Mr. Peirce to Mr. Hay.

No. 190.]

Sir: Referring to the ambassador’s No. 48, of March 1, I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of a letter of November 15 from Mr. N. P. Bornholdt, United States consul at Riga, relating to the line of steamships established by the United Steamship Company of Copenhagen, to run between Russian Baltic ports and America.

The representative of the line, Mr. Hans Schack, called upon me a few days ago and informed me that the United Steamship Company had purchased the Thingvalla Line in order to secure port facilities at New York, and will operate that line upon the route between the Russian Baltic ports, including the ports of Finland, and New York and Boston. The ships of the Thingvalla Line are old, but it is the intention of the new owners to replace them by six new ships, of which they will themselves build or cause to be built three, and they hope to find American capital to build the other three.

The company seems to be satisfied that the enterprise will be profitable, and they already find ample freight from the United States to justify their hopes. The difficulty is to secure freights from Russia, but failing this they expect to make up their cargoes from Sweden and Denmark. I have in this connection suggested to Mr. Schack that he look into the question of Russian fancy marbles, which are said to be very beautiful and which might find a market in America. This would be an extremely advantageous article of freight, as it would afford ballast, and Russia being at the terminus of the route, would enable them to load other lighter goods in Sweden and Denmark, if full cargoes can not be obtained in Russia.

A good deal of cement is produced in Russia, and the price of it is said to be low; but how the quality compares with that which comes to our markets from elsewhere, and how far it could stand the added cost of transportation, I do not know.

The principal staples which formerly constituted the bulk of the export of Russia to the United States, namely: Russia sheet iron, crash, bristles, hemp, flax, and Russia leather, have greatly fallen off owing in part, doubtless, to their production in the United States.

I have, etc.,

Herbert H. D. Peirce,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
[Page 594]

Mr. Bornholdt to Mr. Peirce.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Georgios I, belonging to the United Steamship Company, of Copenhagen, was dispatched from here to Boston, Mass., and New York, on Tuesday, the 8th instant, as first steamer of the new line between the Russian Baltic ports and theUnited States.

The second sailing is intended to take place about the end of this or beginning of next month, if sufficient cargo turns up, and for that trip the steamer Alexandra, belonging to the same company, has been taken in view.

I have, etc.,

N. P. Bornholt, Consul.