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Great Britain: Paper Correspondence Despatch relating to the Southern of Italy



Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.





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Despatch relative to the Commerce of Naples.

Consul-General Bonham to Bari Russell.—(Received February 4.)

My Lord,                 Naples, January 27,1863.

I HAVE the honour to state to your Lordship that I have seen lettere in the “Times - of 5th and 9th December, 1862, and 6th January,1803, on the subject. of Italian commerce, signed “J. Pope Hennessy, - and as, in the letter dated 6th January, that gentleman seeks to impugn the accuracy of the reports 1 have made to your Lordship, as exhibiting “serious discrepancies - with statistics, which he quotes, from Board of Trade Returns, I trust I may be allowed to offer a few observations on the subject, without waiting until I am able to complete and send in my annual Trade Report.

I cannot, of course, presume to question the accuracy of the Board oj:‘ Trade Returns, as quoted by Mr. Pope Hennessy; I confess they have astonished me greatly, and I was quite unprepared for them. But my business is with the shipping and commerce of Naples, and I maintain the entire accuracy of the statements I have made to your Lordship in regard to both, and repeat what I had the honour to state in my despatch of the 2nd April,1862, viz., that at that time commerce was largely increasing at Naples, and, notwithstanding the incontestable and most serious drawback to the development of the prosperity, riches and commerce of this country, in the continuance of brigandage, and the excessive insecurity of internal Communications throughout many districts,1 am able to state that both British shipping and general commerce at Naples has, as compared with former years, continued to increase up to the present time.

I am not ambitious to shine in what Mr. Pope Hennessy is pleased to term “works of high art, - calculated to give a “flourishing, - and, as he broadly insinuates, untrue “picture - of the state of affairs, and will confine myself to “dry details - and statistics. These will, I think, fully establish the facts I have stated, but before giving them I must advert to one other remark in Mr. Pope Hennessy’s letter relative to my report on the number and tonnage of British shipping at Naples in tlie first quarter of 1862, viz., that my figures are “valueless - because “some of the vessels only touched at the port of Naples, and that their cargoes were destined for other places in the Mediterranean. - I cannot admit this. It is, no doubt, true‘ that the steamers from England do not bring full cargoes for Naples: they all come the round of the Italian ports, bringing portions of cargoes, more or less considerable, as the case may be, for Genoa, Leghorn, Naples, Palermo, or Messina, and sometimes Alexandria; but this is no new practice. For years past the steamers from England for Naples have followed this route, and the comparison of the numbers and tonnage of these steamers from one year to another is a perfectly fair one. There is very great difficulty in obtaining complete returns from the Customhouse in Naples, especially as regards imports, owing to the variety and number of entries, and various other causes; and, consequently, I am unable, from official documents, to assert that the amount of goods imported and landed in Naples in 1862, from 119 steamers, measuring 95,292 tons, is greater or less than what was imported and landed in 1859, the last year of uninterrupted Bourbon rule, from 66 steamers, measuring 41,675 tons, which steamers, then as now, equally carried part cargoes for Genoa, Leghorn, Naples, &c. My entire conviction is that it is greater, for I know not how to believe that shipowners should continue, as they have done, to send, year by year, steamers in increased numbers, and of increased tonnage, to the Italian ports, whilst the amount of goods to be brought continues year by year to diminish. As regards sailing vessels, there is equally little reason for Mr. J. Pope Hennessey's remark. During the year 1862, six vessels, of which four were laden with salt fish, were sent on from Naples to discharge at other Italian ports; in 1861, Ave vessels were so sent, and every year a few similar instances occur, but not sufficient to require special notice or interfere with a fair yearly average calculation of the shipping.

