstuffs and provisions, live animals, timber, kerosene, &c.—which comprise the greater portion of our trade therewith, the following manufactures are making their way into the market: Agricultural implements, beer, ale, billiard-tables, blacking, books, earthenware, drugs, glassware, hats and caps, hemp manufactures, jew. elry, boots and shoes, saddlery, musical instruments, paints, paper, printing-presses, perfumery, scales, sewing-machines, soaps, distilled spirits, starch, refined sugar, furniture and wooden ware, machinery and other iron and steel manufactures, varnish, watches, wearing apparel, tinware, trunks, &c.

There would seem to be no insurmountable obstacles to the extension of our trade with Central America to double its present proportions, provided our manufacturers and exporters take the necessary measures to supply and satisfy the wants and tastes of the people—measures which have been and are the ruling principle of the British, German, and French manufacturers in their trade relations with the Central Americans.

In cotton manufactures our position, as compared with Great Britain, is inexcusably low. Great Britain sells 31,476,600 yards of plain and printed piece goods to our 688,000 yards!

The relative prices per yard of British and American cotton manufactures exported to Central America were as follows:

British, year 1880: Plain piece goods, 5.23 cents; printed piece goods, 7.15 cents.

American, fiscal year 1881: Plain piece goods, 8 cents; printed piece goods, 8.92 cents. During the fiscal year 1880 American plain piece goods were 6.89 cents and printed piece goods 7.14 cents.

It will thus be seen that American goods, instead of being reduced to suit the market and meet British competition on something like even grounds, were materially increased.

Under such circumstances we may hope to increase our trade year by year as far as the demand for the superior quality of cottor manufactures will allow, but unless we can sell goods at popular prices we need scarcely ever expect to supply the popular demands or to divide the trade with Europe.

From a very interesting report upon Europeau vs. American trade in

Central America, by Minister Logan (now minister to Chili), who made a long study of this subject, I extract the following paragraphs, as bearing directly upon this subject, which will help our exporters and manufacturers to appreciate the difficulties which must be overcome before we can expect to participate to the fullest extent in this trade:


In view of the present aspect of affairs in Central America, the necessity for development of American commercial relations in these countries is very apparent. This is fraught with more difficulties than would appear to a superficial observer. There is lacking to the full extent the fundamental basis upon which successful trade rela tions are built up and sustained, viz, that of mutual purchases. The coffee of Central America, its great staple, is largely sold in European markets; hence the credits of the sellers are mostly in those countries. This being the case, it results almost as an unavoidable consequence that the purchases of the merchants are made there of all articles which do not by reason of vastly superior quality or lower price compel a purchase elsewhere. The circumstance named is so powerful in its effeets, however, as to overcome all ordinary advantages in other directions. Let me illustrate the point by citing the case of Chili. The great exports of that country are copper, silver, and wheat. Thirty years ago the United States bought largely of these articles ; and during the early settlement of California, Chili exclusively supplied the flour consumed by the pioneer population of our far-off Pacific coast. Then the credits of Chili were in our country, and the logical consequence was that we enjoyed a large trade with that republic, her imports being almost exclusively from the United States. The development of the copper of the Lake Superior region supplied our own demands for that article, the enormous yield of onr silver districts closed the market in that direction, while our wheat production has become one of the chief reliances of those conntries compelled to look to other nations for their supply of that staple. With the exception of a little wool, and some minor articles of trade, we now buy nothing of Chili, and with the exception of some agricultural machinery, &c., she buys nothing of us. When I was stationed there, four years ago, it was alunost impossible to buy a bill of exchange on New York, and the usual method of drawing was by draft on London or Paris, which draft was sent to New York for sale.

Mach the same state of things exists as a barrier to our trade with the states of Central America, though to a less extent, for we do buy some coffee and other products of them, while they buy flour and a few other articles of us.


The question of trade with Central America has many elements to it, the foregoing being the prime factor. But there are others, also, connected with our manufacturers and merchants, the former of whom will not make goods suited to the tastes of these people, and the latter of whom will not pack goods with any reasonable degree of care and security. The manufacturers of England and France make dress and other goods especially for the Spanish-American markets which could not be sold elsewhere. They have sent agents out to study the tastes and wauts of the people, which they have afterwards proceeded to cultivate by the manufacture of goods suited to them


