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THE FOREIGN CATTLE TRADE OF THE UNITED STATES.
ITS OUTLOOK AND WANTS.
COL. ROBERT BEVERLEY,
OF THE PLAINS, FAUQUIER COUNTY, VIRGINIA.
Because of the great value of the Live Stock and Beef Trade from the United States to England, I venture to write on this subject. I graze and fatten for market about 600 of the best grade Short Horns to be found in Virginia, and in 1880 bought and shipped abroad, including my own 600, about 3,000 cattle. All but two small cargoes of these were from the Port of Baltimore; those two cargoes from New York. All the shipments up to 1st October were profitable ; after that insurance became so high that all the profits were consumed by it, till, about December 1st, insurance became prohibitory, in my judgment, having risen from three per cent. in May, June, July and August to fifteen per cent. in December, and no risks taken in the United States at any rate ; they were only obtainable in England or Germany. My last shipment was made by the “Thanemore” from Baltimore, the 28th November, and I believe all made since, of Live Stock. have made a heavy loss to the shipper, but, I suppose, a profit to the dead meat shipper, who has a comparatively nominal insurance to payno feed bill, no attendants' hire, less freight, and a very cold winter to land and distribute it. Just here I will say, I have no experience in the Dead Meat ” trade, but believe it might pay well from November to April, but very hazardous the other seven months. As to the Live Stock trade I propose to write ; and I do not believe it can be successfully prosecuted under the present restrictions. 1st. Restrictions on the other side, confining us to the port of entry for the sale of our Live Stock. 2d. Admitting Canada cattle, which come mostly from the United States, free of that restriction. 3d. High rate of freight. 4th. Innumerable charges on the other side. 5th. The almost prohibitory rate of insurance.
First.—The restrictions are based on the pretense that disease among cattle is broadcast in our land, which I know is not the case, but is used by the Privy Council, representing the stock-raising interest in England to prevent our beef coming in competition with theirs. There are but two forms of contagious disease among cattle in the United States—one, Pleuro-Pneumonia ; the other, Texas Fever. The former was imported from England and Germany, is not inherent to our climate or soil, cannot successfully home among us apart from our crowded dairies in and around our cities, is now confined to the cities of New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baitimore, and the adjacent counties ; not a case of it west of the Alleghany Mountains or south of the Potomac River. Is it not a crying shame that this great Government at Washington don't take immediate meads to eradicate this disease, so easily effected, now in its small proportions ? I believe they will do it, and would have done it a year ago but for the opposition of a Mr. Covert of Brooklyn or New York, having a district partly in both, being made Chairman of our Agricultural Committee by the eminent agriculturalist Mr. Sam Randall. This Mr. Covert always makes a minority report in opposition to anything
emanating from the Agricultural Committee, and the Congress of the United States being composed of about 200 lawyers, only 57 farmers, the balance engaged in all other pursuits, of course a bill in aid of agriculture opposed by the Chairman of the Committee has a feeble chance of success. While I know this disease in its present small proportions ought to be, and I believe will be, speedily eradicated from our land, yet the chances of transmitting it to Europe are not one in ten thousand, for every animal exported to Europe comes from sections far beyond the slightly infected district, and do not stop long enough at the ports of shipment to take the disease were it broadcast there, and I do not believe a single case of contagious Pleuro-Pneumonia has ever reached the shores of England from this country, but that ordinary Pneumonia, contracted from great exposure on the cars and shipboard in extreme winter weather, by cattle just out of warm distilleries, have been reported to the Privy Council as contagious Pleuro-Pneumonia, for the purpose of excluding our beef from coming in competition with theirs. The only case cited with any degree of confidence, and on which the Privy Council issued the prohibitory order, was the cargo of the “Ontario,” shipped in the Winter of '79 from Portland, which cattle were taken by rail, partly from their Dominion of Canada and partly from Buffalo, New York, (still-fed cattle) and were “snowed up” several days on the cars, and were exposed on the deck of the ship to an extremely cold voyage, and, though they left Portland with a clean bill of health, when they got over they were condemned with contagious Pleuro Pneumonia. It is certain there never was a case of Pleuro-Pneumonia in Buffalo before or since that date, and hence we believe this condemnation was erroneous.
