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government against foreign artificers and traders, has tended to prevent their settling in the country, and engaging in any considerable undertaking, other than the mines; and the depressed state of the latter, which have always furnished the principal article of export, has tended still further to depress and paralyse commerce. The roads, too, instead of being improved, have been suffered to fall into a state of almost irreparable decay. In this respect, the following extract from one of the letters of M. Chevalier is decisive. “The splendid road which, during the domination of the Spaniards, was constructed across deserts and precipices, by the merchants of Vera Cruz, to the summit of the upper country, is a melancholy instance of the carelessness with which the public interests of the country are directed. During the war of independence, this road was cut up in various points; and, down to this day, the enfranchised Mexicans have not replaced a single stone, nor filled up a single trench, nor even cut down one of the trees, which, in the absence of any considerable traffic, and under the influence of a tropical sun, are rapidly growing up to a magnificent size in the very middle of the road. In the upper country nothing would be more easy than to open noble means of communication. The soil is naturally level : and basaltic rocks, particularly adapted for the construction of roads, are found in great abundance. But even where there are roads, the Mexicans make little use of them. They carry to a yet more extravagant length the inconceivable predilection of the Spanish race in favour of transporting their goods on the backs of animals. You expect to meet with carts and waggons : no such thing ; every thing is conveyed on the backs of mules or Indians. Troops of little consumptive donkeys bring into the city, in parcels pot much bigger than a man's two fists, the charcoal required for the culinary operations of the inhabitants. The price of every bulky article is thus increased to an enormous degree. The interior districts are as inaccessible as if they were cut off by an enemy's army, and famine frequently ensues.”
In consequence of this wretched state of the roads, of the insecurity consequent to the prevalence of revolutions, and the torpor and indolence of the inhabitants (occasioned partly and principally by physical, but partly, also, by moral causes), industry of all kinds is at an extremely low ebb; and the commerce of the republic is far from being commensurate either with her population, or the number and value of her exportable products.
The following table furnishes an official account of the vessels entering the ports of Vera Cruz, Tampico, San Blas, and Mazatlan during the year 1838, with the invoice value of their cargoes, &c
6 5 5
1,453 1,110 2,207
318 715 ?
16,876 1.672,621 The above statement, though not complete, shows the comparative trade of different countries with Mexico, and proves that about half her imports come from Great Britain, which also takes off about 5-6ths of her exports, bullion, the chief article, amounting to about 17,000,000 doll.
For a considerable period after the town of Vera Cruz had thrown off the Spanish yoke, the castle of St. Juan d'Ulloa continued in possession of the Spaniards. During this interval, the commerce of Vera Cruz was almost entirely transferred to the port of Alvarado, 12 leagues to the south-east. Alvarado is built upon the left bank of a river of the same name. The bar at the mouth of the river, about 1ļ mile below the town, renders it inaccessible for vessels drawing above 10 or 12 feet water. Large ships are obliged to anchor in the roads, where they are exposed to all the violence of the north winds, loading and unloading by means of lighters. Alvarado is supposed, but probably without much foundation, to be a little healthier than Vera Cruz. The trade has now mostly reverted to its old channel.
But within these few years, Tampico has risen to considerable importance as a commercial sea-port. It is situated about 60 leagues N. N. W. of Vera Cruz, in lat. 20° 15' 30" N., lon. 97° 52' W., being about 104 leagues from Mexico. Hitherto it is said to have been free from fever. The shifting of the bar at the mouth of the river, and the shallowness of the water on it, which is sometimes under 8, and rarely above 15 feet, are serious obstacles to the growth of the port. Vessels coming in sight are boarded by pilots, who conduct them, provided they do not draw too much water, over the bar. Those that cannot enter the port load and unload by means of lighters ; moor. ing so that they may get readily to sea in the event of a gale coming on from the north.
