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world that I know of where a vessel could be fitted out so cheaply as at Boston or Gloucester. The cod lines are made here, the only place in the world where they are made. I don't know of another place where they make cotton cod lines that are used by our fishermen. They formerly used hemp lines that came from Europe, but they are not used at all now. Their cotton duck and cordage are bought here, their beef is bought here entirely, and pork and four largely; also lard, and the oilcloth which the sailors wear, and their rubber boots; fishhooks, more or less; in fact, everything used aboard a vessel is bought here. We ship them ourselves.
Q. To be used by British vessels?--A. Yes, sir; entirely.
ARTICLES EXPORTED TO CANADA.
I can give you some of my orders during this last spring.
Q. You can state them in a general way.-A. I take them alphabetically: Apples and vegetables, alcohol, fishermen's leather boots, ship bread, butter, beans, brushes, rubber boots, stove polish, coffee, candles, corn, chocolate, cotton duck, dry goods of all kinds, essences, flour, furniture, canned goods, groceries of various kinds, hardware, tinware, lanterns and the like, jugs, kerosene oil, mackerel lines, cod lines, cod hooks, sole leather, Seychelles and Manila cordage, molasses, nails of all kinds (oak nails and ordinary cut nails), oakum, naval stores, sails, pitch and tar, oars, pork, beef, lard, hams, linseed oil, paints of all kinds, copper paints (for copperpainting vessels), peppers, spices, hats, caps, oilcloth, sugar, what you call patent brass bushings for blocks, salt, tobacco (manufactured and unmanufactured), tea, tea caddies, trunks, tallow, all kinds of biscuits, crackers and such like, brooms, pails and wooden ware, lamps and glassware, crockery ware, dory boats, paper, and paper books. Those are about the leading things.
CANADIAN CANNED FISH,
Q. You were speaking of canned goods. Are there any fish canned in Canada and imported into the United States?--A. Yes; in the provinces.
Q. What kinds?-A. Principally mackerel and lobsters; those are the two main articles.
Q. Do you operate in those things yourself?-A. Yes; we have some consignments of them, but that trade is very small with us.
Q. Are the processes of canning goods down there equal to ours?-A. The people there who can goods are mostly Americans who have started factories. I think you had a gentleman here yesterday or to-day, Mr. Pickett, who has a canning factory in Cape Breton. I suppose those men have their operatives from here, and I should suppose the work would be done in the same manner as it is done here.
TRADE RELATIONS AND PROFITS.
We sell about $700,000 worth of goods where we receive perhaps $200,000. Q. Through your house in Canada?-A. Yes; we have sold about $1,100,000 worth of goods every year lately.
Q. What is the general rate that commission merchants get on their operations?
Q. Do you deal in American fish at all?–A. I have not recently. That was the first thing I did when I came to Boston. My first experience in the fishery business was fitting out Cape Cod fishermen, and I followed that for nearly eleven years.
Q. How long ago did you leave it?-A. I commenced in 1855.
Q. And continued down to 1866?-A. Yes, sir. I was originally in the shipchandlery and ship-store business; but after the war prices went so high that our American vessels did not do well, and I was obliged to seek other business. That is how I came to get into the provincial business.
EXPORTS NOT REPORTED TO THE CUSTOM-HOUSE.
Q. Is there anything else you wish to suggest?—A. I would like to speak of exports. Formerly, under the reciprocity trenty, many vessels would go to the provinces, carrying flour and other merchandise, amounting perhaps in bulk to 1,000 barrels. Those vessels were very similar to our State of Maine coasters; the captain and crew all had orders and each was ashore buying goods. The same thing is done to-day, more or less. So that our custom-house here has no correct record of the export of goods from here to the provinces.
Q. Do you mean that those things that the captain and crew had orders for would not appear in manifest?-A. Yes; and a large amount of goods shipped even to the merchants down there do not appear to-day.
Q. How does the vessel expect to clear without a true manifest of her cargo?-A. I will explain that to you: Say we have a vessel ready for sea to-day. You may say there are a hundred barrels of flour on her. The captain will go into the customhouse and get a clearance on the merchandise simply. After he gets his clea ance something may happen preventing him from sailing immediately, and he may lie here three or four days before he gets off, during which time he may take on boani a number of articles of merchandise, but he will not go near the custom-house again; he simply goes to sea with his manifest.
