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foreign vessels paid 15 per cent. ad valorem. (1). This new regulation seems to indicate that goods from the British Isles were to be put on a footing of equality with those from the other parts of His Majesty's Dominions, while at the same time that foreign goods brought in foreign ships were to get higher discriminations against them; but by September 18, 1807. the Earl was ready with a new proclamation which modified the above regulations. (2). By this proclamation goods from His Majesty's Dominions except those of Great Britain and Ireland, when brought in foreign ships, were to pay a duty of 15 per cent. ad valorem. The duties on such goods imported in British ships navigated according to law, were in no case to be as high as the duties on the same goods imported in vessels belonging to friendly powers.. Briefly: goods from the British Isles, imported in British ships were to be free of duty, (3); goods from other possessions of Great Britain and foreign goods imported in British ships paid 5 per cent. ad valorem; imported in foreign vessels at amity with Great Britain, 15 per cent. ad valorem.
These alterations were introduced for revenue purposes, but care was taken that British goods from the British Isles were in a favoured position. So far then there is no change in the position. Moreover, on September 29, 1809, a new proclamation was issued according to which a duty of 15 per cent. ad valorem was imposed on all goods not from the British Isles imported into the settlement in ships belonging to the subjects of countries at amity with His Majesty, from any part of His Majesty's Dominions. On all such goods imported in British vessels a duty of 10 per cent. was charged. (4).
Up to this time the colonists were also subject to export duties. These continued to be levied right through the Governorship of Caledon. His successor, Sir John Cradock, who came out to the Cape in 1811, made one of his first tasks the abolition of export duties upon Cape produce, October 18, 1811. (5). These export duties, together with the tithes the colonists had to pay on grain sold at Cape Town, (6), which was a fruitful source of smuggling, were much resented by
1. Theal: History of South Africa, Vol. 3, p. 383.
3. If imported in foreign vessels a duty of 7 per cent. was levied: Theal: History of South Africa since 1795, Vol. 1, p. 212.
4. Records of the Cape Colony, Vol. 7, pp. 154 — 156. (According to Order-in-Council of April 12, 1809).
5. Ibid., Volume 8, p. 183.
the colonists, by the farmers as well as by the traders. Under the monopolistic rule of the Dutch East India Company, and later under British rule, these export duties acted as a check on exports of colonial produce.
Towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars trade to and from the Cape was restricted to British ships. (1). This step was requisite “in consequence of the number of foreign ships employed in the trade.” (2). Foreign ships could, however, by special licence import provisions. (3).
As the export duties were abolished now, and the trade confined to British ships, evidently the revenue of the Colony, which was derived mainly from customs, was seriously affected. It was suggested by Sir John Cradock (4) that a moderate duty — say 3, 4 or 5 per cent. ad valorem on British goods imported into the Cape would not do much harm. This was allowed provided “attentive care be taken that it shall in no instance be so high as to occasion a diminution in the consumption of those articles." Consequently a duty of 3 per cent. ad valorem was actually levied on British goods from July 8th, 1813. (5). This was done for revenue purposes, otherwise it may be safely said it would not have been done. It was, moreover, as we saw, a conditional concession. This step, however, was by no means popular with the merchants at the Cape. (6). It was perhaps due to the fact that the trade of the Colony. On April 10, 1814, the Cape was slight extent.
Another step was taken in the following year to promote the trade of the Colony. On April 10, 1814, the Cape was comprised within the limits of the East India Company's charter. (7). “It was intended to encourage the formation of a depôt for Indian goods, and Cape merchants were permitted to import merchandise of every description, except tea, from any port of the East, except China, and export it again to various parts of the world. Such merchandise could be
1. By Order-in-Council adopted on October 1, 1811, which took effect from April 12, 1812.
2. See letter from Lord Bathurst to Sir John Cradock, Records, Vol. 8, p. 474.
3. Theal: History of South Africa since 1795, Vol. 1, p. 213.
4. See letter by him to the Earl of Liverpool, Records, Volume 1, p. 213.
5. & 6. See Records, Vol. 8, p. 473; Vol. 9, p. 51; Theal: History of South Africa since 1795, Vol. 1, p. 213.
7. Records, Vol. 9. p. 299; Records, Vol. 10, p. 125.
kept in bond for 18 months and be released for exportation without payment of any duty... Less advantage was taken of this privilege than was expected when it was conferred, and the benefit to the Colony was not very great. (1).
Later in the year, in addition to these measures, the rigorous provision of 1811, which restricted the trade of the Colony to British ships was somewhat alleviated, and ships belonging to the subjects of any country at amity with His Majesty were again allowed to enter the ports of the settlement of the Cape of Good Hope for the purpose of repairs and refreshments only, in which case a part of the cargoes of such ships and vessels might be permitted to be disposed of for the purpose of defraying the expenses of such repairs or refreshments. Such ships could also import provisions into the Cape after they had obtained a licence from the Governor. (2).
