No. 500.
Mr. Baker to Mr. Evarts.

No. 160.]

Sir: Referring to my number 142 and its inclosure, from which it appears that the ports of Venezuela are visited by a considerable number of French, English, and German steamers, and that no steamer with the registry and flag of the United States is seen in any of them, certain very striking considerations present themselves upon this state of the case.

Venezuela is separated from the United States by the Little Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico; from Europe by the broad Atlantic Ocean, taken semi-lengthwise. As compared with Europe, the United States is a near neighbor of Venezuela.

Having some time since met in this city with Capt. Charles Scandella, of Ciudad Bolivar, I requested him to prepare for me a table showing the nautical distances from various ports of the United States and Europe, to the principal ports of this country. He very obligingly consented to do so, and sent me a table showing the distances in nautical miles from New York and other of our cities, and from Hamburg and other European cities, to the principal ports of Venezuela.

I give in the following table the distances thus kindly furnished me by Captain Scandella:

Ports of Venezuela.

Maracaibo. Porto Cabello. La Guayra. Barceloma. Carupano. Ciudad Bolivar.
ports of the united states.
New York *1,495 1,838 1,831 1,895 1,900 2,172
Philadelphia 1,781 1,765 1,761 1,829 1,841 2,172
Baltimore 1,840 1,830 1,830 1,880 1,893 2,212
New Orleans 1,755 1,855 1,922 2,042 2,108 2,353
ports of europe.
Hamburg 4,882 4,840 4,790 4,683 4,502 4,500
Liverpool 4,340 4,358 4,248 4,141 3,960 3,958
Bordeaux 4,148 4,106 4,056 3,949 3,768 3,766
Marseilles 5,220 5,040 4,980 4,920 4,860 4,800
Barcelona 5,400 5,240 4,860 4,800 4,710 4,560
Havre 4,231 4,189 4,139 4,032 3,851 3,849
[Page 1045]

According to this table, communication and trade between the several-named ports of the United States and those of Venezuela, being by lines of transit which are, on the average, less than half the length of those between the stated ports of Europe and the latter country, the following consequences would seem to follow: First, the time of transit between the United State and Venezuela under equal conditions, is not more than half the time between Venezuela and Europe; second, the consumption of coal per trip would not be more than half so great; third, the amount of ship-wear per trip would not exceed one-half; fourth, the interest per trip on the capital invested in the ship and its equipment should not be more than half; fifth, the expense for officers and crew per trip would seemingly be much less; sixth, it would also appear that the sea-risk and insurance per trip would be much less.

I itemize the foregoing particulars of advantage in favor of the United States, in order to show how clear it is that, so far as the matter of transportation is concerned, any given amount of merchandise may be conveyed from the United States to Venezuela, and vice versa, in half the time that is required to do the like between Venezuela and Europe, and at much less cost.

Two general conclusions seem clearly to follow from the foregoing:

In view of the immense extent and variety of the natural and artificial resources and productions of our country, quite adequate to supply the countries to the south of it with well nigh, if not quite, everything they want from the North, taken in connection with those natural and permanent advantages of proximity which I have pointed out, there can be no manner of question that it is the real interest of Venezuela, as of the rest of these countries which are similarly situated, to look mainly to the United States as the most advantageous field for the extension of their foreign commerce.
Whatever may be the causes which have heretofore limited communication and commerce between our country and Venezuela, in common, with the other Spanish American states which are similarly situated in reference to us, these causes must be temporary in their operation; and with manufactures of equal quality, and as cheap in their home cost as those of Europe, the United States must necessarily draw to itself a very complete ascendency in the foreign trade of this and other Spanish American countries of analogous geographical relation to our own.

I am, &c.,

  1. This is obvious error. I supposititiously suggest 1,895 instead of 1,495.—J. B.