Q. When he comes back will he not be picked up?–A. No, sir. It would not really make any difference if he should happen to be boarded after he had obtained his clearance and had taken on board the additional articles, because his clearance only says "merchandise.” It don't say whether he has one barrel or ten; it simply says "merchandise."
Q. That clearance does not contain a copy of the manifest, but does he not hare to present a copy of his manifest to the custom-house before he clears?-A. He is supposed to do that. But there will be perhaps twenty merchants making shipments by that vessel-hat and cap men, hardware men, and different merchants here, who have had orders to send goods by that vessel. The captain don't know what is coming.
Q. His owners and agents ought to know what they take on board.-A. When the captain comes to get ready to go to sea he knows, but he never takes the trouble to go to the custom-house and make a full and complete statement of any additional articles that he may have taken aboard.
Q. Then he does not obey the laws, does he?-A. No; I don't think he does; but the captains don't know much about the law.
Q. Suppose they were taught a little by being arrested the next time they come back, would not that be an advantage, if the law is a good one?—A. If you wanted to carry it out. But still they commit no crime.
Q. What is the use of having a law if it is not carried out?-A. I don't suppose he commits any crime when he goes to the custom-house and obtains his clearance for everything that he knows that he has on board.
Q. But he has no business to take anything afterwards under that clearance. The idea of a clearance is that the vessel is ready to depart with that amount of goods.A. That is supposed to be the idea. But the coasting business between here and the provinces is the same as the coasting between here and the State of Maine; it is done in a very easy and loose way; the captains are not educated men.
Q. Yes; but do not their owners know something about it?-A. No. Some of the owners are farmers and don't know anything about it; sometimes the captain owns his vessel, and sometimes it is owned by the fishermen. A great deal of that business is done by people who don't know how to make up a good, complete invoice, and that is often a great inconvenience to us, because they have so little business knowledge, a great many of them. Perhaps a sawmill owner owns the vessel, by which he ships a little lumber, or fish, or potatoes, or cordwood, or bark, or whatever it may be. Their invoices are very different from invoices coming from Europe. I do business with the island of St. Pierre. There are regular French houses there with whom we do quite a large business. They are regular mercantile houses, and their invoices are all straight.
Q. This home business I can readily understand, but I am speaking of the export business; though you have explained that sufficiently, perhaps.-A. The people in the provinces who run these vessels have very little business knowledge.
Q. Is there anything else you think of that you desire to state?—A. I don't think of anything else.
EFFECT OF FREE TRADE UPON WHOLESALERS AND UPON CONSUMERS.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. I would like to hear your reasons for the effect of free trade with the provinces, as stated by you. I want to call your attention, first, to the effect of free trade upon the fish business here, and, secondly, upon the consumers of fish in this country. A. I have been in the fish business since 1855, and from my recollections I should say that there has been greater prosperity in the fish business under reciprocity, or what we call free fish, than there has ever been under the tariff.
Q. Do you mean to apply that also to the fishermen as well as to the fish dealers? A. Yes. I think our fishermen have had larger returns, because I think the quantity
of fish caught has been greater, and we have had a larger export trade. We have done some business in fish; we have supplied the West Indies, instead of Halifax or some other provincial port supplying them.
Q. Your idea is that it applies to the fishermen and the merchant engaged in selling them?-A. Yes; all through. What I mean is that a quintal of codfish of the same quality has brought as much or more under reciprocity than it has under tariff?
Q. What is the effect of the tariff upon the consumers of fish throughout the country?-A. I was also going to state, before answering the question, that the law of supply and demand seems to regulate the prices largely. Two or three years ago we had fresh fish, and we were selling codfish at $6 to $7 a quintal. Now we have a tariff, and it is difficult to sell them at more than $2. There seemed to be a great demand for fish about two or three years ago, and I could sell five cargoes of fish more easily at $6.50 or $7 a quintal, according to quality, than I can to-day, with a tariff on fish, at $2.25 or $2.50; there was a greater demand for them and it was easier to sell them then.
FISH, KENCH-CURED VS. PICKLE-CURED.