These numerous and minute regulations caused great inconvenience not only to traders, but also to the Comptroller and the Collector of the Customs. As evidence of this we may cite a letter, written by these latter two officials to the Colonial Secretary, in which they begged him to request Lord Charles Somerset to supply the Customs House with a collection of the different Acts that had been passed with reference to the customs and also of all future ones. (3). Lord Charles Somerset was further instructed on March 18th, 1816, to keep export and import duties separate, and to differentiate between British and foreign vessels. Formerly this was not done, and when reports were sent to England on the customs, no clear differentiation was made, and England had to have this in order to enable her to judge as to the good or bad results of her policy of discrimination between British and foreign vessels and between British and foreign goods. (4).
As a result of this policy of exclusion, Lord Charles Somerset was able to write to England as early as 1815, that
1. Theal: History of South Africa since 1795, Volume 2, p. 34. The expenses attendant upon the landing and re-exportation of goods were very great.
2. By Order-in-Council of September 24, 1814, for regulating the trade of British and foreign vessels with the Cape of Good Hope. See British and Foreign State Papers, Volume 1, Part 2, pp. 1275 — 1277.
3. Records, Volume 11, p. 484.
Note: Lord Charles Somerset followed Sir John Cradock as Governor of the Cape in 1814.
for the years 1814 and 1815 the British imports into the Colony, as entered at the Customs House, were valued at 3,726,000 rix-dollars, (1 rix-dollar=1s. 6d.). “The amount is very large for the population of this place (given as 36,000 Christians in 1815. (1). But it shows its utility and dependence upon Great Britain... The commerce has hitherto been the source of great profit to British merchants and manufacturers." (2).
Part 2. The Post-Napoleonic Period.
This exceptionally restrictive policy which England started after 1806, relative to the trade of Cape of Good Hope, was closely connected with the Berlin and Milan Decrees. After the Napoleonic Wars, as a matter of fact, in 1814 already, more liberal arrangements began to be made, and British colonial policy was far in advance of any other European state. Thus the trade to the Colony was thrown open to foreigners at amity with Great Britain from July 12, 1820. Amongst other things it was stated that they could trade in all articles except in those manufactured of iron, steel, wool or cotton of foreign manufacture. This provision was necessary after the Napoleonic Wars were over and the European nations had returned to work again while England's warehouses were over-stocked with these goods. The duty was to be 10 per cent. ad valorem upon all other articles so traded in. Foreign ships were not allowed to take articles of Cape produce, upon which now again a duty of 8 per cent. ad valorem was levied, unless equal privileges were granted to British possessions by the country to which the foreign ship belonged. But as regards the import trade into the Colony, ships of countries at amity with England could be employed for that pur
1. Records, Volume 11, p. 51.
2. Letter from Somerset to the Earl of Bathurst, Records, Vol. 11, p. 161.
Note: From 1806 to 1825 the Government of the Cape was "absolute rule.” In the latter year a Council of Advice was appointed to assist the Governor. In 1834 a Legislative Council was established at the Cape, but it had not much power. It was only in 1852 the Cape received Representative Government, and in 1872 that Responsible Government was granted to the Cape.
A concise summary of Chapters 2 and 3 is given at the end of Chapter 3.
pose as well as British ships. (1). Such a policy could not have been beneficial to the export trade of the Colony. It meant monopoly.
The preferential treatment of British goods, however, continued unabated. The 3 per cent. ad valorem duty on British goods was increased to 37 per cent. ad valorem on November 14, 1821. (2). Lord Charles Somerset suggested that this duty be increased to 5 per cent. ad valorem for revenue purposes, with a drawback of this duty on re-exportation. (3). This led to much correspondence and no positive results.
However, this proposal again came up for consideration, and was referred to the Governor-in-Council, Feburary, 1827. It was then definitely agreed that it was not an expedient step, in spite of the fact that no trading interest at the Cape was opposed to the increase of duty on British goods, (4), but that instead thereof the inland duty on wine, called tithe, and the charge for gauging, amounting together to 6s. on every 152 gallons, should be drawn back on exportation. To cover this again, a duty on the brandy consumed in the Colony was raised from three to fifteen rix-dollars. (5).
As to this extra 14 per cent. duty on British goods on importation into the Cape and the allowance of a drawback upon exportation of all inland duties levied upon colonial produce, it was estimated by the Governor-in-Council, that the drawback would amount to only 2,068 pounds sterling per annum, which it was proposed to cover by an additional charge of 14 per cent. on British goods imported into the Colony. It was estimated that this additional duty would bring in 1,070 pounds sterling more than the loss occasioned by the draw
1. Order-in-Council of July 12, 1820 followed by Act of Parliament in July, 1821. See British and Foreign State Papers, Volume 7, pp. 932 — 934.
2. By Order-in-Council: Records, Volume 14, p. 156.
3. Records, Vol. 23, p. 339. W. W. Bird in his "State of the Cape of Good Hope in 1822,” (London, 1823), thinks the Act of 1821 of considerable importance to the Cape, because the trade opened by it to foreign dominions in Europe, America, the West Indies and the Medeterranean, has “till this day... been jealously monopolised by Great Britain,” (p. 4). For growth of the import trade under this Act, see Bird, p. 135. “The growth of foreign trade, and of that from India, since the Acts of Parliament and Orders-in-Council opening the Eastern and foreign commerce, has added greatly to the business of the Cape customs-house."
4. Records, Volume 28, p. 117.