Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/35

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29
CHEAP LUXURIES.

Thirty-two bunches of cigarritos, each containing thirty-six, are sold for one dollar, or about two per cent, of their retail price in New York or San Francisco. Let it rain! Matches, and all similar trifles made in the country, sell at correspondingly low prices, and imported goods are generally lower than in the United States, the duty being' about the same, and rates nominal.

From Manzanillo to Colima, about ninety miles, there is no wagon-road though one could be easily built. Just back of the first range of hills, behind the town, there is a fresh-water lake, thirty miles in length, which would float a small steamer. By this lake, people are carried by native canoes toward Colima for its entire length, and from its farther end there is a tolerable wagon-road most of the way to that city.

The Government some time ago commenced to cut a canal, a fourth of a mile in length, through the hill back of the town, to connect the lake with the harbor, and make it possible for small steamers to pass through, thus opening up the country to commerce. The work was about half finished and then suspended for want of funds, about thirty thousand dollars having been expended. One hundred Chinamen working at one dollar per day, would finish the work in sixty days at most. The merchants seem to be doing well. They say that the duties are collected regularly and fairly now, the old custom of knocking off half or two-thirds of the amount on a full cargo, to the ruin of the smaller importers, having been abolished by the Juarez administration. They have not been subjected to "forced loans" since the mushroom "Empire" collapsed, the last squeeze having been made in January, 1866, by