Our people are getting these pickle-cured fish cheaper than they got them two or three years ago, but I don't consider that the fish they get are fit to eat. These pickle-cured fish are just about the same quality as a piece of salt beef would be after it had been taken out of a barrel on a hot day and laid around for two or three days; it would stink. A piece of thoroughly dried beef might lie around six months and be perfectly sound; that is different. I was at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago last April. Being very fond of fish, and seeing fish balls mentioned on the bill of fare, I called for them; but when I put a piece in my mouth I got it out as soon as possible; the fish was actually rotten. The fish I carry home to my house are dry, kench-cured fish, and they are just as sweet as anything can be.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Do you carry them home from your store?-A. After I sell a cargo I get some from the man I sell to.
Q. Do you get them at the same price that everybody else pays?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do you pay?—A. From 3 to 4 or 5 cents a pound; different prices. I have just sold three cargoes of kench fish in the last sixty days; the first cargo I sold at $3.
Q. Do you mean to say that the price of good, sound codfish, keneh-cured, at the groceries in Boston is only 3 or 4 or 5 cents a pound?—A. I sell to wholesale dealers. The retail dealers probably get about 5 or 6 cents a pound.
Q. And you sell for how much?—A. We do not get over $3 a quintal.
Q. That is, the retail price is about double the wholesale?-A. Yes; just about double.
NUMBER OF FACTORY EMPLOYEES GREATER THAN THE NUMBER OF FISHERMEN.
I would like to say one thing more. There are more than twice the number of people in the United States manufacturing the kind of goods that I ship to the provinces than there are American fishermen coming in competition with the prov
The goods they buy of us for fishing vessels and such like, and for other purposes, give twice the number of men employment here in their manufacturegive them labor and wages.
Q. Do you know the date of the Canadian tariff act, when they adopted what is called the protective system?-A. I can't tell the date; it was some six or eight years ago.
Q. What effect did that have upon your exportations of American goods to the provinces?-A. It affected dry goods more than anything else, I should say; hardware and agricultural tools still continue to go there.
Q. Suppose it was six years ago, which would be 1880, that they adopted that heavy tariff; can you tell us how much your own exportations fell off in consequence?--A. They haven't fallen off any; our trade has increased there, for we have made greater effort, you might say. I have a man traveling there all the time, whereas formerly I did not have a man traveling there.
Q. But under the same conditions you think it would have fallen off?-A. Some. Take it within a short time; I have sold in Nova Scotia two carloads of what they call James Kirk's Chicago soap, although they have a 30 per cent tariff on it.
Q. Kirk advertised himself into glory?-A. Yes. He makes great effort, of course, and sends out show bills and the like. We still sell manufactured goods there.
PROFITS OF COMMISSION MERCHANTS.
Q. Do you do all this exportation business on commission?-A. No, sir; we get a profit on a large share of it.
Q. A profit aside from your commission?-A. No, sir; we don't charge any commission at all on what we sell; but when they send a cargo here we sell that on commission.
Q. And you actually sell to them the return cargo and make a profit?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have your profits fallen off on the same kinds of goods since the passage of the Canadian tariff act?-A. They have, some.
Q. How much?-A. I can not say that it has been on account of the Canadian tariff; it was on account of competition; there are so many in the business; they are cutting finer and closer every day. It is just the same here.
Q. If you choose to, merely for our information, you may state what the profits are in your business, and what you would consider a fair profit to make in the export trade; or, to make it straight as between us, how much do you make on your exportations of these goods you sell? You need not answer if you do not want to.-A. I fear we do not average over 24 per cent; on some goods we get 5. On these job cargoes we perhaps get 8 to 10 per cent. A man will spend as much time in selling 8 or 10 barrels of flour as he will on 125 barrels.
Senator EDMUNDS. I should think it would take more time if he talked it up well.
The Witness. If a man buys 500 barrels of flour from me and I get 2 per cent profit, I should be satisfied. Take the article of kerosene oil; we have shipped during the month of September perhaps 2,500 barrels of that, and perhaps we got 6 or 7 per cent on that.
Q. When you say 24 per cent on flour, if you had had that flour in stock six months there would be the question of interest to consider?-A. We have to figure that.
Q. How long do you generally keep flour in stock? When you receive an order for a thousand barrels of four do you generally have that amount on hand, or do you have to go out and buy it?-A. We always have more or less on hand; we carry a stock of flour, and then order what we have not on hand.
Q. In making your 2} per cent profit you charge interest, storage, and all that?— A. Yes, sir; we put that all in.
Q. So that your 24 per cent is absolutely good?–A. Absolutely good profit. Of course, we try to get 5 per cent on flour, but we don't always get it.
