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Rum, gin, brandy, whisky, and every sort of alcoholic spirits containing not more than 40 per cent. of alcohol..

Pure alcohol by physicians..

..per gallon..



Liquors containing alcohol, 10 per cent. added to every additional degree above 40°


Ad valorem duties:

Upon all and every other species of goods, wares, merchandise imported into the Republic of Liberia, 12 cents ad valorem

.... per cent..

Transient traders, upon said goods 9 per cent. upon actual amount of sales...

Export duties:

Palm oil

Palm kernels..

Ivory, on the value

Cam-wood, on the value

...per cent..

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Calabar beans..

per pound..

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per pound.. J. H. SMYTH,



Monrovia, February 21, 1884.


Report by Consul Siler on the commerce and industries of Cape Colony during the year 1883.

At the close of last year a belief was universal that the worst of the financial depression which had scourged the country for two years preceding had spent itself; and that with the advent of the new year, trade would revive and commerce resume its wonted vigor and activity in South Africa. These expectations have not been realized. The year 1882, burdened with a legacy of scarcity and financial troubles of the preceding year, and with its own embarrassments of short crops and a fearful small-pox epidemic superadded, proved the most trying through which the colony had ever passed; and while the first two months of the present year showed signs of better times, the indication proved but transitory; and at the present writing, little if any improvement on the depression of last year can be discerned. Recuperation will necessarily be slow and tedious, and will depend in a great measure upon the yield of the products of the colony for the next year or two.

The causes which have culminated in the past and present unsatisfactory state of things here cannot be better expressed than by quoting the words of the colonial treasurer-general, used in his financial report to the house of assembly, on July 17, last. He said:

Various circumstances have combined to cause this serious depression; among which may be enumerated the severe outbreak of small-pox in the early part of 1882, which, by the necessity that arose of proclaiming and enforcing quarantine laws, caused a very serious impediment to trade. Then the cessation of the lavish war expenditure has no doubt materially contributed in many ways to these results; enormous indents for supplies had swollen the imports abnormally, and I believe that I am within the mark in saying that importers had overshot the requirements of trade by nearly one year's supply of goods. But the chief cause of the depression originated in the diamond mining districts, where speculation in shares of the various mining companies had become quite a mania, and where the diamond industry has been brought to a state of semi-stagnation.


The revenue of the colony is derived, first, from the customs, reaching in 1880-'81 the sum of $5,762,296.12, this sum being increased in the following year to $6,528,317.28. The item of next importance is that of government railway receipts, which rose during the same period from $3,597,341.13 to $4,705,204.72; a great proportion of the increase, however, being due to the extension of railways, a matter with which I shall have to deal further on. The land revenue during the period above named advanced from upwards of $778,640 to $876,582. The other principal sources of revenue are a real estate transfer duty of 2 per cent., bringing in 1880-'81 $627,778, and in 1881-'82 $710,509, revenue stamps increasing in the same time from $510,982.50 to $637,711. There are also succession duties, auction duties, bank-note duties, mines, telegraphic receipts, excise, crown land sales, &c., contributing to the general revenue.

The total revenue of the colony was in 1880-'81 $14,648,018.95, and in 1881-82 $17,153,721.45, giving a net increase of $2,505,702.45. The approximate result of (unaudited) revenue derived from direct and indirect taxation during the year ending June 30, 1883, was a fraction

over $16,059,400, being less by upwards of $1,323,600 than the estimate, and a falling off of over $1,099,000 from the return of the previous year.


The colonial expenditure for the year 1881-82 reached the sum of $15,966,339, whereas the expenditure for 1882-'83, amounted to upwards of $18,000,000, and the war expenditure, not embraced in the last figures, to $875,000. The expenditure for war purposes was not included in the figures given for 1881-'82.


