Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/693

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

direct domestic consumption is about 1,162,000 pounds annually, which, with the amount made up by the factories and used in the country, makes the whole consumption of raw material in Brazil 18,481,600 pounds annually since the factories began operation.

Production.—The total export from the whole empire from 1851 to 1876, inclusive, was 1,095,304,075 pounds. Add 27,900,000 pounds for the direct domestic consumption for the same period, and 69,270,400 pounds for the amount used by the factories during the four years from 1872 to 1876, and we have as the production of cotton by the whole empire, during the twenty-four years from 1851 to 1876, an average of 74,680,700 pounds per annum, or about twice as much as that of the State of Arkansas.

During the civil war in the United States, the exportation of cotton from Brazil assumed proportions hitherto unknown to that country. From the year 1850 to 1861 the average annual amount of cotton exported was 28,300,000 pounds. The exports rapidly increased from 21,400,000 in 1801 to 102,600,000 in 1868. As the United States recovered from the effects of the war, the amount of cotton exported from Brazil, although still large and fluctuating from year to year, was gradually decreasing, until in 1876 the exportation had fallen to 63,609,000 pounds. An impetus, however, was given to cotton culture in Brazil by the civil war in the United States which has been of great permanent benefit to the industry in that country.

Cotton in Brazil grows on its native soil, and, it is to be presumed, under climatic and other conditions best adapted to its highest development. But, though Brazil began to export cotton more than a hundred years before the United States, her annual product to-day is only about one eighteenth as much as our own. To be sure, the population is only one fifth as large as ours, but there almost the whole population lives in a cotton-growing region, while only a small part of our people live in the cotton belt.

Under normal conditions Brazil can scarcely become a competitor of the United States in cotton production; but the disappearance of slavery and the consequent adoption of some system of small farming will, in the near future, materially increase the present production. Slavery has fostered a remarkable conservatism in agriculture, which must, with the aid of educated planters, soon disappear. Cotton-factories are already rapidly springing up and prospering, and the day is not far distant when they will supply the Brazilian market.

The same agricultural tools and methods now employed by the average planters were in use more than two hundred years ago—methods learned from their Portuguese ancestors and from their African slaves. It is far from my intention, however, to criticise