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COMMERCIAL REPORT, December 12th, 1821.
Sugar.The market for sugar has improved a little since our last. The consumption goes on, rather increased than diminished. As the whole supplies for the year are now at market, with the certain prospect of a reduced crop in Jamaica, and a late crop on the Leeward Islands, for 1822, and that in consequence thereof no great supply of sugar can reach Britain before next summer, there is every prospect of a considerable advance towards the spring. The holders both of raw and refined sugars are more firm, and less anxious to bring their produce to market.
Coffee. The coffee market continues very languid, and the prices to decline, nor is it likely that there can be any alteration in the coffee market till the spring purchases for the continental markets take place, which will be next month and February. The great quantity of this article, however, which is now introduced into the continent from the colonial possessions of foreign powers, both in the western and from the eastern world, and also from a trade with powerful countries in the latter, carried on by the Americans and others, render any increase of the exportation of coffee from this country, and consequently any material improvement in the prices, an event by no means probable.
Corn.The grain market every where continues dull, and the prices on the decline. Immense speculations in grain were entered into upon the continent of Europe, and in the United States, and in British North America, upon the unfavourable appearances of he harvest in England. On these speculations, very large sums of money must be lost, and we fear chiefly on British account. From every quarter of the world we hear of the same complaints of the cheapness of agricultural produce, and consequent agricultural distress.
Rum. The rum market has rather been more steady of late. The price is low, that scarcely any thing can sink to a lower degree. Brandy, after a considerable rise, renains stationary; and in Geneva there is no alteration. The immense quantities of this article which is daily smuggled into this country, escaping detection, and the very large quantities that is detected and daily sold at revenue sales, renders all attempts at impor ation by the regular merchant hopeless and ruinous. We are not aware of any alteraion in the value of other mercantile commodities, so as to require observation.
The cotton market is dull, but the consumption is undiminished. The quantity imported is fully equal to the demand. We subjoin a short abstract of the cotton trade of he world, which may not be uninteresting to our readers.
COTTON-WOOL AND FOREIGN TRADE.
One of the most valuable articles of commerce in the eastern world is cotton. Indeed his article ranks amongst the foremost in the commerce of other parts of the world. The quantity raised and consumed is exceedingly great, and the value of the articles ino which it is manufactured beyond what we can accurately calculate. The consumpion of the following countries may serve to give us a general idea of the quantity of the article annually produced and brought to market. The average weight of the bales may be taken at 300fb.-a pecul is 125t.
Consumption of Cotton, 1819-20.
exclusive of what is consumed in China, the produce of that country-what is consumed and produced in the Levant, and in Africa, in the interior parts of which a very considerable quantity is produced, manufactured, and worn by the natives.
The more we consider the evidence taken before the legislature regarding the foreign trade of this country, the more we are gratified at the commercial information therein given, and the more the country is indebted to the present administration for the very proper manner in which they have taken up and investigated this business. The data hey have obtained cannot fail to lead to the most important and beneficial regulations, and to secure the immediate extension and future prosperity of our trade.
To the Eastern world we ought to look for the accomplishment of our hopes and wishes on this head. The new world can only be rendered greatly serviceable when connected with the trade to China, India and the Indian Archipelago. The population
in those parts which covet or would covet our manufactures, as soon as they become ac quainted with them, exceeds 400 millions-nay, a greater number, for, we may say, all Asia and its Isles eagerly look after them. The field, therefore, is immense, and the returns are not only articles of the most valuable description, but such as our manufac tures particularly require.
In the East Indies, the demand for and sale of our cotton manufactures continue to increase. To the opening of that trade is to be attributed the knowledge which the nations have acquired of them. It is only within the last three years that these have become known in China, where they were received from the overstocked markets of India. The moment they arrived they were readily sold at "a considerable profit-a profit of importance." Cochin China also is a country amazingly populous, and which, being of the same manners, have the same wants as the Chinese. At present, however, it is lit tle known, and must continue so to Great Britain, because only small vessels of 150 to 200 tons can approach the coasts with safety, until these become better known. The East India Company's ships are from 1000 to 1400 tons burthen, and no other British merchant ships are allowed to approach these parts.
The Malay trade, a name given by the Americans to all the trade carried on in the seas east of India, is well known to be very lucrative. These countries produce in abundance the raw materials used in our manufactures, such as silk and cotton, a consider. able quantity of which is also consumed in their internal manufactures. For the European and American markets, Cochin China produces cotton, raw silk, gold, &c. and the Eastern Isles supply coffee, pepper, rice, various spices, sugar, tortoise shell, mother of pearl, various gums, ivory, camphor, cassia, cinnamon, musk, some gold, &c. Amongst the articles chiefly wanted in those parts, and which we could readily supply, are, iron, (there is none in the Indian seas,) crystal, glass ware, carriages, &c. From their cheapness, the British manufactures would supersede those of China in all the Eastern world. The Chinese carry on an extensive trade with those parts. Of the extent thereof some idea may be formed, when we are told that there are 40,000 Chinese, from the maritime provinces of that Empire, resident in Java, all of whom are engaged in mercantile affairs.
