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This treaty was to last for 6 years. On December 11, 1875, it was renewed for 20 years at Lisbon, (1), and again in 1909 (April 21), for 10 years. (2). By Article 32 it was provided that “the products of the soil of the Province of Mozambique should not be liable to the payment of any import, export or transit dues in the Transvaal and vice versa. (3). This treaty of friendship and commerce with Portugal was very important both for the effect it had on the natural development of the Transvaal and upon the later position of the country in connection with the customs union between the various South African states and colonies. It enabled the Transvaal to develop in the direction of Lorenco Marques, its natural harbour. It also enabled the Transvaal to take up a very independent attitude when the other colonies and the Free State were working for a South African Customs Union.
The Transvaal began by levying its customs duties purely for revenue purposes. According to a resolution of the Volksraad on May 31, 1871, a duty of 13 per cent. was levied on furniture, musical instruments and jewellery. (4). In 1876 duties were increased for revenue purposes. The Commission appointed for investigating the matter did not recommend very high duties as they “wished to facilitate trade as far as possible.” (5).
Meanwhile the Transvaal had been annexed in 1877 and the War of Independence of 1881 had followed. By Article 25 of the Convention between Great Britain and the Transvaal it was agreed (6) "that no other or higher import duties should be imposed on the importation into the Transvaal of any article, the produce or manufacture of the possessions of Her Majesty, than those payable on similar articles, the produce or manufacture of any other country, nor should any duties be imposed or remain valid on the importation of any article, the produce or manufacture of the possessions of Her Majesty, which should not likewise be imposed on the importation of similar goods, the produce or manufacture of any other country.” This article is important as will become
1. State Papers, Volume 67, pp. 1,256 — 1,265.
3. For a list of the commercial treaties of the Transvaal, and for more details, see Appendix 3.
4. Locale Wetten der Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek, 1849 — 1885,
5. Ibid., p. 660. See also p. 1,259, Article 13.
clear later when the attempts at closer union come up for discussion.
After the War Law No. 2 of 1881 was passed. By this law a general duty of 5 per cent. ad valorem was imposed on all articles. Over and above this duty moderate specific duties were imposed on a few dozen articles. (1). The general characteristics of this tariff are that luxuries were taxed fairly high. Various alterations were made in the following year. (2). In this tariff
sees for the first time definitely, that attention was longer paid only to the revenue requirements, but that the tariff was framed in such a way as to (a) press more heavily on luxuries than on other articles of necessity; (b) to afford protection to the industries of the country. Agricultural machinery and machinery for factories were allowed duty-free importation. Mining machinery, however, paid a duty of 15 per cent. ad valorem. (3). Live-stock were likewise allowed duty-free importation. Later on there was an application for the reduction of the duty on mining machinery from 15 per cent. to 5 per cent., but this the Volksraad refused to do. (4). However, by Article 58 of law No. 8 of 1885, mining machinery and parts thereof were allowed importation under a duty of 5 per cent. ad valorem. (5).
The South African Republic was impoverished after the war of 1881 and the war with Sikukuni, and the only way to fill the Treasury was by means of indirect taxation. The result was that the tariff was revised on the basis given above. (6). The financial difficulties of the Republic even led it to levy duties on several articles of Colonial produce, for example, tobacco, flour, beer and especially brandy, on which a duty of 6s. per gallon was levied. Up to this time none of the South African states or colonies levied any duties on the produce of the others. The Cape Government retaliated by the Act No. 22 of 1884, which made all South African products duty-free on importation into the Cape, but made an exception
1. Locale Wetten, 1849 - 1885, p. 1,023.
3. Resolution of the Volksraad, July 25, 1883. See Locale Wetten, p. 1,225.
4. Resolution of the Volksraad of May 27, 1885, Art. 218; Ibid., p. 1,327.
5. Ibid., p. 1,377.
in the of certain specified articles of Transvaal produce. (1).
Here the difficulty begins. The other serious difficulty in the situation was the fact that the Transvaal and the Orange Free State did not receive any import dues collected on goods passing through the Cape and Natal ports en route to the Republics. The inland Republics felt that they were entitled to a share of the duties so collected, “and we find that the justice of the principle was recognized as early as 1849, shortly after the proclamation of the [Orange River] Sovereignty (1847], when Sir Harry Smith, then Governor of the Cape Colony, persuaded his Council to remit the debt of a few thousand pounds sterling, which the Free State Government had incurred, on the ground that the colonial revenue was substantially benefitted by the duties levied on goods destined for the farmers living North of the Orange River.”' (2).
When Sir George Clerk, the Special High Commissioner of Her Majesty, was conducting the negotiations for the independence of the Orange Free State in 1854, the delegates stipulated that no proposals for the formation of an independent government were to be entertained until, inter alia, the “share justly belonging (to) the Sovereignty of the customs dues received at the ports of the Cape Colony or Natal, or the cession of a port in either of these colonies shall have been adjusted.” (3). By Article 8 of the Bloemfontein Convention, which recognized the independence of the Orange Free State, the Special Commissioner of Her Majesty undertook to recommend to the Colonial Government: “That privileges of a liberal character in connection with duties generally be granted to the Orange River Government as measures, in regard to which it is entitled to be treated with every indulgence in consideration of its peculiar position and distance from the sea-ports." (4).