As to Texas Fever, I have some knowledge of it, and it does exist, or we are liable to it in the United States under certain contingencies; but it is entirely eradicated by frost—hence latitudes north of 38 are not liable to it in the Winter time. My experience. In 1866, after the war, the live stock in Virginia being almost exterminated, I went to Texas and brought from there into Virginia 700 cattle. When started in October they were covered with Texas ticks ; in Arkansas, a very cold spell striking them, most of the ticks fell off ; when they reached Memphis they had but few on them. There we put them on the cars; when we reached Virginia, about the middle of November, it was very cold and all of the ticks had disappeared. Those cattle were distributed through many farms in Fauquier and Loudon Counties, Virginia, and no disease followed them. Let me say here, Texas Fever is never fatal to Texas cattle, but to the native cattle that follow them or graze on the ground they have been. The next year, in May (my importation having been successful), a Mr. Eddings brought in 300 Texan cattle covered with ticks, and though they did well, all the native cattle that followed them either in road or pasture, though six weeks or two months after, died of Texas Fever. Our people not understanding it, induced Mr. E. to bring in another lot of Texas cattle the following May, and it proved with like results. As I had felt no bad results from my importation in November, I thought they were safe property in May, and I bought a few of E., but in about two months my native cattle running on the same ground took sick and some died; after careful thought I believed it to be the effect of the tick. I took up my native cattle and found them full of ticks; by scrubbing them well with carbolic soap, with corn cobs, rubbing the ticks off, I saved 5 out of the 8 thus treated, and soon thereafter, frost coming on, stopped the disease. I now believe the Texas Fever is a blood poison, inserted by the Texas tick, which, when fully infused in the system, is incurable, and that there is no danger from it after hard frost, as I venture to say that there is no case on record of it in high latitudes in Winter time. I have been frequently asked why does it not kill the Texas cattle? I reply that nature has provided them with a thick hide (the tanners will tell you, twice as thick as the native cattle) to protect them against this and other insects native to their climate. I have watched the stages of this insect, and when they get
as large as the end of your thumb, double the size of a dog tick, they drop off in the cars, road or grass, and one big tick will soon hatch out a thousand and get on the cattle following. What is the remedy? Restrict Texas or Southern cattle to their own latitude till after hard frosts, then there is no danger. Virginia has passed such prohibitory laws, and we have had no such disease for several years. I should think that Texas cattle shipped from the ports of New Orleans or Galveston at any season of the year to Europe, might carry the disease, because the temperature is rarely low enough there to destroy the insect on a warm animal ; but north of latitude 39 there is no danger from an animal shipped in November, December, January, February or March. If these views are correct, it is folly to talk about State's rights and continue successfully the live stock cattle trade to England ; that government will and should keep up its restrictions. The Federal Government should be clothed with the power to stamp out Pleuro-Pneumonia wherever found, and prohibit the passage of Texas cattle into or through the States north of latitude 39 except in frosty months. Inspection at the ports of shipment is not sufficient, for both PleuroPneumonia and Texas Fever may have been contracted by the cattle, and no veterinary on earth can detect it, and yet it will be developed in a 12 days' passage.
Canada is a successful competitor for the trade, because cattle from the United States are passed into it in the Summer and Fall, fed there on imported grain and oil cake; in a word, quarantined and exported to England in March, April and May, free of all restrictions. The exportations of cattle from Canada in 1880 reached near 55,000 head, the arable portions of it being not larger than Pennsylvania and Virginia, which States, together, did not export 10,000 cattle in the same time.
