to Mr. Evarts.
Vienna , March 31, 1879. (Received April 16.)
Sir: There are no recent trustworthy statistics of the population of Roumania. The restoration of Bessarabia to Russia, and the acquisition of the Dobrudscha instead, have introduced new elements of calculation. But it is probably safe to put the estimate between five and one-fourth and five and one-half millions of people.
The dominant religious confession is the Greek Orthodox. Of the minority, the Israelites are the most numerous, while about 14,000 belong to the Protestant confessions.
The army is composed of four classes of military service. All Roumanians between twenty-one and forty-six years of age are liable to at least four years of active service in one of the classes, besides subsequent reserve service, making eight years in all the classes of the military force. In time of peace the effective of the standing army reckons 880 officers, 69 cannons, 16,300 men, and 2,700 horses. In time of war it is something over 42,000 men besides the train. The territorial army counts over 54,000 men and 192 cannon. After this comes a militia of 47,000 men and upward.
The public debt, drawing rates of interest varying from 5 to 10 per cent., amounts (according to statements made of the 1st January, 1879), in the aggregate, to a little under 500,000,000 francs. Several of the loans are repaid by annuities, and so the total is annually reduced. The ordinary receipts of the public treasury, as stated for the budget of 1878, would be 93,372,000 francs (round numbers), while the disbursements would amount to the same sum. In the years 1874 and 1875, however, the definitive accounts showed in these two years, respectively, deficits of (in round numbers) 7,400,000 francs, and of 12,300,000 francs; while the budget of 1877 acknowledged a probable deficit of 5,800,000 francs. But there is no reckless action in financial affairs on the part of the government, and it is probable the equilibrium will soon be restored. A considerable part of the public debt was created for the construction of railroads by the state.
The movements of commerce for the last year reported (1875) give the round figures following:
Imports, 100,834,000–francs; exports, 144,962,000 francs.
As compared with 1874 this shows a decrease of imports by about 22,000,000 francs, and an increase of exports by about 10,000,000 francs. According to the last detailed statement accessible to me, of the imports, about 40 per cent. came from Austria, about 25 per cent. came from England, about 15 per cent. came from France. The remainder came chiefly from Turkey, Germany, and Russia. Of the exports Austria and Turkey receive nearly equal amounts, followed, in the order of [Page 59] value, by France and Great Britain. In 1875 Roumania exported grain of the value of 105,000,000 francs; animals of the value of 13,000,000 francs; various other merchandise of 26,000,000 francs.
The effect of the exchange of Bessarabia for the Dobrudscha, and of the acquisitions of a port on the Black Sea, with a railroad connecting the Danube with this port, remains to be seen.
Our English authority shows a steady decrease of the exports to Great Britain from 1871 to 1875, falling from £1,150,000 in 1871 to £594,000 in 1875. In like manner it shows a steady increase of imports from Great Britain to 1874, when it reached £1,244,000, but falling off in the year 1875 to £1,054,000. The decrease of the exports to England is to be attributed in part to American competition in grain in the English market. The cheap article of import from Great Britain was English cottons, which in 1875 was of the value of £677,000, or more than $3,000,000. England has also undertaken to furnish them with some agricultural machinery and with some manufactures of steel. In these, as doubtless in other articles which are also products of American industry, the American competition ought to be successful. The official returns for 1873 showed that of the plows in use 185,000 were of native and 37,000 of foreign make. The latter were chiefly from Germany and Austria. Of steam and horse threshing machines there were about 1,400. Agriculture being their great industry, it would seem there was wide scope for the introduction of the American perfected instruments for its profitable development.
But the whole subject of the trade of Roumania, and its capacity as a market for American products and manufactures, should be studied in the country itself by consular officers of the government who know what the United States can furnish to aid in the development of the country, or to satisfy its existing demands.
I have, &c.,