But though the principle was recognized, it was not carried into effect. The money was never paid. The Orange ree State pressed the matter very often, but without success. “In 1854, 1855, 1856, and in 1858 the Free State put in its claim, and in every case it was received sympathetically, and with a promise of favourable consideration. Parliament went so far as to appoint a Committee, which determined the amount due
1. See Resolutions of the Volksraad of October 21 and 22, 1881, and J. H. Hofmeyr: The Life of J. H. Hofmeyr.
2. See J. H. Hofmeyr: The Life of J, H, Hofmeyr, Chapter 9.
3. Dr. W. J. Leyds: The First Annexation of the Transvaal, p. 91. This condition was evaded in the final agreement.
4. See Eybers: Select Constitutional Documents, p. 284,
the Republic, but the report was never considered and the money was never paid. Finally, in 1862, the President himself, with the State Secretary, visited Cape Town to interview the Governor. But on this occasion their representations met with less courteous reception. Sir Philip Wodehouse was no friend of the Republics, and he attempted to show, that the Free State had no claim at all, as it reaped great advantage from the presence of British troops in South Africa. The result was, that though the matter was referred to Parliament, it was smothered in the Assembly... The representatives of the Republic returned discouraged, and for the next 21 years, during all the Basuto troubles... and threatening bankruptcy, they held their peace, till in 1883 Sir John Brand [the President of the Free State) once again brought the matter before the notice of the Colonial Government.” (1).
No immediate action was taken on the matter, but after the general elections had been held in the Colony the position had somewhat changed. The Orange Free State had started to take advantage of the low customs of Natal, and had begun to import her wares through Natal instead of through Cape ports. This almost forced the Cape to change her policy. In 1884, thus, a select committee brought out a report to the effect “that as a temporary measure a rebate to the extent of the difference between the tariff of this Colony and that of Natal might be allowed upon all goods forwarded under seal out of the bonded warehouses to countries beyond the borders of the Colony." (2). To this resolution effect was given, but the Free State was not satisfied with this arrangement, and in the next chapter the following step in the solution of the difficulties will come up for consideration.
Speaking of this policy in connection with the Transvaal, Dr. Leyds says: ...“'In spite of repeated protests, customs duties very different from transit duties were collected on all goods passing to the Transvaal and the Free State through the Colony or Natal, and... neither of these Colonies gave the Republics any share of the proceeds. It was a most unfair arrangement... Lord Carnarvon showed that he realized perfectly, when it suited his policy to do so, how unfair such an arrangement was. After the Kimberley district (the diamond mines) had been taken from the Free State, it was governed directly from Downing Street as a separate province known as Griqualand West. The arrangement proved embarrassing, and Lord Carnarvon became anxious to incorporate his province
1. J. H. Hofmeyr:
The Life of J. H. Hofmeyr, Ch. 19.
with the Cape Colony. In a despatch to Mr. Molteno, the first Prime Minister of the Cape, he declared (1876) that unless Griqualand West were incorporated in this way, it would at least be necessary to make some provision by which “the payment to the province of the Customs dues levied in ports of Cape Colony upon goods consumed in the province' would be guaranteed.” (1).
Before we go over to the discussion of the solution of the difficulties above enumerated, it might be well briefly to touch on the nature of the Transvaal tariff from now on till the time of the Customs Union of 1903. As was noted above, as early as 1882 one could find traces of protectionism in the Transvaal tariff. The financial depression, which stuck to the Republic, made necessary a very high tariff. On June 14, 1888, a resolution of the Volksraad was passed, which imposed the following more important duties (2) There was a general ad valorem duty of 5 per cent. Over and above this all machinery paid 11 per cent. ; gold, silver or jewellery wares paid 25 per cent.; biscuits and cake, 50s. per 100 pounds; pork and lard, 100s. per 100 pounds; cigars per 100, 15s. Many of these duties were high enough to serve the ends of protection. As early as the middle of the eighties the duties on butter, cheese, confectionary, chicory, biscuits, cakes and pork were extremely high. (3). Dynamite paid 1d. per pound. This was raised to 3d. in 1892. By Article 5 of law No. 20 of 1892, it was also enacted as follows: “Nobody shall import merchandise into the Transvaal Republic through any other 'port' than that established by the President through proclamation in the Staatscourant." (4). This is very important in connection with the “drift” question which will be touched upon later.
In 1894 a very important revision of the Transvaal tariff took place. (5). In this tariff again articles of luxuary were taxed heavily. A general duty of 74 per cent ad valorem was imposed on all articles not specifically excluded from customs duty altogether. As an example of articles specially exempted
1. Dr. W. J. Leyds: The First Annexation of the Transvaal, p. 91; see also “The Life of Molteno," Volume 2, p. 96.
2. Locale Wetten der Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek, 1888 – 1889, pp. 52 — 53.
3. Ibid. for 1886 1887, alteration of the Law No. 6, of 1882, pp. 34 — 35.
4. See Proclamation dated Pretoria, November 28, 1892: Locale Wetten for 1890 — 1893, pp. 562 - 565.
5. Law No. 4 of 1894: Locale Wetten for 1894, pp. 22 — 29.