All European merchants excel those of the United States in the item of packing, but those of France have almost made it a fine art. They employ regular packers in all establishments of any pretension, who bave learned the business as a trade. The box is made of a pecnliar white wood, which is close grained, exceedingly tough, and very difficult to split. These features enable them to make the boards of the box about one-half as thick as the ordinary American pine box, and about one-half the weight, or even less. The box is put together with a round wrought-wire nail, which is very difficult to draw out of the wood. Goods are packed in sealed tin cases, which are pnt inside the wooden box. This latter is then securely banded with iron straps. This box, weighing greatly less than the American box, an important consideration in the matter of freight bills, will stand a degree of pitching and throwing about which would tear the pine box of American merchants to pieces. The pine is not a suitable wood for boxing. It has no toughness, will not hold a nail, and easily splits. To make the matter worse, our merchants use a cast-iron nail, easily broken, and more easily drawn out of the wood by reason of the loose texture of the latter. To cap the whole business, the strap of wood or iron is often dispensed with by the American merchant, and goods are sent out in a heavy pine box, loosely nailed together, to stand the racket of steamships, launches, railroads, and the primitive wagon-roads of mountainous countries like Central America. Tbé inevitable result of it is that the loss by breakage and stealage in the American box is so great that but a little experience satisfies the foreign merchant that he cannot buy goods in American markets.


But there is still another evil operating against American trade in these countries. It is not pleasant to admit, but it is too much of a truth to ignore, that we have a class of merchants in our country who drive away foreign trade from our markets by dishonest dealing.

This dishonesty consists in short weights and measures, and in inferior qualities sold for the better ones. The honest American merchant who, wondering why our foreign trade does not increase faster, suggests meetings and government action through our ministers and consuls, is little aware of how large an extent the evil consists in some dishonest neighbor who, having sold a third or fourth class article for the best, and three-quarters of a ponnd of an article for a pound, has taught the consumer to purchase in inarkets where punctilious exactness in all mercantile dealings is practiced, whereby he pot only gets what he pays for, but avoids paying a high rate of duty on an amount of goods he does not receive.

There are still other elements connected with the subject of our foreigu trade which the length of this dispatch prevents me from touching upon at this time.


The trade of the Republic of Salvador is largely with the United States, as appears from the circumstances that of the 142,082 packages of merchandise imported during the year, 67,162 packages, or nearly one-half the whole amount, were from our own country; and of the 161,823 packages exported, 63,122, being only 7,779 packages less than one-half the whole exportation, were sent to the United States. Secondly, that the articles imported more largely from the United States than from European countries were provisions, flour (the total importation being from California), fine hardware, and machinery. Of the latter, we sold 2,342 packages, as against 1,607 sold by all Europe. Sewing machines probably constituted a large proportion of the packages under this heading as imported from the United States. Thirdly, that the article more largely bought by the United States was crude sngar, and that more than onethird of the coffee export was to the United States. Fourthly, the articles more largely imported from European countries were cotton and linen goods, wines and liquors, crockery and glass ware, drugs and perfumery, and iron ware; and the articles more largely exported to European countries were indigo and coffee.

The showing of trade between the United States and the Republic of Salvador is very favorable to the former, and is to be considered as an illustration of the correctness of the principle stated in the body of the dispatch, viz, that mutual purchases underlie permanent trade relations. In the present case the trade is divided between the United States and the countries of Europe, for the reason that all buy largely of the products of Salvador. In the case that we bought nothing of that country, then all of its purchases would be made in Europe (becanse its credits would be there exclusively), with the exception of such articles from the United States as command a market, the only one of these being, in the present instance, the flour of California.

FOREIGN COMMERCE OF BRITISH HONDURAS. Not having received any reports from the commercial agent of the United States at Belize for some years, I am unable to give any very recent statistics concerning the foreign trade of the colony.

An analysis of the official returns of Great Britain and the United States in relation to their trade with British Honduras results in the following estimates of the imports and exports of the colony: Imports, $1,200,000; exports, $1,600,000. Of the latter products not colonial are included, but to what extent cannot be definitely given; perhaps onehalf.

The following statement shows the trade of Great Britain and the United States with the colony, during the years 1878 and 1880–81:

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The foregoing shows a coinparatively progressive condition of our trade with British Honduras, the total value thereof having nearly doubled in two years.

The principal articles which enter into the trade between Great Britain and the colony will be seen by the following statements:

Imports into Great Britain from British Honduras.

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Exports from the United Kingdom to British Honduras--produce and manufactures of the

United Kingdom.

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Apparel and barberdashery....
Arms and ammunition :

Small ........

Beer and ale ...........
Cordage and twine......

By yard.....

By value........
Earthen chinaware .....
Hardware and entlery .....
Leather, wrought and not ..
Linens, by yard.
Machinery .....
Metals ..
Silk manufactures ........
Woolens, by vard.
All other articles ....

Total British goods

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