Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

One Lecture-On the importance of a general diffusion of knowledge in the United States, and the means of its accomplishment-By Professor Daniel Haskell.

One Lecture-On the Progress and Influence of American Steam Navigation-By James H. Lanman, Esq.

Two Lectures—On the Formation of Opinions-By the Rev. Henry W. Bellows.

Two Lectures-On Mexico-On the Influence of Commerce upon Character-By J. L. Hopkins McCracken, Esq.

One Lecture-On the Commerce of the Ancients--By Benjamin D. Silliman, Esq.

One Lecture—The State Debts of the United States, with their Resources-By John Duer, Esq. (This lecture will be free.)

One Lecture-The Reformation; its natural causes, and its influence on civiliza. tion-By Matthew C. Patterson.

One Lecture-By the Hon. William Inglis.

One Lecture-An Essay upon the History and Character of the Aboriginal Inhabit. ants of North America-By J. Prescott Hall, Esq.

One Lecture-By the Rev. Edward Y. Higbee.

One Lecture-On the Merchants of the time of Elizabeth--By Thomas W. Tuck. er, Esq.

Two Lectures-On the Doctrine of Chances.—Mathematical Formula ; Life Annui. ties ; Games of Hazard; Life Insurance, g-c.-By Samuel Ward, Esq.

DONATIONS TO THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION. The Board of Directors of the Mercantile Library Association of New York, take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of the following donations :

Of Booksfrom James F. Auchincloss; George G. Kirg; and from Charles Hoyt, Esq., in three volumes, the “Galarie du Palais Royale, Gravée d'après les Tableaux des differentes ccoles qui la composem; avec un abrégé de la Vie les Peintrez, & une description historique de chaque tableau, par M. l'Abbé de Fontenai. Dediée Monseign. eur le Duc d'Orleans, Premier Prince du Sang. Par J. Couché, graveur de son cabinet. A Paris : 1786." Also, an Oil Painting from the same gentleman.

To the Cabinet.-Of a case of Mineralogical Specimens, from George A. Sackett, Esq., of Sacketts Harbor, through A. G. Zabriskie. Of a box of Minerals, from C. Colden Hoffman. Of a specimen of Iron Ore from Dutchess county, N. Y., from E. C. Bramhall. Of a specimen of Green Marble from North Carolina, from John N. Brenners. Of a large collection of Shells, from George D. Baldwin. Of a Cannon Ball, a revolutionary relic, from J. G. Barker. Of a number of Shells, being a coin in. troduced into the Siamese Empire by foreigners, and current in that country, about seven hundred of which are equal to our penny; also, a small Silver Coin used in that country, together with an original Bust of Dr. Gall.,—all from C. Colden Hoffman, Esq.

Of Statuary." The Graces," from A. E. Silliman; and a superb collossal statue of the Minerva Medica, from the National Academy of Design, accompanied by the fol. lowing letter :To the President, Officers, and Members of the Mercantile Library Association :

GENTLEMEN,We have been deputed by the Council of the National Academy of Design, to present to you, in behalf of the Academy, the statue of the Minerva Medica. The original statue from which it is a cast, is one of the celebrated collection of the Vatican. We request your acceptance of it as a slight but inadequate proof of the friendly feeling which exists in the Academy towards the Mercantile Library Associa. lion, a feeling engendered by years of harmonious intercourse beneath the same roof. Wishing you, gentlemen, continued success in the career you have so well begun,

We remain,
With the highest consideration,
Your obedient servants,

SAM'L F. B. Morse, Committee of

Thomas S. CUMMINGS, ) the Council. New York, Aug. 31st, 1840.

,

HUNT'S

MERCHANTS MAGAZINE.

DECEMBER, 1840.

ART. 1.-COMMERCE OF CHINA.

The vast commercial importance of the Chinese empire, and its mercan. tile relations with the United States, together with its present peculiar posi. tion, induce us to lay before our readers a sketch of its trade and commerce. Independently of the extent of its territory, comprising an area of 1,080,000 square miles, a twelfth part of the habitable globe, and embracing, according to a recent census, a population of 360,000,000, the peculiar character of the people and the constitution of the government, unfold a condition of things which is distinct from that of any other nation upon the earth. The long-tailed inhabitants of that country, it seems, date their origin to a period far beyond that of any other people of which we have record ; and their whole system of policy is colored by the assumption that they have a just title to renown, not only from their antiquity, but the former glory of their empire. It must indeed be admitted that this people, however jealous and vain, in assuming for their country the title of the Celestial Empire, have made important contributions to commerce; and when we consider that according to the estimate of the census which we have given, that allots 180 persons to a square mile, and three acres and a half only to each person, and that the spirit of the country is strongly impressed with a commercial character, it is an empire which must exercise an important bearing upon the commercial interests of the world.

