Imatges de pÓgina

Remarks on the Trade of Brazil. — The imports into Brazil, which are 'chiefly from Great Britain, consist principally of our cottons, woollens, linen, iron and steel, hardware, butter, and other articles, announting in all, in ordinary years, as seen above, to about 2,500,0001. It is frequently, no doubt, said that our exports to Brazil amount to double that sum, or to more than 5,000,0001. But there is no room or ground for any such statement. The return is not derived from Brazil, but from our own Customhouse; and there is no reason why the merchants should undervalue the exports to Brazil more than to any other country.

The commercial policy of Brazil has, on the whole, been characterised by considerable liberality. The duties on imports and exports have been mostly moderate, and have been imposed more for the sake of revenue than of protection. In October, 1847, the legislature of Brazil issued a decree, imposing 33 per cent. higher duties on the ships and produce of those nations which did not admit the ships and produce of Brazil into their ports on a fair footing of reciprocity. This decree was, in part, provoked by our policy in regard to the slave-trade, and was in avowed retaliation of the high discriminating duties we had imposed on Brazilian and other slave-grown sugar. But the modified views of the Brazilian government in regard to the slave-trade, and the admission of slave-grown sugars into our markets under reasonable duties, which are to be equalised with those on British colonial sugars in 1854, occasioned, in 1849, the revocation of the discriminating duties referred to. A provincial duty of 15 per cent., imposed in some of the provinces on hides and other articles, has also been repealed.

Great Britain enjoys the largest share of the trade of Brazil; and that share will, it is probable, be a good deal increased, when the duties on foreign and colonial sugars are equalised in 1854. We shortly stated in our last edition the mischievous consequences to our trade of the discriminating duty on slave-grown sugar, and showed that while it obstructed our intercourse with slave-holding states, it did not hinder them from importing slaves, or lessen the culture of sugar and other colonial staples by their instrumentality. The abolition of the discriminating duty on foreign coffee in the course of the preserit year (1851) has already occasioned a considerable increase in the imports of Brazilian coffee.

The commerce of Brazil has sustained great injury from the wretched state of the currency and of the finances; the value of the former, which consists almost wholly of paper, being excessively depreciated and liable to extreme fiuctuations, and the revenue being inadequate to meet the expenditure. Latterly, bowever, vigorous efforts have been made to increase the revenue; and it is hoped that in the event of the finances being placed on a better footing, measures may also be taken to improve the currency. We subjoin

An Account of the Debt, &c., of the Empire in 185). Foreign debt

£6,187,000 sterling. Loral fund d debt 62,370,000.00 reis, at exchange 297. : Treasury bills afoat, about 2,000,000,000 reis, at exchange 29d.

240,000 Estimated amount of notes in circulation (paper money) throughout the empire, 56,000,000,000 reis


£20,667,000 or'in round numbers the debts and liabilities of Brazil at the present time may be stated at 20,500,0001. sterling. The foreign capital in the empire is computed to be about 10,000,0001. sterling.

“ The quantity of precious stones shipped is now very considerable. In most cases they are sent to a losing market; being, in fact, more valuable in Brazil than in London or Paris. Aquainarines ---(see BERYL) — of a very large size have been found. In January, 1811, one was found in the Riberao das Americanas, near the diamond district, which weighed 15 lbs.; and in the same place, in the October following, one was discovered weighing 4 lbs. Topazes of fine quality, but seldom large, amethysts, and chrysolites, are also articles of exportation ; and, at times, some fine specimens of these gems are to be met with in the jewellers' shops.

“ Correctly speaking, there are no trading companies in Rio de Janeiro; there is a society for efiecting maritime assurances, but no other.

" The Bank of Brazil has had very extensive concessions made in its favour, and ought to be in me flourishing state. It has power of issuing potes; and all disputed movies and property of the deceased and ab ont ( mortes e auzentes) must be placed in its hands, and 2 per cent. per annun charged for the care and trouble. This, in addition to the interest which might be obtained for the deposit would alone in an active mercantile country, forın no inconsiderable revenue. Specie is prohibited from being carried coast wise ; merchants who wish to deposit cash in one of the northern ports, where the largest purchases. are made, are therefore forced to take hand bilis, and pay a premium for them, varying from 3 to 5 per

" Seme enormous capitals have been amassed ; but generally the speculations of the native merchants are conducted on a very limited scale.