Exports and Imports. — The precious metals have always formed the principal article of export from Mexico. During the 10 years ending with 1801, the average annual produce of the Mexican mines amounted, according to M. Humboldt, to 23,000,000 dollars -- (Nouvelle Espagne, iv. 137.); and in 1805 the produce was 27,165,888 dol. lars. — (Id. iv. 83.) But during the revolutionary war, the old Spanish capitalists, to whom most of the mines belonged, being proscribed, emigrated with all the property they could scrape together: and this withdrawal of capital from the mines, added to the injury several of them sustained by the destruction of their works during the contest, the interruption of all regular pursuits which it occasioned, and the insecurity and anarchy that afterwards prevailed, caused an extraordinary falling off in the produce of the mines. Within these few years, however, a considerable improvement has taken place. The efforts, and the lavish expenditure, of a few of the companies formed in this country for working the mines, have been so far successful, that some of them have been got again into good order, and a large increase of produce may be fairly anticipated, provided they are permitted to prosecute their operations without molestation. But, as we have elsewhere stated (see antè, p. 831.), some of the parties who sold or leased the mines began to put forward claims never heard of before, the moment they perceived that there was a reasonable prospect of the companies succeeding; and in some instances they have not scrupled to enforce their claims by violence! It is to be hoped that the Mexican government will exert itself to repress these outrages. If it have power to put down, and yet wink at or tolerate such disgraceful proceedings, it will make itself responsible for the consequences; and will merit chastisement as well as contempt.
The total quantity of gold and silver coined in the different Mexican mints in 1840 and 1841 was, in 1840, 13,134,610 dollars ; in 1841, 13,587,805 dollars : to which may be added about 4,000,000 dollars a year for the gold and silver raised and exported without being brought to the mints to be recoined. Hence the exports of the precious metals from Mexico may at present be estimated at from 17,000,000 to 18,000,000 doll. a.year.
Besides the precious metals, cochincal, flour, indigo, provisions, leather, sarsaparilla, vanilla, jalap, soap, logwood, and pimento are the principal articles exported from Vera Cruz,
The imports consist principally of cotton, woollen, linen, and silk goods, paper, brandy, quicksilver, iron, steel, wine, wax, &c.
According to Humboldt, the imports at Vera Cruz, before the revolutionary struggles, might be estimated, at an average, at about 15,000,000 dollars, and the exports at about 22,000,000 do.
It must, however, be observed that this statement refers only to the registered articles, or to those that paid the duties on importation and exportation. But exclusive of these, the value of the articles clandestinely imported by the ports on the Gulph, previously to the revolution, was estimated at 4,500,000 dollars a year; and 2,500,000 dollars were supposed to be annually smuggled out of the country in plate and bars, and ingots of gold and silver. A regular contraband trade used to be carried on between Vera Cruz and Jamaica : and notwithstanding all the efforts of government for their exclusion, and the excessive severity of its laws against smuggling, the shops of Mexico were always pretty well supplied with the products of England and Germany. -(Humboldt, Nouvelle Espagne, iv. 125. ; Poinsett's Notes on Mexico, p. 133.)
Humboldt states, that the total population of Mexico, exclusive of Guatemala, may be estimated at about 7,000,000. Of this number about 5 are Indians, the rest being Europeans, or descendants of Europeans, and mixed races. But notwithstanding this large amount of population, the trade we carry on with Mexico is very inferior to that which we carry on with Brazil. The following is an account of the real or declared value of all sorts of British produce and manufactures exported to the States of Central and Southern America in 1842;
States of the Rio de la Flata
- 969.791 . 950,466
The imports of British goods at second hand into Mexico and Colombia from the
from the U. Kingdom to Mexico, during each of the 23 Years ending with 1812.
Account of the Quantities of the principal Articles of Merchandise, exclusive of Bullion, imported into
the U. Kingdom from Mexico, during each of the 22 Years ending with 1841.
The Mexican government issued a new tariff in 1843. It prohibits the importation of a great many
VERDIGRIS (Ger. Grinspan; Fr. Vert-de-gris, Verdet; It. Verderame; Sp.
VERJUICE (Ger. Agrest"; Fr. Verjus ; It. Agresto ; Sp. Agraz), a kind of harsh,
VERMICELLI (Ger. Nudeln; Du. Meelneepen, Proppen ; Fr. Vermicelli; It. Vermicelli, Tagliolini; Sp. Aletrias), a species of wheaten paste formed into long, slender, hollow tubes, or threads, used amongst us in soups, broths, &c. (See MACCARONI.)