Taking a comparative basis of five years, the imports for home consumption were, from 1873 to 1878, inclusive, $130,034, 135, and from 1878 to 1882, inclusive, $188,633,915, showing an increase of $58,599,780. For the same periods the colonial produce exported amounted in value to $92,126,309 and to $95,964,635, respectively. For the year 1882 the imports of merchandise were $41,762,635, while the entries for consumption for same period were $11,150,097, as against $42,592,401 in 1881, showing a falling off of $1,442,304. The falling off of imports is not large, and is principally in such articles as agricultural implements, ale, beer, butter, watches and jewelry, coffee, barley, flour, maize, oats, cotton manufactures, hardware, cutlery, machinery, saddlery, soap, wines, and wood; while the following articles have shown a considerable increase: Apothecary ware, apparel, slops, bags, cabinet ware, wheat, dynamite and blasting compounds, sheet iron, leather manufactures, musical instruments, mineral oil, paints and colors, sugar and woolen manufactures. The total value of colonial exports for the year 1882 was $21,051,702 being about 5 per cent. in excess of the previous year. The whole of this increase is due to the western province. The articles which show an increase last year are copper ore, ostrich feathers, sheep skins, goat skins, and hides; while there was a decline in wool. The greatest increase in the five years are ostrich feathers, showing an increase of $13,201,846, and Angora hair, of $2,164,648. In this report it is impossible to estimate with any degree of accuracy the increased value of diamonds exported; but hereafter will be found a return of the estimated value, by the collector of customs of this port, for the years 1876 to 1883.

Apart from diamonds, the most valuable export of the colony is wool; and during the quinquennial period just quoted the export has fallen off considerably, the decrease in fleece washed being upwards of 12,000,000 pounds, and of scoured 7,000,000 pounds, whilst the output of greased wool has increased by some 18,000,000 pounds. These facts indicate a falling off of the wool-washing industry, and also show that, as the increase in the export of grease wool does not counterbalance in weight that of the decrease of fleece washed and scoured, there has been a falling off of production. Of manufactures the colony can claim little, if any export-the exports sent to other countries consisting almost entirely of the crude products of the soil, the herd, and the mines, while the colonists must be supplied from abroad with agricultural implements, cabinet work, upholstery, watches, carriages and carts, cotton and stuff goods, ale, beer, wines and spirits, earthenware, gunpowder and guns, hardware, jewelry, machinery, nautical instruments, mineral oils, plated ware, saddlery, stationery, tin ware, tobacco, &c. The United States enjoy a part of this trade, and with direct monthly steam communication might within a very brief period of time take the lead.

14708 C R, PT 2-8.


Cape Town is the only port in South Africa possessing proper dock accommodations, including, as I described in my annual report for last year, a splendid graving dock. At the ports of East London and Port Elizabeth, both open roadsteads, harbor works are in process of construction.

The shipping reports for the several ports of the colony for the years. 1881 and 1882 show the following result:

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At Cape Town the number of steamers and sailing vessels calling, exclusive of coasters, during the year 1882 was 587-413 being sailing vessels, and 174 steamers. The cargoes of the sailing vessels, exclusive of those calling for repairs and supplies, were as follows: General, 57; wheat, 58; coal, 128; pine lumber, 56; sugar, 39; coffee, 8; sundries, 3; dates, 2; railway sleepers, 10; salt, 2; mules, 2; tea, 1; ballast, 1. The number of American vessels calling at this port during the year was 12, with tonnage of 8,393.


The deficit in the revenue in the last financial year induced the gov ernment to cast about for other means of raising money. Several schemes were suggested, but nothing seemed to find favor with the colonial parliament except an all-round increase in the customs dues. The then existing tariff was an all-round ad valorem duty of 10 per cent., with special rates for certain articles. A bill has lately been passed (of which I have already advised the Department) increasing these duties by 15 per cent.; and wine, spirits, ale, beer, tobacco, snuff, mineral oils, jewelry, and some other articles have had special imposts placed upon them. As the sister colony of Natal, with nearly equal facilities for interior traffic, has a much larger customs traffic, a falling off in the interior trade of this colony is in some quarters predicted; but the higher rates having just come into operation, it is difficult to determine at this time what the ultimate effects may be. Last year the Cape government established at Kimberley an inland custom-house, thereby cutting off a considerable portion of the Natal trade with that



The absence of reliable statistical information respecting the produce of the colony makes it difficult to give more than a rough calculation as to the extent of agriculture and other industries. The last census of the colony was taken in 1875, and I have given in former reports such information as could be derived from it at that time. Many branches of industry have largely increased, perhaps the most prominent of which might be mentioned, ostrich farming.

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