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FUNCHAL-GEORGE TRUE, Consul.
JANUARY 10, 1863. From these documents it will be perceived that the public warehouse here is the custom-house, which, however, is quite sufficient, as to accommodation and security, for the trade of this island.
Foreign merchandise can be stored in the custom-house,' paying only one per cent. on its value when withdrawn and shipped. By reference to my despatch (No. 76) of the year last passed, at section 11 of the report, it will be seen that "merchandise entered at the custom-house here can be warehoused exempt from the payment of duty for the space of one year.” Certain articles therein specified enjoy the privilege for the space of two years. For this privilege usually dry goods and merchandise pay at the rate of 42 cents for each 2121 pounds, and liqueurs 24 cents for each 20 litres per year.
From private information obtained from the collector of customs I am given to understand that any stores, provisions, clothing, &c., for our ships-of-war can be warehoused in the custom-house here without any charge whatever for the space of one year, paying only the regular duty of one per cent. on being shipped on board our ships-of-war.
Coal, however, is an exception; being placed by the imperial ordinance of October 3, 1860, on the second class of manufactures or warehouses requiring license from the government, (as dangerous,) it can only be stored in licensed warehouses ; and license must be procured by a lengthy and somewhat expensive proceeding for making any deposit in any new place in and around the city.
JULY 2, 1863. In accordance with the regulation requiring me to make returns to your department (under Form No. 14) of the arrival and departure of American vessels, &c., I have to report that no vessel sailing under our national flag has entered at this port during the past quarter. Annual report of the trade, commerce, 8c., of the Cnited States consular district
of Funchal, Madeira.
SEPTEMBER 30, 1863. This consular district comprises the islands of Madeira, Porto Sancto, and the uninhabited islets known as the “Desertas” and “Salvages,” the latter cluster being situate in lat. 30° N., long. 15° 30' W. The district of Funchal is divided into ten“concelhos."
When the large quantity of waste land incident to the exceedingly mountainous character of this island is taken into consideration, the crowded state of the population becomes at once apparent; yet it has been much greater, for in 1835 it was 115,446, and as late as 1849 the census showed a population of 110,084.
Emigration, however, is practically prohibited to the poorer classes by stringent laws, which, fortunately for humanity, have been extensively evaded. It is estimated that during the twenty-five years prior to 1859 more than 50,000 smuggled themselves out of the island.
The ownership of the soil is, unfortunately, in the hands of comparatively few possessors, usually "morgados," or heirs by entail. These estates are commonly divided into many small lots formed by “colonos,” who usually live in miserable hovels; and, as might be expected from the system, the working or laboring classes lead a life of unprofitable toil, and, under the laws hitherto in force, have had little more inducement to improvement than if they were chattels
. After centuries of restriction under this system, it is to be hoped that the
abolition of the “morgado” estates will ultimately succeed in reinvigorating and improving both the agriculture and the agriculturists of the island.
The failure of the vine since 1852 has greatly changed the commerce, agriculture, and trade of Madeira. At first this and other evils produced famine and the greatest distress; but it is claimed that, although the commerce and trade of the island have been prostrated by this means, yet the laboring classes are now in a better condition than during the last few years of wine production. In his last message to the legislative body of this district the governor, in alluding to this topic, said:
" In consulting the tables of wine exportation during the extended period of twenty-two years, commencing in 1828 and ending in 1849, I find that the wine exported in that time amounted to 166,474 pipes, or 7,567 in each year. Taking as a favorable estimate for the price received by the farmer, and represented in the agricultural interest of the island, for this exportation, the sum of $50 each pipe, and comparing this with the price which the English merchants obtained for the same products in foreign markets, we see that the producing class received little benefit from the commerce of the island.
" It is well known that the trade in our precious wines was almost monopolized by these foreign merchants. Being the only purchasers, they paid what they chose for the new wine, because the producers had no one else to whom to sell
. They realized to themselves fabulous profits, with which they built up colossal fortunes, while the producers lived iniserably, and even sometimes suffered from hunger."
" The agriculture of the island did not receive a tithe of the proceeds of the sale of the wines; only $378,350 can be put to its credit each year for the 7,567 pipes exported.
" To compensate something of the loss endured in the destruction of the vines, we have the augmentation of our production of cereals and other articles represented in the diminution of their importation since 1852. Until that date the importation of wereals for consumption was between 9,000 and 10,000 moios (about 216,000 to 240,000 bushels) of corn, and 5,500 moios (132,000 bushels) of wheat. Since that time the importation has been reduced to about 4,500 moios (108,000 bushels) of corn, and 1,500 moios (36,000 bushels) of wheat. Calculating the price of each moio of wheat at $40, and of corn at $30, which is lower than the actual price, we have here an item of compensation amounting to nearly $27,000, which reduces the deficit caused by the loss of the vines to a little more than $100,000. If we add to this the product of the new culture of sugar-cane and other articles, perhaps we shall have reason to doubt the so. much mentioned decadence of Madeira. But whether this is true or not, it is an indisputable fact that the poorer classes, generally, have now a greater abundance, and are in a better condition than formerly."
The statistics above given by the governor bear directly upon our trade with Madeira; for nearly all the grain alluded to came from the United States.
While it is true that a certain class are now in apparently a better condition than formerly, there is, perhaps, a “partial compensation” again in those directly or indirectly thrown out of employment by the destruction of the wine trade. It is true that princely fortunes were made in Madeira, but the fortunate makers lived in princely style, and the more active trade of former days gave employment to large numbers in various ways.
In pursuance of the plan adopted in my last annual report, I have collected what statistics I could under the various points embraced in section 153-'4
1. Trade during the year, compared with former years, exhibits a sliglit de crease in imports, and an increase in exports, as shown in the following:
TABLE No. 1.
Comparative statement showing the value of the imports and exports at the
port of Funchal for the years 1857 to 1862, inclusive.
Comparative statement showing the number of vessels, together with their
tonnage and crews, entered and cleared at the port of Funchal for the years 1857 to 1862, inclusive.
Number of Tonnage. Number of Number of Tonnage. Number of vessels.
An increase in the tonnage will also be noted, a portion of which is due to the fact that steamers destined to run the blockade of our southern ports have made this a port of call on their way out to Nassau and Bermuda.
II. Imports and erports.- In the following tables will be found as full and complete a classification and exhibition of these as could be desired. In referring to it, however, it may be well to note that many of the prices fixed are purely arbitrary. But I have not thought proper to alter the custom-house valuations.
TABLE No. 3.
Table showing the quantity and value of the imports at the port of Funchal for the year 1862; giving also the quantities and values in United States wrights
, measures, and currency, and the sources from which the imports are derived.
TABLE No. 4.
Table showing the quantity and value of the exports at the port of Funchal during the year 1862; giving also the countries to which
export was made, and the quantity and value to each, with totals in United States weights, measures, and currency.
To British colonies.
To all other countries. *
43, 475 94, 285
$5, 630 00 15, 087 60
11, 004 $105, 428 00
8.860 00 25, 774 70
5,812 00 4,352 00
43, 475 95, 191 pounds..
1, 0372, 263 pounds..
56, 784 | 125, 664 pounds.
$5, 630 00
1, 339 00
2, 100 00 35, 681 00 27, 742 00
8, 831 00
46, 190 00
To United States.
To Great Britain.
Names and quantities of
Quantity. Value. Quantity.
Portuguese United Statos weights and weights and measures. measures.
121, 801 90
130, 685 80
20, 775 70
152, 811 00
426, 587 40
* Including for sbips' use.