« ПретходнаНастави »
made to boil. The following remarks, pointing out some of the results of this mode of applying heat, bear immediately on the subject we are discussing:
“ This mode of boiling has been advantageously applied to the refining of sugar, a substance peculiarly liable to injury from superfluous heat, and the most complex and expensive plans bave been employed, in order to avoid the danger of burning. This end is unfailingly attained by Messrs. Beale and Porter's invention, as indeed must be evident from our previous description, while the means employed by them are at once safe, simple and unexpensive. The advantages of their method, are however, not confined to this important particular of the sugar cristallizing with a particularly strong grain and proving highly saccharine.
“In the original manufacture of sugar-cane juice by the usual method of boiling, about one-third of the saccharine matter takes the form of molasses. Experiment has satisfactorily shewn, that cane juice does not (at least to any great extent) necessarily contain matter incapable of granulating; molasses being principally, if not altogether the effect of improper boiling. The loss ihen occasioned is three-fold, in the diminished value of ibe uncristallizable portion, next in the injury which the molasses imparts to the colour of the cristallized sugar, and thirdly, in the quantity which drains from the cask in the process of drying and transporting it to a market."
The second article in importance and value is coffee. The culture of this plant scarcely existed in Cuba, until the French from St. Domingo, between 1794 and 1798, took refuge on its shores. Even in 1800, in the district of the Havana, there were only 60 coffee plantations ( Cafetales) which in 1817 had increased to 799. The small quantity of labour which the coffee plant requires, and the small expense of the establishment when compared with sugar, has always made it a favorite crop in Cuba ; and the high price which this article bore from the year 1815 to 1819, gave an artificial stimulus to its cultivation. Indeed, even now, it is considered by many, when the health of the labourers and all collateral circumstances are taken into view, as a more profitable culture than that of sugar. Its great disadvantage, which however, only occurs to bim who settles a new coffee-plantation, is, that the plant does not begin to bear until the fourth year, and is not in full bearing until the seventh or eighth ; as a compensation, however, it continues to produce its fruit for many years, 30 or 40, and if the proprietor is vigilant and replaces the old and decaying plants, as they begin to fail, and will manure the soil that appears to be exhausted, a coffee field may be preserved in a state of almost perpetual vigour.
The quantity of coffee exported from the Havana in 1804, amounted only to 50,000 arrobas (of 25lbs. each); in 1809 it had reached 320,000, and the average crop of the Island from 1818 to 1824, is stated as follows:
From the Havana,
694,000 arr. Matanzas, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, &c. 220,000 *Allow for errors and frauds at the Custom-House, 304,000
1,218,000 arr. To this we may add that the exportation of coffee from Cuba, was in the year 1827
1,433,487 arr 1828
794,4967 so that even this crop is variable and precarious.
From the above statement, it appears that the quantity of coffee exported from Cuba, 14,640,000 kil. is greater than that froin Java, 117 mill. kil. or from the whole of the British WestIndies, 9,896,856 kil. The consumption in Europe shews great diversity in national habits. France consumes annually 8,198,000 kil. (18,199,500lbs.) not } of a pound to each person. Great-Britain, 3,500,000 (7,770,000lbs.) while, on the other hand Great Britain consumes 25 millions of pounds of tea, and France scarcely one half million.
The coffee plant is one of the delicate and sensitive inhabitants of the tropics; even the north wind (los nortes) which passes over from the continent of North-America, is supposed to do it some injury, and the coffee which grows in the Eastern district of the Island, near Baracoa and Santiago de Cuba, is considered superior in quality to that raised around the Havana or Matanzas.
The tobacco of Cuba is celebrated in all countries where the cigarro is used. Its popularity and extensive consumption, would, it was supposed, have increased its production. But whether it is that the crop is precarious or unprofitable, it seems to have been in a great measure superseded by the “Cafetales," and the quantity raised, has rather diminished of late years than increased, and the cultivation is very much confined to the descendants of the old Spanish inhabitants. The royal treasury
Of the frauds to which Humboldt alludes we have no means of giving a satisfactory account, peither do we perceive a sufficient motive for its existence,, where exportation is not prohibited, or even restricted; but of error, it is sufficient to mention as an exemplification, that in the custom-house, each bag of coffee is noted in the books as containing 5 arr.( 125lbs.) while in fact they generally weigh from 7 to 9.
+ Balaaza Mercantil.
too makes some claims on the crop for the supply of the monopoly which it maintains in the Peninsula, and from this and other causes, a greater portion of tobacco passes away in a contraband trade, than of any other crop raised on the Islandperhaps this may account for the apparent diminution in the produce.
The quantity exported (according to Raynal) between 1748 and 1753, averaged 75,000 arrobas. For 1789 to 1794, 250,000 arrobas; and from this period it has rather decreased. In the Balanza Mercantil of 1828, the quantity exported is stated as follows: In Rama. Manufactured.
Total in arrobas. In 1827, 16,777
175,356 1828, 14,289
220,507 The domestic consumption, of which a portion is drawn from the United States, is supposed to amount to 200,000 arrobas.