* The legal rate of interest is 6 per cent. ; but money can seldom be obtained under 12." -(Caldcieugh's Travels in South America, vol. I. pp. 5359.)

ROADS, pathways formed through the country with more or less art and care, for facilitating the transit of individuals, carriages, &c. between different places. They are



of every variety of form — from rude, narrow, rugged, and unformed paths, carried over mountains, interrupted by every petty rivulet, and almost impracticable to any but foot passengers, to smooth, broad, and level ways, formed of solid materials, winding round or cut through mountains, and carried over swamps and rivers at an iminense expense, and admitting of the easy passage of carriages and of all sorts of goods.

The laying out of improved roads, and their construction, forms an important part of what is denominated the science of civil engineering. But as it would be quite foreign to our purpose to enter into any details as to the formation of roads, we shall satisfy ourselves with laying before the reader the following statements as to their importance in a commercial point of view.

Importance and Utility of improved Roads. - Next to the introduction of money, and weights and measures, the formation of good roads and bridges gives the greatest faci. lity to commerce, and contributes more powerfully, perhaps, than any thing else to the progress of improvement. They have been denominated national veins and arteries; and the latter are not more indispensable to the existence of individuals, than improved communications are to a healthy state of the public economy. It were vain to attempt to point out in detail the various advantages derived from the easy means of communication that exist in Great Britain. There is not a single district that is not indebted to others for a large part of its supplies, even of some of the bulkiest commodities. Besides the coals, metals, minerals, timber, corn, &c. conveyed from one part of the empire to another by sea, immense quantities are conveyed from place to place in the interior, by roads and canals; and every improvement effected in the means of conveyance has obviously the same effect upon the cost of commodities that have to be conveyed, as an improvement in the methods by which they are raised or manufactured.

Wherever the means of internal communication are deficient in a country, the inhabitants must unavoidably disperse themselves over the surface. Cities were originally founded by individuals congregating more, perhaps, for the sake of mutual defence and protection, than for any other cause. But in countries where good government is established, and property is secure, men resort to cities only from a sense of the advantages they afford. The scale on which business is conducted in them presents facilities that cannot be elsewhere afforded for making a fortune; and the extent to which the subdivision of employments is carried opens a field for the exercise of all sorts of talent : at the same time that it improves and perfects all sorts of arts, whether subservient to industrious or scientific pursuits, or to those of pleasure and dissipation. It is this that attracts the aspiring, the industrious, the gay, and the profligate, to cities, – that fills them with the best and the worst part of the species. The competition that takes place in a great town, the excitement that is constantly kept up, the collision of so many minds brought into immediate contact, and all endeavouring to outstrip each other in their respective departments, developes all the resources of the human mind, and renders a great city a perpetually radiating focus of intelligence and invention. There are, however, considerable clogs upon the continued increase of cities. The food and fuel made use of by the inhabitants, and the raw products on which their industry is to be exerted, must all come from the country; and according as the size of a city increases, the distances from which its supplies have to be brought become so much the greater, that ultimately the cost of their conveyance may be so great as to balance or exceed the peculiar advantages resulting from a residence in town. Hence the impossibility of a large or even a considerable city existing any where without possessing extensive means of communication either with the surrounding country, or with other countries; and hence, too, the explanation of the apparently singular fact, of almost all large cities having been founded on or near the sea, or a navigable river. Had London been an inland town, 50 miles from the shore, it is abundantly certaip that she could not have attained to one third part her present size ; but the facilities afforded, by her admirable situation on the Thames, for the importation of all sorts of produce from abroad, as well as from other parts of England, will enable her, should her commerce continue to prosper, to add to her colossal magnitude for centuries to come.

But all towns cannot be founded on the sea coast, or the banks of navigable rivers : and the growth of those in inland situations must, in all cases, depend on their means of communicating with the surrounding country. Without our improved roads, the great inland manufacturing towns with which England is studded, such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bolton, Preston, &c., could not exist. They enable the inhabitants to obtain the rude products of the soil and the mines almost as cheap as if they lived in country villages. There is thus nothing, or next to nothing, to detract from the advantages which the inventive and enterprising artisan may expect to realise from resorting to those great hives of industry. And, owing to the gigantic scale on which all sorts of industry are conducted in them, the scope afforded for the employment of the most powerful machines, and the appropriation of particular sets of workmen to

every separate process, however minute, manufacturing industry is carried to a degree of perfection that almost exceeds belief.