VERMILLION. See CINNABAR.
VINEGAR (Ger. Essig; Du. Azyn; Fr. Vinaigre ; It. Aceto; Sp. and Port. Vinagre; Rus. Ukzus ; Lat. Acetum). -- (See Acid (ACETIC), for a description of vinegar.) A duty being imposed on vinegar of 2d. the gallon, its manufacture is placed under the control of the excise. A licence, costing 51., and renewable annually, has to be taken out by every maker of vinegar, or acetous acid. In 1842, the duty on vinegar produced 23,8421., showing that 2,861,040 gallons had been brought to the charge. The manufacture is almost confined to Eugland ; the quantities produced in Scotland and Ireland being quite inconsiderable. The duty was reduced, in 1826, from 4d. to 2d. per gallon.
All places for manufacturing or keeping vinegar must be entered, under a penalty of 501. No vinegar maker is to receive any vinegar, or acetous acid, or sugar wash, or any preparation for vinegar, without giving 12 hours' notice to the excise, under penalty of 1001. Any person sending out or receiving vinegar shall, unless the duty on it be paid, and it be accompanied by a permit, forfeit 2001. All vinegar makers are to make entries at the next Excise-office of the quantity made within each month, and are bound to clear off the duties within a month of such entry, on pain of double duties.
VITRIOL. See Copperas. VITRIOL, OIL OF. See Acid (SULPHURIC). ULTRAMARINE (Ger. Ultrumarin ; Fr. Bleu d'outremer ; It. Oltramarino; Sp. Ultramar ; Rus. Ultramarin), a very fine blue powder made from the blue parts of lapis lazuli. It has the valuable property of neither fading, nor becoming tarnished, on exposure to the air, or a moderate heat ; and on this account is highly prized by painters. Owing to its great price, it is very apt to be adulterated. It was introduced about the end of the fifteenth century.
USANCE, a period of one, two, or three months, or of so many days, after the date of a bill of exchange, according to the custom of different places, before the bill becomes due. Double or treble usance is double or treble the usual time; and usance is į the time. When a month is divided, the usance, notwithstanding the differences in the lengths of the months, is uniformly 15 days. Usances are calculated exclusively of the date of the bill. Bills of exchange drawn at usance are allowed the usual days of grace, and on the last of the 3 days the bill should be presented for payment. (See ExchaNGE.)
USURY See INTEREST AND ANNUITIES.
WALNUTS, the fruit of the Juglans, or walnut-tree, of which there are several varieties, The walnut is a large bandsome tree, with strong spreading branches.
The fruit is a pretty large, smooth, ovate nut, containing an oily kernel, divided into four lobes. The nut has been always held in high estimation; it was called by the Romans Jovis glans, the acorn or mast of Jove, and hence the name of the tree. The walnut tree is indigenous to Persia and the countries bordering on the Caspian Sea. It has long been introduced into Great Britain ; but the fruit seldom ripens in the more northerly parts of the island. Previously to the very general introduction of mahogany, the wood of the walnut tree was extensively used among us in making of furniture; and it continues to be largely employed for that purpose in many parts of the Continent. It is much used by turners; and is superior to every other sort of wood for the mounting of guns ; a circumstance which caused great devastation among our walnut plantations during the latter years of the war. Great numbers of walnut trees are annually consumed in the Haute Vienne and other departments of France, in the manufacture of the wooden shoes or clogs used by the peasantry. The nuts are either gathered when ripe, being served up at desserts without any preparation; or they are plucked green, and pickled. (Poiret, Histoire Philosophique des Plantes, tome vii. p. 213. ; Rees's Cyclopædia, &c.)
Account of Walnuts imported, exported, and retained for Home Use, during 1841 and 1812, with the
Nett Duty thereon, and the Rate of Duty.
