to Mr. Evarts.
Copenhagen, November 21, 1878. (Received December 13.)
Sir: In studying the recently published statistics relating to the trade and commerce of Denmark, it will be found that this country has also [Page 304] been affected, during the past few years, by the commercial depression that has affected, and is still affecting, so many other countries. The following figures give the exact amounts, in Danish pounds, of the exports and imports during the years 1870 and 1877:
The following figures show the exact value, in Danish crowns (at 26¼ cents gold per crown), of the exports and imports during the years 1874–1877:
In the above figures are not included the amounts of gold and silver, in coin and bars, exported and imported during the same period. The following figures give, however, more or less, the exact amounts of exported and imported precious metals during the years 1875–1877, effected by the Post-Office Department and the National Bank of Denmark, though it is not known whether such exports and imports have been effected by any other means:
|Exports of gold and silver in coin and bars.||Imports of gold and silver in coin and bars.|
Of the foreign countries with which Denmark stands in commercial relations, Germany and England take the precedence. From 1874 till now, about two-thirds, both as to quality and value, of the entire commerce of Denmark with foreign countries has been carried on with these two countries; but so far as the quantity is concerned, England takes the precedence, and, as to value, Germany. The reason of this lies in the nature of the articles exported and imported to and from these countries. So far as Germany is concerned, more is imported from it than exported to it, and as for England, the exports to it exceed the imports from it.
Next in importance to Germany and England are Sweden and Norway, the imports from which, as to quantity, exceed those from Germany, but as to value they fall below them. The reason of this is also to be found in the nature of the articles imported, consisting largely of wood and iron.
Next in commercial importance to the four countries named above are the United States and South America. The exports from Denmark [Page 305] to the United States, as to value, amounted to, in 1874, 380,571 crowns; in 1875, to 132,993 crownsand in 1876, to 15,141 crowns; while the imports from the United States to Denmark amounted to, in 1874, 4,478,826 crowns; in 1875, 2,107,012 crowns; and in 1876, 6,730,000 crowns. The imports in 1877 amounted to as much, if not more, as in 1876, though I have not been able to procure the exact figures. The imports into this country from the United States consist chiefly in petroleum, corn, lard, bacon, butter, cheese, agricultural machines and implements, and more recently hardware and tools. I have the satisfaction to know that since the publication of my dispatch No. 443, of October 31, 1877, on the enlargement of the commerce between the United States and Denmark, the imports from the United States to this country have been increased, not only of the articles just mentioned, but of new articles as well.
And here I cannot but renew the suggestion I made in the dispatch referred to, namely, the adoption by the American dairymen and butter shipping firms of a uniform method of preparing and packing butter. From the want of such a uniformity arises the inequality in the quality and durability of American butter; and this is the great drawback in the European market. I have been informed that butter imported from the United States to this country is here “reworked” and “repacked,” and then sold and exported as “Danish butter” for a much higher price than was originally paid for it. The employment by the principal dairymen and butter-shipping firms of the United States of Danish experts in “butter making” and “packing” would, I fully believe, in a comparatively short time not only repay all expenses connected therewith, but greatly enlarge the butter exports from our country. Indeed, we could soon command the butter market of the world. In this age of national and international conventions, conferences, and congresses I see no reason why state conventions, and subsequently a national convention of American farmers, dairymen, and butter and cheese shippers may not be held for the purpose of discussing and adopting the best methods, first, for improving the grazing-land and stall-feeding of cattle, especially of cows, and, second, for making and packing butter and cheese of the best quality for export. It is of the greatest importance that, no matter to what country, and under what latitude, cheese and butter may be shipped, their freshness and agreeableness to the taste should be preserved. The scandalous adulteration of butter in some parts of Europe is a notorious fact, and a matter of great complaint. Hence, really good, well-prepared, and well-packed butter is in great demand and always commands a good price.
It is stated that in England, for instance, nine-tenths of the highest priced butter comes from abroad; but it is well known that, as in the tea and the wine trade, the greater part of the really fine sorts is used for mixing with the inferior. So says a writer in the October number of the British Quarterly Review. While in such cases the public, to a great extent, are powerless to protect themselves, it lies within the power of American butter producers and shippers to supply the European market with such a quantity and quality of butter as to render this adulteration unnecessary.
The preceding suggestions and observations have been made after having conferred with persons competent to speak intelligently on the subject.
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I have, &c.,