The influence that the growth of a large town has upon agriculture is great and striking. “In the neighbourhood," says Paley, “ of trading towns, and in those distriets which carry on a communication with the markets of trading towns, the husbandinen are busy and skilful, the peasantry laborious; the land is managed to the best advantage, and double the quantity of corn or herbage (articles which are ultimately converted into human provision ) raised from it, of what the same soil yields in remoter and more neglected parts of the country. Wherever a thriving manufactory finds ineans to establish itself, a new vegetation springs up around it. I believe it is true, that agriculture never arrives at any considerable, much less at its highest, degree of perfection, when it is not connected with trade; that is, when the demand for the produce is not increased by the consumption of trading cities." -- (Moral Philosophy, book vi. c. 11.)

But the fact of their being mainly conducive to the growth of cities, is not the only advantage which improved roads confer upon agriculture. Without their aid it would be impossible to carry to distant places sufficient supplies of such bulky and heavy articles as lime, marl, shells, and other manures necessary to give luxuriance to the crops of rich soils, and to render those that are poor productive. Not only, too, would inferior roads lessen the market for farm produce, and consequently the quantity raised, but a larger proportional number of horses or other cattle would be required to convey the diminished produce to market. It is plain, therefore, that good roads are both directly and indirectly a prime source of agricultural improvement; directly, by increasing the quantity and reducing the cost of manure, and by increasing the quantity and reducing the cost of conveying farm produce to market; and indirectly, by providing for the growth and indefinite extension of cities and towns, that is, of the markets for agricultural produce.

Increased speed of conveyance is one of the principal advantages that have resulted from the formation of good roads, the invention of steam packets, &c. Suppose that it takes 2 days to travel by an uneven, ill-made road between any 2 places; and that, by improving the road, the journey may be accomplished in 1 day; the effect is the same as if the distance were reduced j; and there is not only a great saving of time to travellers, but also a great saving of cost from the more speedy conveyance of commodities. This latter is a point of much more importance than is commonly supposed. It is not possible to forın any correct estimate of the value of the products that are constantly in the act of being carried from place to place in Great Britain and Ireland. It is certain, however, that it is very great; and every additional facility of conveyance, by bringing such products more rapidly to their destination, and enabling them to be sooner applied to the purposes for which they are intended, renders large quantities of capital available for industrious purposes, that would otherwise be locked up.

Mode of defraying Costs of Roads. —- Roads of one sort or other must, of course, exist in every country emerged from barbarism, -- but in England, the statute of the 28th of Philip and Mary, which is still in force, is the first legislative enactment in which a regular provision was made for the repair of the roads. The preamble to this statute declares, that the roads were tedious and noisome to travel on, and dangerous to passengers and carriages: and therefore it enacts, that in every parish 2 surveyors of the high ways shall be annually chosen, and the inhabitants of all parishes obliged, according to their respective ability, to provide labourers, carriages, tools, &c. for four days each year, to work upon the roads, under the direction of the surveyors. This system, though in many respects exceedingly defective, was at the time justly considered a great improve. ment, and answered pretty well till the reign of Charles II., when, owing to the increase of carriages, particularly about London, it became necessary to adopt more efficient measures for the formation and repair of roads; and the plan of imposing tolls upon those who made use of them began then to be adopted. But this system was not carried into full effect, and placed upon a solid footing, till about 1767, when it was extended to the great roads to all parts of the country; the contributions of labour under the act of Philip and Mary being then appropriated entirely to the cross or country roads. A money payment is now, however, very frequently made, in the case of the latter, instead of a contribution in labour.

When the plan for extending turnpike roads from the metropolis to distant parts of the country was in agitation, the counties in the neighbourhood of London petitioned parliament against it, alleging that the remoter counties would be able, from the comparative cheapness of labour in them, to sell their produce in London at a lower rate than they could do; and that their rents would be reduced, and cultivation ruined, by the measure! Luckily this interested opposition proved ineffectual ; and instead of being injurious to the counties adjoining the metropolis, the improvement of the roads has been quite as beneficial to them as to those at a distance, inasmuch as, hy providing for the indefinite extension of the city, it has rendered it a far better market for their pecu

liar productions, than it would have been had its growth been checked; which must have been the case long ago, had the improvements in question not been made.

