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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 receives 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.
Exportation. 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 1823Importation.
Exportation. In Spanish vessels, $3,562,227 In Spanish vessels, $3,550,312
Foreign do. 10,136,508 Foreign do. 8,778,857
1125 813,698,735 1000
$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,
84,027,367 631,988 Molasses,
595,674 Rice, 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 sum, 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
ve } 614,469
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 neither 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 gaine 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 $11,244,600, 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 basy 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 entrancos.
1828, amounting to upwards of three millions of dollars, are almost exclusively the production of the United States; all of these whether it be cattle, hogs, rice or flour, can unquestionably be raised in Cuba. Humboldt bimself, and several of the writers in the Anales de Ciencias, are urging this measure on the inhabitants of Cuba. The doctrine of independence of foreign nations, which has been preached up so assiduously in the United States, which the Mexicans, taking their lessons from us, have begun to reduce to practice, is now pressed upon the Cubans. If they should follow this advice, and abandon for imaginary benefit a more for a less profitable pursuit, the farmers of our own country may find themselves deprived of one of the best markets which is now open to their produce; and why may this not be done? If the system is wise in one nation, it must be wise in all, and nation after nation enraptured with this ideal independence, may withdraw themselves from all intercourse with distant countries, and encircle themselves with as many restrictions, as now serve to separate Japan and China from the rest of the civilized world.
Of the revenue of Cuba, it is unnecessary for us to treat at large. It will be sufficient merely to show how much the parent state has gained by a liberal treatment of this colony.
* We subjoin a sketch from the records of ou» own Custom-Houses, of some of the articles which between the 1st October, 1827, and the 1st October, 1828, were exported to Cuba. It will be well for our farmers to notice, how valuable a market this one Island affords for their productions: to recollect that every item can be raised or procured by the inhabitants of Cuba, by their own exertions; and would be raised or procured if they did not consider it more economical, and therefore, more wise to purchase some articles from abroad, and apply their attention and labour to others, which to them are found more profitable. We have already lost the British West-India trade by our attempts to regulate foreign nations, and if while we are pretending to retaliate on Great-Britain, we instigate and encourage all surrounding nations to retaliate on us, it will be unnecessary to prove, that such measures will injure and distress greatly those that enact them, it will be quite sufficient for us to know, that they will be greatly injurious to ourselves.
Value of articles exported from the United States, to the Island of Cuba, from the 1st October, 1827, to 1st October 1828.
Hogs in the various forms, of pork, bacon, lard, live stock, $731,799
251,328 Candles and soap.
91,175 Indian corn and meal,
32,000 Butter and cheese,
31,968 Wood, in various forms,
589,082" Leather, boots, shoes, &c.
• For this item alone, the inhabitants of Cuba must depend on some foreign nation.
From 1789 to 1797, the duties in the Havana never amounted to $700,000 ; in proportion as the ports were opened, this sum increased; in 1800, it exceeded $1,900,000; in 1824, it amounted to $3,025,300, and is now supposed, for the whole Island, to be not less than $5,000,000. Of this $1,500,000 are employed in the maintenance of the troops necessary for the protection of the Island, and $600,000 for the support of the squadron stationed at the Havana. At the commencement of this century, about $1,800,000 were annually sent from Mexico for the assistance of Cuba, now the island of Cuba provides for her own safety, and furnishes large supplies for the maintenance of the desultory war which is still carried on by the parent state against her ancient colonies; even now this Island contributes important aid in support of that armament, which, while we write, bas been sent against Mexico.
Of the government of the Island we intend not to speak ; it may be necessary, however, to apprise our readers, that in Cuba, as formerly in all the Spanish possessions in America, there were ecclesiastical, military, financial and judicial divisions of the territory, which it is always necessary to keep in recollection, and which often confuse, Humboldt informs us, modern geographers. It will be sufficient here to mention, that Cuba forms
1. One judicial district, having an Audiencia or court of high appeal, fixed at Puerto Principe, near the centre of the Island.
2. Two ecclesiastical jurisdictions or dioceses, one of the Archbishop of Cuba, who resides at Santiago de Cuba, and superintends the Eastern part of the Island, the other of the Bishop of the Havana, who governs the Western.
3. Two governments, the Gobierno de la Habana, and the Gobierno de Cuba, dependent, however, on the same Captain General who resides at the Havana.
4. For the financial department, there are three Intendencias or Provincias, thos# of the Havana, Puerto Principe, and Santiago de Cuba.
5. There was another division, perhaps now laid aside, into four jurisdictions, in which the province of Puerto Principe was divided, the eastern part retaining that name, the western forming the jurisdiction des Quatro Villas; there are, besides, the smaller divisions into partidos and parochias.
In the long discussions into which Baron Humboldt enters on the subject of the Africans, we shall not at present mingle. He speaks much of the misfortunes of the race, and the dangers which may arise from their present position. But he sug