The whole trade of China is in the hands of the Hong Merchants. This is a body consisting of ten merchants, with powers and privileges similar to our East India Com. pany. Without their advice the Chinese Government does nothing in mercantile con Their support might easily be obtained. Interest would prompt them. Our trade in various branches of the cotton and woollen manufactures might be greatly extended in China, because, by means of water conveyance so general throughout that Empire, all these articles could be carried into the interior and northern Provinces, where they are much sought after, at two-thirds less expence than they can be obtained through Russia. Thus, at Kiatshka, what cost here 2s. or 2s. 2d. is there sold for 8s. or 9s. The same could be landed at Canton for 3s.
Experience has shewn that gold and silver may be too dearly bought, and these me tals are not the most valuable articles in course of trade. In every country these bear a high value. Bartering one commodity for another, particularly the manufactured for the raw material, will, in the present state of commercial relations with the eastern-we may say with every quarter of the world-be found the most profitable and eligible exchange. Thus, in the fur trade carried on by the Americans from the north-west coast to Canton, to dispose of these furs for specie, and to barter them for Chinese produce, according to the evidence of Mr Ellice, makes a difference in China of 25 per cent in favour of the latter mode, besides the profit which would be obtained upon those Chinese articles in the European or American market.
It is to this trade by barter, that we look for the greatest extention of our commerce in all those parts of the world, and which can only render South America, particularly Lima and Chili, advantageous thereto. Thus, a vessel going round Cape Horn may adapt all or part of her cargo to the latter markets, from whence she obtains in return for so much of her cargo as is disposed of, copper and specie, abundant in these places, and the first of which articles is particularly valuable in the Indian and Chinese mar kets. On specie the profit is great, even from the difference of exchange. In Chili, the dollar is 4s. to 4s. 6d., but in Calcutta, by the exchange, it is worth 5s. 6d. With this specie cargoes can be bought in Canton and in India to suit the British, European, and American markets,-nay, even such cargoes as will suit Chili and Lima, should the vessel return by these places, though certainly the least profitable route. Besides a great trade, partly in specie and partly in barter, (the latter the greatest) can be, and is, carried on by vessels going from South America to Calcutta, with all the numerous islands which lie betwixt these places. From Buenos Ayres and Chili alone, the capital already an nually employed in this trade to the eastern world, is about £300,000, exclusive of the proceeds arising from the sales of British goods in the former places, and which may be, and are, employed in the same trade. The trade from Peru will become much more valuable than that from either, or from both of the viceroyalties mentioned.
In this manner British commerce can be, is, and will be, opened up and extended by ur merchant-ships rounding the world. This, when once the trade is fairly establish d, and the winds and seasons known and attended to, may be accomplished in 15 or 8 months. At present, however, no British ship of less burthen than 350 tons can go nto this trade, except to India direct, without a license from the Board of Control, or he East India Company. Till such restrictions are completely removed, the indepenlence of South America, particularly the S.W. coasts thereof, can be of little advantage o our trade, compared to what may be carried on when the East is laid open. The Cast India Company take no share, and wish to take no share, or have any concern with he trade we have been contemplating. The absurdity, therefore, by unwise regulations, f forcing this trade out of British into foreign hands is self-evident. Nothing can shew he absurdity of those regulations, and the loss which the country sustains by them, in a tronger point of view than the following fact, drawn from the evidence of Captain 'owell, of the Eliza, a vessel formerly employed as a Berwick smack. This vessel rent from Rio de Janiero to New South Shetland, where she arrived on the 29th Noember, and left it on the 7th January following, during which period the crew caught 8,000 seals. The skins were brought to the London market, as the master was forced 2 do, where they were sold for 4s. 9d. each skin, while American schooners, which were fishing alongside, carried their seal-skins to Canton, where they brought 4 dollars ach in barter, and from their proceeds a cargo would be obtained, which, in America, or in Europe, would yield perhaps 100 per cent. additional profit. Volumes written pon this subject could not better shew the necessity of abolishing the restrictions which etter British subjects and British capital in all those parts of the world, than the bare mention of this single fact.
Wheat, 51s. 11d.-Barley, 24s. 2d.-Oats, 18s. 5d.-Rye, 23s. 7d.—Beans, 26s. 4d.-Pease, 28s. 10d. Weekly Price of Stocks, from 1st to 22d November, 1821.
per cent. navy annannann idia stock,.
xchequer bills,~~~~~~ onsols for acc. ...........................
rench 5 per cents.
19 90fr. 25c.
mer. 7 per cent.