FREIGHTS.—They are exorbitant. A deck-load of 150 cattle on a 2,500 ton steamer, paying £4 per head, or $3,000 for room that could not be, and has not been generally, utilized for any other freight. The vessel is at no cost except the fittings and water supply obtained by condensing sea water, both of which does not cost £1 or $5 per head, being a net profit to the vessel of $2,250 for room that could not be otherwise utilized. There is no liability to vessel for being washed overboard or cast overboard to lighten ship of deck-load—that risk is charged to shipper by the insurance companies. Then under-decks or between-decks there no danger of being washed overboard and less danger of being cast overboard, yet imminent danger from suffocation in "battening down hatches” in a storm, which excludes the air on most ships and suffocates the cattle. Very few, if any, ships are sufficiently ventilated with “ down-hatches” to save cattle in a long storm“ between-decks.” While insurance is enormous to the shipper, almost prohibitory, in the shipment of “Live Stock;" yet on steamers, as at present constructed as to ventilation, I do not think the insurance companies can make any money. On deck, in the Winter season of storms, it is very risky, and between-decks with present ventilation it is more so, and I can't see why they can't be as perfectly ventilated as the cabin of a passenger steamer and as safe, and as they charge fully as much freight when you deduct the board bill and attendance and luxurious equipments, I am sure the cattle trade equally ventilated would pay the ship owners equally well, and reduce the insurance to about 3 per cent., which the shipper might afford to pay. The live stock shipping business is in its incipiency, and I feel sure will soon be perfected as to freights and insurance, but at present the two combined are almost prohibitory to the trade. Expenses on the other side amount to about $5 per head; this includes commission, which will regulate itself as there is competition for the trade; but the “dock fees,” “lairage,' “ watching attendants," &c., are additional restrictions on the trade and are very high. To sum up the above remarks, our Government should at once take means to stamp out the few vestiges of contagious diseases there are in this country, and then demand the free admission of our cattle into England, and freight should be reduced to about £2 10s. or $12 per head, and steamers should be so venti
lated that cattle can be carried between-decks without danger of suffocation ; then insurance would be reasonable, or the shipper could take the risk himself. With these improvements the other impediments to the trade would disappear and a very large business could be done in live stock shipments to England, France and Germany. The supply of cattle in this country is ample, the price here is low enough, but the cost and charges of shipping are enormous, aggregating about $40 per head on an animal that costs $70 on shipboard, and a smaller and more inferior animal would be consumed entirely in expense. There is no product that I know of in the United States that will bear the expenses of more than half its value to export it, hence I think these restrictions must be removed and charges reduced before the live stock trade to Europe will assume any larger proportions. The effect of restrictions in England to the port of entry means that the cattle are to be slaughtered at that port within ten days after arrival, thus putting it in the power of butchers, when the arrivals are heavy, to buy them at their own prices, while Canadian and Spanish cattle can be driven to any market in the Kingdom-and it always makes a difference of a penny on two cents a pound in favor of the latter stock, which is equal to $16 per head, an enormous profit to them or loss to us. The average expenses of shipping are fully $12 too high, which, together with the restrictions, makes a difference of $28 a head against the grower and shipper of United States cattle.
I think the “dead meat” trade can and will be successfully prosecuted in the Winter season, but however perfect they may make their refrigerating vessels, there will be great risk in hot summer weather in distributing the meat after landing.
IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION.
N S. BAILEY,
OF NEW YORK.
Immigration from foreign countries and emigration from the Atlantic States to the West, Northwest and Southwest, have, within the last half a century, by the noblest Industry of man, spread a prosperous civilization over an area of nearly 4,000,000 square miles.
At first, the migratory numbers were few, and to “Go West” was a journey of but from four hundred to six hundred miles, as far as Western New York or Western Pennsylvania, or into Ohio, which was accomplished with the traditional covered wagon, drawn by one or more yokes of oxen, carrying the family and worldly goods of the hardy pioneer. As Ohio filled up, adventurous spirits pushed further on, and Indiana, Illinois, and successively one after another of the trans-Mississippi Territories were rapidly populated and converted into States, until, at last, a Western limit was reached; the shores of the Pacific Ocean settling the question of further expansion in that direction.
While the early settlers devoted themselves to tilling the ground, Capital and Enterprise were quick to comprehend the probabilities of the future, and nearly a hundred thousand miles of railways have been constructed and projected, to provide necessary and economical transportation in every section of the Union. The iron horse now goes bounding over the measureless prairies, the sandy plains, through the deep valleys and over the great mountain chains, without break from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Navigable rivers and the telegraph make the system of intercommunication complete.
During the last century there have arrived in the United States, about 10,000,000 of immigrants, of which number the decade ending June 30th, 1880, contributed 2,812,177. The last year of the decade brought 457,243, which exceeded the arrivals of 1873 by 6,440, the numbers for these two years being largely in excess of any
year. It is interesting to observe, that during the decade no less than 485,025 immigrants entered this country at the various lake ports from Canada. From the year 1870 to 1878, the number entering from Canada was 341,107. Allowing the number claimed by Canadian statistics, as “ emigrant passengers to the United States via Canada," for that period, which is 261,574, we still have the large number of 79,533 of immigrants from Canada to the United States ; against a claim of 15,814 emigrants from the United States to Canada during the same period, and deducting a corresponding proportion for “emigrant passengers through the United States to Canada,” about 75 per centum, we find less than 4,000 people, including women and children, emigrating from the United States to Canada during the years 1870 to 1878.