With the exception of these six vessels, and of a few which in 1862, as in other years, arrived in ballast (12 in 1862), all the others brought cargoes for and discharged them at Naples. I may mention that many of these vessels brought cargoes direct from British North America, and these, consequently would of course not appear in the Board of Trade Returns. I now annex a statement of the entries and tonnage of British ships at Naples during the last ten years, distinguishing steamers from sailing vessels, and the increase in both is, I think, sufficiently striking:—



in the Year


Mr. J. Pope Hennessy questions, as from the tone of his letter he probably will,. the existence of these ships, I have the honour to state that the name of each individual ship, and the port to which she belongs, has been sent in, in the regular Quarterly Returns, to the Board of Trade.

As regards foreign (not Italian) shipping at this port, I am not, so soon after the expiration of the year, prepared to give exact details; but I have sufficient data to enable me to state with certainty that the number of French vessels (nearly all steamers) which entered Naples in 1862 amounted to upwards of 550 vessels, against 239 in 1859,282 in 1860, and 351 in 1861. Other foreign shipping is not very important in amount; and I am not aware there is any particular alteration in the average number of vessels.

Of Italian, or national vessels, the number is very great indeed; and I ant not able at present to make up the account of them. I can, however, now state, from entries in the registries kcpt at the Board of Health, that the number of commercial steamers, of all nations, which entered this harbour in 1859, the last year of the Bourbons, was—

656192,378 circa
In 1862 the number was1,303442,832 circa

It is most difficult to ascertain the amount of cargo brought by these vessels, but I can state positively that no one who knows this port, and witnesses the crowding and confusion in the harbour and on the Custom-house wharves, at this time, can fail to be struck with the great amount of business which exists now, compared to what there was a few years ago. Moreover, this augmentation in the amount of shipping during last year has not been confined to Naples alone: at Gallipoli, the port in these provinces next in importance to Naples, especially as regards foreign shipping, the same thing has occurred. The following Return from Vice-Consul Stevens shows the state of British and all other shipping at that port from 1859 inclusive up to the present time:

Year.British.Other Nations.

To explain this great increase, I must remark that Gallipoli is not so much a port for import (nearly, if not quite, all the British ships go there in ballast) as it is for export; it being the principal port in South Italy for the shipment of olive oil.

The amount of olive oil produced in the autumn of 1861 having been unusually abundant, the consequent demand for vessels in 1862 to ship that crop was unusually large; and this brings me tu the assertions in Mr. J. Pope Hennessy’s letters, relative to the great diminution of exports from this country during 1862. These assertions are utterly inexplicable to me, the exports in 1862 having, it cannot he doubted, been larger than for many years past; not on account of this country being under the rule of the House of Savoy, but in consequence of the production of many articles of export having been very abundant in 1861.

I will refer in detail to the principal exports from Staples, most of which show a considerable increase.

First. Olive oil.—As I have before stated, Gallipoli is the principal port for the shipment of this oil; probably a quarter to a third of the whole crop is shipped there for exportation.

I find, from Vice-Consul Stevens’ Returns, that there was shipped from Gallipoli in—

Tuns.Estimated Value Free on Board.
Of the above were cleared for Great Britain—
Tuns.Estimated Value Free on Board

I have not yet received the Returns from the other Vice-Consulates, but the yield of olive oil having been large throughout the country in 1861, there can be little doubt the export has been considerable at other ports also; and I apprehend the total value of that oil, exported in 1862, will turn out to have been not less than 2,000,000 sterling. On the other hand, I may state that the crop gathered in 1862 was deficient, and the amount to be expected this year must consequently be less.

The export next in importance from these provinces is madder roots. These are principally grown in the vicinity of Naples, and exported from that port; as are also the other products mentioned in the annexed Table.

Declared value of the following exports in the years—

Madder roots125,984125,167193,685339,728
Raw silk118,717142,33365,500281,750
Cream of tartar25,29427,69666,67069,940

The declared values of the foregoing six articles of export have been furnished me by the Custom-house, and I believe they may be depended on.

I trust the above statements and details will be sufficient to substantiate the accuracy of my former reports relative to the shipping and commerce of this place.

I have, &c.


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