The trade with China, it is well known, is extended to a considerable de. gree with Great Britain and the United States. There seems to be in the people, notwithstanding, a stubborn pride and self-conceit that induces them to prefer their own prescribed habits and occupations, to those of any other people, and to oppose all innovation, or even the introduction of foreigners into their territory, a pains-taking industry and a love of accumulation through mercantile enterprise, which is a distinguishing feature of their character. It is this which has led them to adopt decisive measures in the production of those articles which are furnished to foreigners, and to manage their mer. cantile speculations with considerable tact and shrewdness. Indeed the manufacture of porcelain and of silk, as well as other articles of scarcely

59

VOL. III.-NO. VI.

less importance, has been a source of no small profit to the empire ; and the tea trade, which has been mainly confined to the port of Canton, has fur. nished the most important nations of Europe and the people of this country with that commodity. Our American intercourse with China commenced soon after the revolutionary war; and since that time, our commerce in tea with the Chinese markets, especially from the port of Boston, has been the source of great national convenience, and has laid the foundation of splen. did fortunes to several merchants in that section of the country.*

We propose, therefore, to give our readers a general view of the present state and future prospects of the Chinese trade, taking into our view its commerce with the United States. The legal termination of the East In. dia monopoly took place on the 22d April, 1834; its virtual opening had been long in progress by means of what has been called the country trade between India and China, chiefly through the means of Singapore. This gradual change has been brought about by the cessation, for these few years, of every branch of the East India Company's import trade, except that in tea, and more indirectly by the merchants of the United States, who have not only afiorded funds for facilitating business, but have also, during the last eighteen years, exported manufactures direct from England to a very considerable amount.

The most correct view, at least of the commercial resources of China, will be conveyed to the reader by a detail of its imports and exports, which, therefore, we proceed at once to give, beginning with tea, which is by far the most important of them. It is the leaf of a shrub, the Thea bohea, not unlike a myrtle in its appearance. It is produced in greater or smaller quantity, in almost every province in China, except the most northerly; but the most excellent kinds are confined to a few localities. Until of late years, the whole of the black tea was brought from the province of Fo-kien, and the whole of the green from that of Kiang.nan; but the cultivation of green tea, for exportation, is now extended to Tche-kiang, and of black to Quang. tung The merchants generally begin to arrive in Canton early in October, with the crop of the season ; though, with the exception of the kinds most in demand, teas may be had throughout the year. The ordinary descriptions are thirteen in number; each, however, differing in itself boih in price and quality. They are as follows, taken from the Canton price current of the 14th November, 1833, which may be considered at the height of the

We consider this date preferable to a more recent one, for giving an average of all periods; because, in the height of the last season, there was a very considerable advance upon the usual prices. Teas. Per Pecul. Teas.

Per Pecul,
Bohea,

12 to 15 Taels. Ankoi Souchong, - 21 to 23 Taels.
22 to 28
Hyson, -

46 to 55 Campoi,

22 to 28 Hyson-skin, 27 to 30 Souchong,

22 to 40 Hyson, Young 44 to 48 Caper, .

22 to 25 Gunpowder, 59 to 62 Orange Pekoe, 23 to 25 Twankay, - 28 to 32 Pekoe,

45 to 75

season.

[ocr errors]

Cingo,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* In the compilation of this article, we are indebted to the historical and descriptive account of China, by Murray, Crawford, Gordon, Lynn, Wallace, and Burnett, the London Journal of Commerce, and to an interesting document relative to our trade with China, laid before Congress at its last session.

The value is here estimated in the Chinese money, or rather weight, called the tael, which varies according to the rate of exchange, but, for con. venience, may be taken at about one dollar and forty-five cents; and the weight or pecul is equal to 133} lbs. avoirdupoise. The lowest price of Cingo, therefore, according to the quotation above given, was nearly twenty. four cents per pound. The first eight teas in the above list are black, and the five last green. These two kinds are permanent varieties of a plant of which there is but one species ; all the differences in quality are occasioned by soil, climate, modes of culture or preparation, and the several periods at which the plant is gathered. The finest teas, in reference to the last circumstance, are the produce of the early leaf-buds, and the coarsest of the old and full-grown leaf. Pekoe alone, the highest priced of the black va. riety, has its flavor enhanced by mixing with it a few blossoms of the fra. grani olive, whence it is called white blossom or flowery Pekoe. At the commencement of the present century, the total quantity annually exported from China did not probably exceed thirty million pounds; the consumption of Great Britain and Ireland being short of twenty-five millions. At the termination of the first year of the free trade, there was shipped from Canton into Great Britain and Ireland, upwards of forty-three millions of pounds weight; but it is probable that the quantities exported by the other European nations, and by the United States, were considerably short of their exportations in previous years. Green teas were scarcely cultivated at all until the taste of the European nations stimulated the natives to do so; they now form about one third part of the whole exports; meanwhile, no permanent increase has taken place in the price. These facts show, we think, that the supply is equal to the demand, and that no apprehension need be felt for a rise in China.