TESTIMONY OF HERBERT C. HALL.
Boston, Mass., October 2, 1886. HERBERT C. Hall sworn and examined:
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. What is your residence?-A. Somerville, 3 miles out of the city; I do business in Boston.
Q. What is your occupation?—A. Shipping and commission merchant.
Q. You deal in what sorts of goods?-A. We receive most of the products of the provinces, and send goods down there.
Q. Do you deal in fish?-A. Yes, sir; we run a line of steamers down there. Q. What kind of fish do you deal in?-A. We receive all kinds of salt fish. Q. Not any fresh?—A. Generally not any fresh. Q. Then you get salted mackerel, herring, codfish, pollock, hake, and all that sort of thing?-A. Yes, sir.
RECIPROCITY. Q. State to the committee what occurs to you on the subject that you understand we are considering. You may state your views and give facts within your knowledge bearing upon the fishery question with Great Britain and the Dominion.-A. I am in favor of a reciprocity treaty between the two countries; I do not think it would interfere with our fishermen here very much, even if free fish were allowed, because a large part of the fish from the provinces are different from the fish that are produced here.
Q: Different in the way Mr. De Long has stated, in being kench-cured?—A. Most all the fish from the provinces are kench-cured and dried, and most all here are
pickle-cured. We get large, fat mackerel from the provinces, and the most of the farge split herring come from the provinces.
Q. And they are the finest varieties of each kind?—A. Yes. We rely on that country for our supply of the best fish.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL PRICES.
Q. How much higher is the wholesale price in this market, for instance, for these large, fat mackerel, than the price for the ordinary No. 3 mackerel?—A. I don't know what they retail for.
Q. I am speaking about the wholesale price.-A. No. 1 is worth $14 to $17.
Q. What are the fat ones worth?-A. The extra-fat ones are worth all the way from $20 to $35.
Q. Is that the kind you are speaking of as coming only from the provinces?-A. Very few are procured from any other place; a large portion of the No. l’s come from the provinces.
Q. When you come down to No. 2's, what are they worth?-A. From $9 to $12, according to the fatness.
Q. Where do the largest part of these come from?-A. The American vessels catch most of them down in the Bay of Chaleur, and down that way, and some are caught around here.
Q. Before July, 1885, do you know where the largest part of these provincial mackerel came from, whether inside or outside of the 3-mile limit?-A. I could not say. I have asked a great many from the provinces, but have not been able to ascertain; a good many of those provincial people have been in my store, and I have often asked them about that; they say they catch a large number of them within the 3-mile limit. But that is only hearsay.
Q. The great bulk of the mackerel are now caught in purse seines; is not that so?— A. Yes, I think they are. For the next month they will catch them at the Bay of Chaleur and around in that region in traps; I do not know whether they will do much seine fishing or not, but I should think they would for a fortnight yet.
PRICES UNDER RECIPROCITY.
Q. Do you know anything about the retail prices of the three varieties of fish you have named--the extra fine, No. 1's, and No. 2's?-A. No, sir.
Q. Did you observe any difference in the prices of fish in this market following the treaty of 1870–71, which made them free?
The WITNESS. Difference in the price?
Q. But you were not able to detect anything that the change in the law effected?—
Ι sume that was on account of the smaller number of fish caught.
Q. You do not suppose that reciprocity made them higher; it was a question of quantity, was it not?--A. I should think so. But I should consider that reciprocity in times when fish were scarce would equalize prices better, that there would be no extremely high prices.
Q. That is, there would be a larger field to draw from?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. But whether that would affect the actual consumer you do not know, if I understood you a moment ago?-A. I think it would tend to keep prices so that they would not reach any extremely high limit.
RETAIL PRICES TO CONSUMERS.
Q. But I understood you to say that you did not know how the actual retail prices, to the great body of the people who go to the corner groceries to get their fish, are related to the wholesale prices at which you sell?–A. Fish are not worth so much in the provinces as they are here; if we could import fish from the provinces now, fish would be lower, I should think, but not much lower.
Q. Do you think they would be any lower to you or to me if we should go to Pierce's grocery down here, if there is any such man—and I believe there is-and wanted to buy six mackerel for breakfast to-morrow morning?-A. I don't know; I should think they might.
Q. You think he would fall accordingly?-A. It is pretty hard to tell that, but I should think he would.
S. Doc. 231, pt 5-45