No. 58.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Jarvis .

No. 56.]

Sir: I transmit a copy of a letter received from Messrs. Crenshaw & Wisner and other flour dealers, asking that representations may be made to the Brazilian Government, looking to the removal of the discrimination against flour which its existing import duty presents, or such other action as may be deemed appropriate.

You will present the subject for the consideration of His Majesty’s Government, according to your best judgment.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure in No. 56.]

Crenshaw & Wisner and others to Mr. Bayard .

Sir: In compliance with your suggestion, made to the committee who waited on you personally in February last, regarding the proposed establishment of extensive flouring-mills in Rio de Janeiro, they beg respectfully to submit the following facts for the consideration of your Department:


The Empire of Brazil is the largest foreign consumer on this hemisphere of flour manufactured in the United States, ranking second only to the United Kingdom, its imports for the last five years averaging about 700,000 barrels per annum.


It is only by strenuous effort and the use of the most improved machinery in manufacturing that this trade, giving employment to a very large number of persons, has been held, in the lace of sharp competition from Hungary and the South American States of Chili and the Argentine Republic. Its loss would be disastrous, particularly to the great milling interests of Richmond and Baltimore, which have for many years chiefly supplied it.


This industry is now threatened and imperiled by the formation of companies with British capital of about £500,000 sterling, proposing to build and operate large flouring mills in the city of Rio de Janeiro, under concessions and privileges from the Brazilian Government, and with the avowed design of keeping out the product of American manufacturers from that country.

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This is only rendered possible by the fact that American flour pays an import duty in Brazil of about 75 cents per barrel, while wheat is practically admitted free, there being only a small custom-house charge exacted on it. As the greater nearness of the wheat-growing countries, Chili and the Argentine Republic, enables them to introduce wheat into Brazil at a less cost than the United States, this discrimination against the manufactured article, flour, threatens the loss by this country of this important trade.

The prospectus of the English capitalists, proposing the erection of mills in Rio de Janeiro, contemplates no benefit to Brazil or its people, but very large profits, estimated at 25 or 30 per cent., to their shareholders, predicated largely on the exclusion of American flour by reason of the duty upon it.


The average annual exports from this country to Brazil for the past five years are in value about $6,000,000, of which flour has constituted nearly one-half, and of the remainder lard, lumber, oil, and naval stores are the chief articles in value. All these staple articles pay heavy duties at their port of entry in Brazil, said duties having recently been increased.


Our imports from Brazil, consisting chiefly of coffee, rubber, sugar, and hides, average for the past five years about $60,000,000 in value, and with the exception of sugar are admitted free of duty in the United States, although paying a heavy export tax in Brazil.

The import duty on coffee, which was taken off by the United States, was promptly reimposed as an export duty by Brazil, the result being merely the diversion of that large revenue from the United States Treasury into that of Brazil.


The exportation of flour to Brazil is chiefly carried on by American vessels, a large number of which, known as “Rio traders,” are owned in Baltimore, and have been employed for many years in this special service, and bringing return cargoes of coffee. Depending mainly for their outward cargo upon flour, of which the destruction of the Brazil trade would deprive them, these vessels would become unprofitable and comparatively valueless. The American line of steamers to Brazil would be similarly affected, flour having also formed an important part of their outward cargo, and there being no other article of sufficient bulk and value as freight to compensate for its absence, the line conld hardly be maintained, and most of the carrying trade would be done by foreign vessels.

In view of the threatened loss by the United States of the largest article of export to Brazil, and of the importance of that trade to the manufacturing, commercial, and shipping interests of this country, the foregoing statement is respectfully submitted, and your memoralists beg for it the attention of your Department, and that representations be made to the Brazilian Government looking to the removal of the discrimination against flour which its existing import duty presents, or such other action as may be deemed appropriate.

Appending a few statistics which partially indicate the proportions of the commerce between this country and Brazil, we are, Mr. Secretary, etc.,

Crenshaw & Wisner, and others

Imports from Brazil for five years of two articles.

Year. Coffee.* Rubber.*
Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value.
Bags. Pounds.
1882 2,677,360 $38,286,333.80 16,831,783 $11,782,248.10
1883 2,810,148 40,185,116.40 14,924,682 10,447,277.40
1884 2,767,589 39,576,522.70 16,375,603 11,462,922.10
1885 3,148,418 45,022,377.40 16,149,344 11,304,540.80
1886 2,654,225 37,955,417.50 19,696,612 13,787,628.40
Total 14,057,746 201,025,767.80 83,978,024 58,784,616.80
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Exports to Brazil from United States ports for the year 1886.

Articles. Quantity. Estimated value.
Flour barrels 652,756 $3,106,000
Kerosene cases 808,563 717,500
Turpentine do 10,325 42,000
Lard pounds 4,170,000 400,000
Rosin barrels 40,500 101,250
Pitch pine feet 9,900,000 138,500
White pine do 2,200,000 84,000
Spruce do 1,025,000 14,350
  1. Bags of 130 pounds, at an average price for five years of 11 cents per pound.
  2. Bags of 130 pounds, at an average price for five years of 11 cents per pound.
  3. At average price for five years of 70 cents per pound.