Besides the teas exported to Europe and America, a considerable quan. tity is sent to the British possessions in India and Australia, and a much larger to every country in Asia which contains Chinese emigrants, such as Tonquin, Cochin China, Cambodia, Siam, the Philippines, Java, Borneo, and various settlements in the straits of Malacca. The Russians, who are prohibited trading to the Celestial Empire by sea, receive their supply overland, as do all the Tartar nations, who have acquired a great taste for this article. The consumption of the country itself is of course immense. Every district, generally speaking, produces its own supply, though only the finer teas are consumed by the wealthy.

The following table exhibits the imports of tea from China into the United States, annually, from 1821 to 1839 :Quantity-Pounds. Value-Dollars.

Quantity-Pounds. Value-Dollare. 4,973,463 1,320,929 Bro't up, 77,728,109 24,413,557 6,636,705 1,858,962

5,177,557 1,416,045 8,208,895 2,360,350

9,894,181 2,783,488 8,919,210 2,785,683

14,637,486 5,483,088 10,178,972 3,725,675

16,267,852 6,211,028 10,072,898 3,740,415

14,403,458 4,517,775 5,868,828 1,711,185

16,347,344 5,331,486 7,689,305 2,443,002

16,942,122 5,893,202 6,595,033 2,045,645

14,411,337 3,494,363 8,584,799 2,421,711

9,296,679 2,413,283

77,728,108

24,413,557

Total, 117,978,016

37,543,758

From official accounts, published in the London Journal of Commerce, we find that the exports of tea from Canton, from the 1st October, 1838, to 18th April, 1840, wereBohea, pounds, 161,257 Brought forward, · · 14,132,062 Congou,

12,823,202 Twankay, pounds, 2,012,306 Caper, 77,215 Hyson,

795,655 Souchong, 421,682 Hyson Skin,

47,193 Camassan, 19,006 Young Hyson,

331,021 Hung Muey, 63,533 Gunpowder,

419,141 Pekoe, 196,796 Imperial,

187,801 Orange Pekoe,

465,149

14,132,062

Total, 17,925,384 The article next in importance is raw silk. This is raised and mamu. factured in four provinces, viz :-Kiang-nan, Fo-kien, Tche-kiang, and Quang-tung. It is to be observed of this commodity, and, indeed, of most others in the production of which skilful industry is required, that the supply from the provinces beyond the tropic is much superior in quality to what is obtained of those within it. The silks brought to the market of Canton are those of Kiang-nang, or Nan-king, and of Quang-tung only; and the first is generally double the value of the last. There is no article which shows in a manner more remarkable than this the capacity of extended production possessed by China. In the fifteen years ending with 1823–24, the average exports by the East India Company were barely 94,000 pounds, and in the last-named year they were short of 80,000 pounds,- amounts which were supposed to express the whole disposable products of the empire. In 1834, however, the trade having been above ten years in private hands, and the article brought to Europe through the medium of Singapore, the exports rose to 1,322,666 pounds, being an increase of between sixteen and seventeen fold. This augmentation in the export has produced no sensible advance in the Chinese price of the article. The quantities here stated refer only to the exports to England ; but these form by far the most considerable part. The next article, if rated according to its importance, is sugar, which is of two descriptions, clayed or soft, and sugar candy; this last being the nearest approach to the refined commodity yet made by the nations of the east. The only manufactures for foreign trade are in the two provinces of Quang-tung and Fo-kien ; and, in so far as fine sugar is concerned, the produce of the former is fully seventy-five per cent better than that of the latter. In 1831 the total quantity exported to Great Britain was 8036 tons, viz: of clayed sugar 5,392, and of candy 2,644. The value of the first being $496,097 77, and of the second $350,546 66 ; of both $846,644 44. In the same year there was exported to the United States 241,303 pounds of sugar, valued at $16,056, and only 93 pounds of candy, valued at $15; and in 1837 the amount exported to the United States was 2,124,433 lbs., valued at $120,337. In former times, the shipping of this production was confined to a small quantity sent to the western coast of India, and it is only within the last twenty years that it has been carried to Europe

Nan-king still continues to be exported in large quantities; and in point of strength, durability, and essential cheapness, is unrivalled by any of the cotton fabrics of Europe, an advantage which it probably owes, in a good measure, to the excellence of the raw material. The best is the produce

« AnteriorContinuar »