to Mr. Bayard.
Buenos Ayres , May 3, 1888. (Received June 8.)
Sir: The promised early inauguration of the Houston line of steam-ships, to be operated under a contract with the Argentine Government, between New York and Buenos Ayres; the probability of a line also to Vera Cruz, Mexico, and the remote possibility of still another from Canada, are exciting general public and commercial interest just now in this country, as well as in Uruguay and Brazil, its immediate maritime neighbors.
The Houston line, I am informed at the State Department, is nearly ready to commence operations. It will carry the Argentine flag, but it will afford us direct and speedy mail service, and that will be a long Stride toward active trade relations with the United States. Mexico, too, it is said, will soon come into South American waters.
The United States alone, of all the countries most interested in this field of commercial enterprise, seems contented to fold its arms in indifference. Even Canada, so far north of us and with so much less to exchange for South American products, is here looking around to ascertain how and upon what conditions she can enter this golden harvest-field.
Hon. Simeon Jones, a member of the Canadian parliament, is on the ground as an accredited commissioner, with full credentials and elaborate instructions to prepare a report to his Government of Uruguayan and Argentine industries and of the supplies Canada can furnish them in exchange for the wool, hides, tallow, and other products they can so lavishly and cheaply place in the market.
Commissioner Jones informs me that Canada has voted a liberal subsidy for a steamship line here which I think he expects to have supplemented by the Uruguayan and Argentine Governments, with some help, also, from Brazil. If United States, especially Boston and New York, enterprise, interested in opening up trade with the rich River Plate countries, is willing to play a secondary part to the bolder lead of Canada, it might furnish a portion of the capital needed for the equipment of the line, and have Boston, New York, and Philadelphia included among its call stations. It is true its ships would not carry our flag, we are used to that, but if the fact continues that we shall not be permitted to emphasize our own nationality on the seas, we may at least secure an adequate mail service, and improve our markets, now so clogged with overproduction, for the sale of United States manufactures.
I have, etc.,