WANGUEES, sometimes called Japan Canfs, a species of cane imported from China. They should be chosen pliable, tough, round, and taper; the knots at regular distances from each other; and the heavier the better. Such as are dark-coloured, badly glazed, and light, should be rejected. ---( Mulburn's Orient. Com. )
WAREHOUSING SYSTEM. By this system is meant the provisions made for lodging imported articles in public warehouses, at a reasonable rent, without payment of the duties on importation till they be withdrawn for home consumption. If re-exported, no duty is ever paid.
1. Erpediency and Origin of the Warehousing System. — It is laid down by Dr. Smith, in one of his justly celebrated maxims on the subject of taxation, that “ Every tax ought to be levied at the time and in the manner that is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay it."-(Wealth of Nations, p. 371.) No one can doubt the soundness of this maxim; and yet it was very strangely neglected, down to 1803, in the management of the customs. Previously to this period, the duties on most goods imported had either to be paid at the moment of their importation, or a bond, with sufficient security for their future payment, had to be given to the revenue officers. The hardship and inconvenience of such a system is obvious. It was often very difficult to find sureties; and the merchant, in order to raise funds to pay the duties, was frequently reduced to the ruinous necessity of selling his goods immediately on their arrival, when, perhaps, the market was already glutted. Neither was this the only incon. venience that grew out of this system; for the duties having to be paid all at once, and not by degrees as the goods were sold for consumption, their price was raised by the amount of the pront on the capital advanced in payment of the duties; competition, too, was diminished in consequence of the greater command of funds required to carry on trade under such disadvantages; and a few rich individuals were enabled to mono. polise the importation of those commodities on which heavy duties were payable. The system had, besides, an obvious tendency to discourage the carrying trade. It prevented this country from becoming the entrepót for foreign products, by hindering the importation of such as were not immediately wanted for home consumption; and thus tended to lessen the resort of foreigners to our markets, inasmuch as it rendered it difficult, or rather impossible, for them to complete an assorted cargo. And in addition to all these circumstances, the difficulty of granting a really equivalent drawback to the exporters of such commodities as had paid duty, opened a door for the commission of every species of fraud.
But these disadvantages and drawbacks, obvious as they may now appear, did not attract the public attention till a comparatively late period. Sir Robert Walpole seems to have been one of the first who had a clear perception of their injurious influence; and it was the principal object of the famous Excise Scheme, proposed by him in 1733, to oblige the importers of tobacco and wine to deposit them in public warehouses ; relieve ing them, however, from the necessity of paying the duties chargeable on them till they were withdrawn for home consumption.
No doubt can now remain in the mind of any one, that the adoption of this scheme would have been of the greatest advantage to the commerce and industry of the country. But so powerful was the delusion generated in the public mind with respect to it, that its proposal well nigh caused a rebellion. Most of the merchants of the day had availed themselves of the facilities which the existing system atforded of defrauding the revenue ; and they dexterously endeavoured to thwart the success of a scheme which would have given a serious check to such practices, by making the public believe that it would be fatal to the commercial prosperity of the country. The efforts of the merchants were powerfully seconded by the spirit of party, which then ran very high. The political opponents of the ministry, anxious for an opportunity to prejudice them in the public estimation, contended that the scheme was only the first step towards the introduction of such a universal system of excise as would inevitably prove alike subversive of the comfort and liberty of the people. In consequence of these artful misrepresentations, the most violent clamours were everywhere excited against the scheme. On one occasion Sir Robert Walpole narrowly escaped falling a sacrifice to the ungovernable fury of the mob, which beset all the avenues to the House of Commons; and, after many violent and lengthened debates, the scheme was ultimately abandoned.
The disadvantages of the old plan, and the benefits to be derived from the establishment of a voluntary warehousing system, were most ably pointed out by Dean Tucker, in his “ Essay on the Comparative Advantages and Disadvantages of Great Britain and France with respect to Trade," published in 1750. But so powerful was the impression made by the violent opposition to Sir Robert Walpole's scheme, and such is the force of prrjudice, that it was not till 1803 that this obvious and signal improvement the greatest, perhaps, that has been made in our commercial and financial systemcould be safely adopted.
Rrgulations as to Warehousing. - The statute of 43 Geo. 3. c. 132. laid the founda.