Wax and honey were once articles of comparative value, and even now the amount raised is supposed to be considerable. In general, however, the production of these articles diminishes as the cultivation of the Island increases. The culture of sugar is said to be particularly unfriendly to bees. Multitudes of them perish in the molasses, of which they are excessively fond, after having intoxicated themselves with the fascinating beverage.
Other articles, as cotton and indigo, have been raised in Cuba, but abandoned for the absorbing culture of sugar and coffee. Wheat has been successfully cultivated near to “las Quatro Villas,” in the central plains of the Island, and rice along the southern coast; but excepting the articles cultivated for provisions, maize, potatoes, yams, plantains, &c. and the rich varieties of fruits that decorate their tables, no other agricultural staple, but those we have enumerated, appears to engage the attention of its inhabitants.
The agricultural riches of Cuba constitute the basis of its active commerce, and as the Spanish government, with a liberality and wisdom which she did not exercise in former days, nor to her still more valuable colonies, has granted to this Island an almost entire freedom of trade, the productions of her soil are now transmitted to every country in which there exists a demand for them, and a new impulse given to her mercantile transactions by the re-exchange of many of the commodities she re ves in return.
After the ample details we have given, while treating of each staple separately, nothing but a few general statements need now be added.
In 1816 the imports and exports for the port of Havana, are represented by the official estimates as follows :Importation.
Esportation. In 399 Spanish vessels, $5,980,433 | In 497 Spanish vessels, $5,167,966
673 Foreign do. 7,239,533 492 Foreign do. 3,195,169
$8,363,135 In 1823 Importation.
Exportation. In Spanish vessels, $3,562,227 | In Spanish vessels, $3,550,312 Foreign do. 10,136,508 Foreign do.
$12,329,169 In 1828
Importation, $13,904,336 Exportation, $7,859,914 In 1023 vessels, of which 95 were In 985 vessels, of which 148 were
Spanish, 724 of the U. States, Spanish, 557 of the U. States. the other 304 of various nations. The rest (280) of various nations.
The following table will show some of the items of which this aggregate sum for the year 1828 was composed :Imports
Exports. Flour, $1,664,917 Sugar,
$4,027,367 Wines, 631,988 | Molasses,
595,674 478,554 Coffee,
786,081 Tasago, (dried Beef) 443,741 Tobacco,
451,992 Salt Beef and Tallow, 246,810 Specie,
911,786 Pork, Lard and Live
2,074,534 We have omitted in these specifications the manufactured goods which constitute a great part of the remaining imports, and such articles as indigo and cochineal, which, though amounting to a considerable suni, are not raised in Cuba, but prove that an active, indirect trade in neutral vessels, is still maintained with Mexico and Central America.
These tables, however, call for some observations and explanations before we pass them by.
In the first place, if we were only to attend to the official statements, “those pretended open accounts," as Humboldt terms them, between different nations, where nothing is regarded but the apparent specie balance that remains, it would appear that these balances are so much against Cuba that if
they should continue for a few years, it would be necessary to sell the Island itself at auction, to liquidate the constantly accruing debt. For the consolation of those who may be distressed at these results, it may be mentioned that neithei exports nor imports are entered at their real commercial value. Coffee, for instance, is uniformly rated $1 the arroba of 25 lbs. and sugar at $3 75 the 100lbs.; and other articles nearly in the same proportion. Thus, while the total value of the molasses exported from the Havana is stated at $595,674, the statements of our own treasury declare that the molasses imported from Cuba for the same year, was valued at $1,726,359. On the other hand, some of the imports are underrated, but not in the same degree. Specie also, which only passes through as an article of commerce, is but partially exhibited by the books of the Custom-House. In 1816, the quantity apparently imported, amounted to $2,439,991, the amount exported, to $480,840. In 1828, the import was $2,074,534; the export $911,786. Now the fact is, that from some remnant of ancient wisdom which cannot be parted with, there has always been either a prohibition or a duty on the exportation of specie, and many, besides our own countrymen, have, consequently, thought it profitable and expedient to take specie on board their vessels in the way of ballast, without troubling the Custom-House with any memorandum of these petty arrangements.
A fairer estimate of the commerce of Cuba has averaged the exports from the Havana for five years, (1815 to 1819) at $11,244,000, and it is supposed that the exports from the whole island now range between fourteen and twenty millions of dollars, varying with the seasons and the price of colonial produce.
A second, though certainly not important, observation that occurred to us on looking over these tables, is, that there always appears to enter a greater number of vessels than clear out, the difference amounting frequently to from 100 to 150.* For this we cannot account-another peculiarity for which it is more easy to offer a conjecture, is, that frequently 1 to 200 more national (Spanish) vessels clear out than have entered, while in the vessels of the United States there will be an equal diminution. There must be some easy mode of transformation in the ports of Cuba.
A third, by far more important, circumstance which we have not space duly to consider, we cannot suffer to pass altogether without notice; a part of the imports we have enumerated in
* In one year (1824) the clearances exceeded by two the entrances.