During the four years for which he held that office, although he allowed the finances of the colony to get into confusion, he endeavoured to improve its condition by introducing the vine, sugar-cane and tobacco plant, and by encouraging the breeding of horses and the reclamation of land.
But to keep sugar-cane, or indigo, or cotton alive in summer before the monsoon sets in in India or the Nile rises in Egypt the field should be watered every ten days or fortnight, while rice requires a constant supply of water passing over it.
There is a considerable coasting trade, sugar, brought by a tramway from neighbouring towns, is shipped from here, and the cultivation of sugar-cane is an important industry; Indian corn, tobacco, hemp, cotton and cacao are also grown.
The principal industries of Maranhao are agricultural, the river valleys and coastal zone being highly fertile and being devoted to the cultivation of sugar-cane, cotton, rice, coffee, tobacco, mandioca and a great variety of fruits.
" There can be no reasonable doubt that the sugar-cane, which is native and present in a great many varieties, sago, cotton, probably also indigenous and of exceptionally fine quality, will eventually be valuable " (MacGregor).