The plan of making and repairing roads by contributions of labour is not peculiar to England, but was at one period general all over Europe. By an act of the Scotch parliament, passed in 1669, all persons engaged in husbandry were obliged to labour 6 days each year, before or after harvest, upon the public roads: the farmers and landlords being, at the same time, obliged to furnish horses, carts, &c. according to the extent of land occupied by them. The inconveniences of such a system are many and obvious. Those who get no pay for their work, and who perform it against their will, waste their time and industry; and there is, besides, a great loss incurred by the interruption of the regular pursuits of the labourer. A sense of these disadvantages led, in the early part of the reign of George III., to a commutation of the labour contribution for money tax on land, rated according to its valuation in the cess books. This measure has been productive of the best effects. Previously to its taking place, the roads, even in the best cultivated districts of Scotland, were in the worst possible state, whereas they are now about the very best in Europe.

A similar system has been followed on the Continent. When Turgot entered on his administration, he sent a circular letter to the road surveyors and engineers of the different provinces of France, desiring them to transmit estimates, framed on the most liberal scale, of the sums of money for which the usual repairs might be made on the old roads, and the ordinary extent of new ones constructed. The average of the estimates showed that a money contribution of about 10,000,000 livres a year would suffice for these objects; whereas Turgot showed, that the execution of these repairs and constructions, by contributions of forced labour, or corvées, cost not less than 40,000,000 livres ! - (Art. Taxation, Ency. Brit.)

There is still, however, a great deal of labour performed on the cross and country roads of England under the system established by the act of Philip and Mary, Its continuance is most probably to be ascribed to the want of any ready means for its commutation.

It is the duty of government to furnish assistance towards the formation of roads and bridges in parts of the country where they are necessary, and where the funds required for their formation cannot otherwise be obtained. But it is in such cases extremely desirable, in order to prevent government from being deceived by interested representations, that those more immediately concerned in the undertaking should be bound to contribute a considerable portion of its expense. This has been done in the case of the Highland roads. Down to a very recent period, large tracts in the Highlands were quite inaccessible, and were, consequently, in a great measure shut out from all improvement ; while the rugged nature of the country and the poverty of the inhabitants rendered any attempt to construct improved roads an undertaking beyond their means. Under these circumstances, government came forward and engaged to advance the expense of making roads and bridges in certain districts, on condition that the landlords and others interested should advance the other , and that the work should be executed under the direction of parliamentary commissioners and engineers. This arrangement has been highly beneficial. Through its means above 600 miles of excellent roads have been constructed ; and, in consequence of the easy means of communication they afford, a spirit of improvement has been excited even in the wildest and least frequented districts.

Dr. Smith seems to have inclined to the opinion, that the roads of a country would be better attended to, and more economically managed, were they placed under the control of government, than when they are left to be planned and superintended by private individuals. But this opinion does not seem to rest on any good foundation. It is, perhaps, true that a few of the great roads between the principal towns of a country might be better laid out by government surveyors, than by surveyors appointed by the gentlemen of the different counties through which they pass. But these great roads bear but a very small proportion to the total extent of cross and other roads with which every country either is, or should be, intersected ; and, besides, it is abundantly certain, that when the formation of the great roads is left, as in Great Britain, to the care of those who, either by themselves or their tenants, have to defray the greater part of the expense of their construction and repair, they will be managed, if not with greater skill, at least with far more economy, than if they were intrusted to the agents of government. M. Dupin has set this matter in the clearest point of view, in his remarks on the administration of the roads in France and England. In the former they are entirely under the control of government; and the consequence is, that while there is a useless expenditure upon a few great roads, the cross roads are almost entirely neglected, and the facilities of internal intercourse are incomparably inferior to ours.

