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made to benefit the trade of the Cape by these measures, the British commercial machine was still awkward and cumbrous in all its details.
So far we have been discussing the protection of British interest in their relations with the Cape. As far as the protection of Cape produce against the outside world was concerned, after Somerset left, Major-General Bourke, who had succeeded Somerset in 1826 as Acting-Governor, with the aid of the Council of Advice, established in 1825 to assist the Governor, agreed that a duty of 2 per cent. ad valorem should be levied on imports of grain; but Earl Bathurst's reply to this was, that, as the Colony was an agricultural community, that duty would not give protection enough to the farmers. A graduated scale of duties was suggested, but did not find favour with Bathurst. (1).
At a subsequent meeting of the Governor-in-Council on May 1, 1826, it was agreed that the agricultural interests of the Colony did not require the protection of heavy duties on the importation of grain from foreign countries, as the distance of those countries from which grain and flour could be obtained rendered it impossible to import from them but at so high a freight charge as to give the grower in the Cape Colony a decided advantage in the home market. It was also agreed that for the purpose of preventing the recurrence of scarcity of wheat and flour - - as there was the year before it was expedient that all prohibitions upon the importation of grain or flour should be finally abandoned, and that a fixed duty of 3 per cent. ad valorem should be laid on all grain or flour imported into the Colony in British or in foreign ships subject in the latter case to the regulations imposed by the Order-in-Council of July, 1820. (2).
In a letter of August 22, 1826, Bathurst did not object to this, but stated that whether the duties were upon a fixed or graduated scale, the Governor should see that the interests of the consumers and of the agriculturalists were thoroughly protected. (3). The only result of Bathurst's advice was, that a fixed instead of an ad valorem duty was levied. (4). The 3 per cent. ad valorem duty was suggested for revenue purposes rather than for purposes of protection; but in levying the duty protection as well as revenue was borne in mind. The fixed duty which was levied was agreed upon as not to
1. Records, Volume 27, pp. 276 — 278.
be higher than 6s. 9d. per load of 10 Cape muids for wheat, and 2s. per barrel of 182 pounds for flour. (1). It was estimated that the mere cost and charges upon a load of foreign wheat, when imported into the Cape Colony from Europe, Bengal, New South Wales or America, exceeded the price at which a load of Cape wheat returned a fair profit to the grower. In addition to this Cape wheat always commanded in the market a price at least 10 per cent. higher than that of the best imported wheat, and 20 per cent. above that of inferior descriptions. The Chairman of the Cape of Good Hope trade Committee, A. Borradaile, estimated (August 21, 1826), that the natural protection to the Cape farmer was then 14s. 8d. per load, or 84 per cent., even if foreign corn were admitted duty-free. (2).
However, the industry at the Cape which was especially looked after, and which was protected like West Indian sugar, and Canadian grain, was Cape wine. This article was protected by means of high import duties at the Cape on the importation of foreign wines, and by receiving a special preference in the English markets. At first, however, heavy duties were levied on Cape wines for revenue purposes on their importation into England. There were frequent appeals from the Colony for the lowering of these duties. (2). This was, however, at first objected to because it was stated that more encouragement given to Cape wines would be prejudicial to the imports of wines from Spain and Madeira, and therefore prejudicial to the revenue, which it was stated was beginning to be defrauded by the export from Europe to the Cape of wine which was then re-exported from there to England under the low duties of Cape wine. (3).
In February, 1824, a memorial was forwarded to the “home” government petitioning them not to increase the duties on imports of Cape wine into the United Kingdom, and not to alter the existing rate of duties on the imports of Cape and foreign wines unfavourably to the Cape trade. (4). Cape wine was to be protected because by the proclamation of Cradock on December 19, 1811, the colonists were urged to produce wine for consumption in England. By an Act of
1. Records, Volume 34, p. 336.
2972 2. Records, Volume 28, p. 117: 1 load Imperial bushels
100 =10 Cape muids.
3. See letter from Bathurst to Somerset, Records, Vol. 11, p. 488. 4. Records, Volume 17, p. 116.
Parliament in July, 1813, Cape wines were actually admitted into England at a rate of duty one-third of that paid on Portuguese and Spanish wines. Now, as the farmers were encouraged by these acts, they invested over 10 million rix-dollars in the wine-industry and thus claimed protection on these grounds. They pleaded that the Cape producer could not compete with the foreign on account of the fact that they had to get their manufactured articles such as hoops, staves and so on, from England. They thus pleaded for a duty no higher than one-third of that paid on Portuguese and Spanish wines - and if possible, a lower duty. (1).
On April 18, 1825, there was another memorial to the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury. This petition stated that since the duties on foreign wines had been reduced, the colonial wine-producer had to take to something else now because they could not compete with foreign producers. It thus petitioned them for a reduction of the duties on Cape aloes on importation into England. The duties on West Indian aloes were 15 per cent. ad valorem, while those on Cape aloes were 200 per cent. ad valorem. They asked for a duty of 25 per cent. ad valorem for a duty of 8d. per hundredweight on importation into England instead of 4s. 9d. actually paid. They also asked for a duty of 3s. per quarter on Cape wheat (2) if Canadian wheat paid 5s. per quarter on account of the greater distance of the Cape. A duty of 5s. per pound weight on ostrich feathers was asked for. It was calculated, that if this duty of 2s. 6d. per gallon on Cape wine was going to be continued, it was going to stagnate labour altogether. (3). The duty was actually reduced to 6d. per gallon, and this, it was stated, afforded inadequate protection.