Sir Henry Parnell, who published the best treatise on road-making in the English language, while he approves of the system of local trusts, proposes that measures should

be taken for increasing the responsibility of the trustees, and that every trust should be obliged to submit its accounts to the inspection of some public board. We have no doubt that this plan would be in several respects advantageous. Perhaps, however, the object in view, in making accounts be submitted to a public board, might be attained by the erection of local tribunals for their inspection. We should be extremely jealous of any plan, how advantageous soever in other respects, that might lead to the employment of govern'nent surveyors generally in the laying out of roads, or to any material abridgment of the powers of the private trusts.

Length of Roads, Cost, &e. The total length of the different paved streets and turi pike roads in England and Wales amounts to about 20,000 miles. The expenditure by the trustees, on account of these roads, in 1841, amounted to 1,551,3361. ; the revenue for the same year being 1,574,518h : of the total expenditure, 302,1821. went to defray interest of debt. — (Parl, Paper No. 580. Sess. 1843.) The length of the various cross roads and other highways, exclusive of turnpikes, is estimated at about 95,000 miles.

Tolls. -- In fixing the rate of tolls, great care should be taken to keep them as low as possible. When they are either too much multiplied, or too high, they have a very pernicious infivenee. They then operate as a most oppressive and unequal tax on commerce; and obstruct that intercourse they are intended to promote. The same remark is applicable to all sorts of dock and harbour dues, light-house dues, &c. When confined within due bounds, they cannot justly be objected to; for nothing can be fairer than that those who benefit by such increased facilities and security in the prosecution of their business should pay for them. But whenever they exceed the proper limits, they tempt the navigator to resort to ports where the charges are lower, and to direct his course through more insecure but less costly channels.

Improvement of Roads. — It is not easy for those accustomed to travel along the ginooth and level roads by which every part of this country is now intersected, to form any accurate idea of the difficulties the traveller had to encounter a century ago. Roads were then bardly formed; and, in summer, not unfrequently consisted of the bottoms of rivulets. Down to the middle of last century, most part of the goods conveyed from place to place in Scotland, at least where the distances were not very great, were carried, not by carts or wagons, but on horseback. Oatmeal, coals, turf, and even straw and hay, were conveyed in this way! At that period, and for long previously, singlehorse traffichers (cadgers) regularly plied between different places, supplying the inhabitants with such articles as were then most in demand, as salt, fish, poultry, eggs, earthenware, &c. : these were usually conveyed in sacks or baskets, suspended one on each side the horse. But in carrying goods between distant places, it was necessary to employ a cart, as all that a horse could carry on his back was not sufficient to detray the cost of a long journey. The time that the carriers (for such was the name given to those that used carts) usually required to perform their journeys seems now almost ineredible. The common carrier from Selkirk to Edinburgh, thirty-eight miles distant, required a fortnight for his journey between the two places, going and returning! The road originally was among the most perilous in the whole country; a considerable extent of it lay in the bottom of that district called Gala-water, from the name of the principal stream, the channel of the water being, when not flooded, the track chosen as the most level, and easiest to travel in!

Even between the largest cities, the means of travelling were but little superior. In 1678, an agreement was made to run a coach between Edinburgh and Glasgow, a distance of 44 miles, which was to be drawn by six horses, and to perform the journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back again in six days. Even so late as the middle of last century, it took 1 day for the stage coach to travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow, a journey which is now accoinplished in 4 or 5 hours.

So late as 1763, there was but one stage coach from Edinburgh to London, and it set out only once a month, taking from 12 to 14 days to perforin the journey. Previo sly to the late opening of the railway, by which they have been in a great measure superseded, there were, exclusive of steam packets, smacks, &c., 3 or 4 coaches which set out each day from Edinburgh for London, and conversely, performing the journey in from 45 to 48 hours. ---( Robertson's Rural Recol. pp. 39--44.)

The effects of this extraordinary improvement in the means of travelling, especially since the introduction of railways, have been as striking on the manners as on the industry of all classes. The remark of Smith, that “man is the least transportable species of luggage,” is no longer true as applied to Great Britain. During spring, the metropolis is crowded with visiters of all ranks and orders from the remotest provinces; and during summer and autumn vast numbers of the citizens are spread over the country, Hence it is, that manners, as well as prices, are reduced nearly to the same standard. A respectable family in Penzance or Inverness live very much in the same way as a respectable family in London. Peculiarities of all sorts have disappeared ; every thing

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