On June 2, 1825, duties on foreign wines on importation into England were reduced nearly 50 per cent. by an Act of Parliament. This led to another petition from the wine producers and other interested parties in the Cape Colony, in
1. Records, Volume 20, pp. 115 — 121. The duty then paid was. 2s.6d. per gallon on Cape wines, while Portuguese and Spanish wines paid 4s. per gallon. The duty they asked for would have amounted to 1s. 4d. per gallon.
2. On May 3, 1825, the House of Commons resolved that duties. upon wheat from British colonies and plantations in North America were to be abolished. Nothing was said as to Cape wheat, but the Cape was not a large wheat-producing country, and shortages were: frequent. Records, Volume 21, p. 226.
3. Records, Volume 20, p. 357.
which they begged Somerset to act on their behalf. They begged for a reduction of duties paid into the winetaster and wharfmaster's departments and for drawbacks of the market dues upon wine bona-fide exported. (1).
Somerset was keenly interested in the agricultural development of the Colony, and he tried to draw the attention of the Commissioners of Enquiry to the fact that it would be for the improvement of the Colony if there could be a remission of the duties on the staves, iron hoops, and agricultural implements generally. This he stated would do no harm to the revenue, provided England consented to an increase of duties on imports from the United Kingdom into the Cape. (2). He had already, in 1823, tried to protect Cape wines by a proclamation given out on October 10 of that year, which declared that for the protection of Cape brandies and spirituous: liquors an additional duty was to be imposed and levied on all foreign spirituous liquors — except brandies, which was used in the manufacture of Cape wine — imported into the Cape over and above such duties as were levied at that time upon importation thereof. Arrack, rum, gin, and other spirituous liquors had to pay an additional duty of one rix-dollar per gallon over and above the duties otherwise levied. When such goods were for re-exportation they were duty-free and they could be lodged in the Customs Department warehouse and had to be re-exported within 18 months from the date of importation, while only usual charges were paid. (3).. Prior to this foreign brandies, when imported into the Cape, paid 10 per cent. ad valorem, and no drawback was allowed on its re-exportation, whether in the natural state or mixed with Cape wine, for the manufacture of which foreign brandies were used, (4), as was stated above.
Yet Somerset was once more ready to help the colonists, and he wrote to Bathurst to this effect. Bathurst replied to this letter of Somerset, stating that no further reduction of the import duties on Cape wine could be made, and suggested that the export duty, especially that levied in the wine-taster's office — “an establishment which appeared to him more calculated for the regulation of the internal consumption of that article than either useful or necessary in promoting the exportation of it” — should be reduced. (5).
1. Records, Volume 21, p. 379.
In spite of this attitude of the “home” government, the Commissioners of Enquiry also solicited the aid of the Earl of Bathurst in favour of the production of Cape wine and brandy. (1). It was pointed out, that the reduction of the British duty on Cape wine in 1813 to one-third that charged upon Spanish and Portuguese wines had the result, that while in 1811 there were 18,500,000 vine-stocks in the Cape Colony, there were 20,000,000 in 1814 and 27,000,000 in 1819. In 1811 eleven thousand leggers were produced, in 1816 fifteen thousand, and in 1823, over twenty-one thousand. (2). Reductions were also asked for in a memorial on hides and skins, when imported from a British colony; horns when imported from the Cape; whale-oil, which paid 8s. 3d. per ton, when from Southern Greenland and the Davis Straits Fisheries, and 20s, when from the Cape; whale-fins when from the Cape paid, 63s. 4d. per hundredweight, while those from Greenland and Southern Whale Fisheries paid 47s.6d. The memorialists asked for assimilation. Similar requests were made for wool, which paid 1s. per pound, when imported into England from the Cape, while that coming from the British Plantations were admitted free of duty; bees-wax, almonds, timber, spirits, lemon-juice, and other articles were added to the list for which demands were made. (3).
In a petition dated December 1, 1826, to the British Parliament, the Committee of Trade stated that “the heavy imposts and partial restraints on Colonial articles of export, together with the vacillating policy of the Colonial Government, have discouraged enterprise, and greatly injured all classes of the community; the Colonial duty on wine, for example, amounting to about 30 per cent. of its immediate price previous to its exportation... appears to your petitioners to be exorbitant, impolitic, and destructive to the capital of the growers. They asked for the removal of all colonial imposts on wine and other produce exported, a reduction of the rate of duty on Cape wines in England, the admission of Cape spirits to entry for home consumption there at the same rate of duty as was payable on rum produced in Mauritius and in British colonies in the West Indies. They also asked for the admission into Great Britain of Cape wheat on terms similar to those enjoyed by Canadian growers. (4).
1. Records, Volume 24, p. 179.
2. Records, Volume 25, p. 258: One legger = 126 Imperial gallons.
3. Records, Volume 21, pp. 44 — 48.