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HOW THE COLONIAL REVENUES ARE RAISED. “The colonial revenues are derived from four sources: First, taxation proper; second, tariff duties (which in France are put in a class by themselves); third, income from colonial property; and fourth, subventions from the home Government.


“The system of taxation is supposed to be based largely on that of the mother country. Indeed, the colonial tax systems resemble those of the mother country primarily in the fact that by far the greater part of the revenue comes from indirect taxation. But, so far as direct taxes are concerned, the colonies differ in many respects, not only from the mother country, but also from each other. This is due, of course, to the influence of local conditions and of the varying degrees of economic and social development. Common to almost all the colonies is the poll tax, the business tax, the export and import duties, the tax on spirituous liquors, and the stamp tax.

“The direct taxes of the mother country, as is well known, are of four kinds. They comprise the land tax, the 'personal and movables' tax (being a combination of a poll tax with a tax on rentals), the door and window tax, and the business tax. Of these four taxes, that on doors and windows is entirely lacking in the colonies; the personal and movables tax has generally shrunk to a poll tax, while the land tax and the business taxes are assessed on very different principles from those observed at home. The land tax is found, with exceptions, in most of the colonies, but in several it applies only to land on which houses are built, thus becoming virtually a house tax. On the other hand, even where the land tax proper exists, it is not levied, as in France, on the annual revenue, but, as in all primitive land taxes, it is assessed on the area or gross produce. In some cases it even takes the shape of a definite rate on different classes of land. In Tunis and Algiers, moreover, the original Arab land taxes are still in force, and in Algiers no real estate tax at all is levied on Frenchmen. In but one case, that of Réunion, is the tax assessed on property value, and even there it is applied only to houses, the rate being thirty-five one hundredths of 1 per cent. In the Antilles sugar lands are exempt from the land tax, which is there replaced by an export duty on sugar. A similar principle applies to salt lands in New Caledonia, India, and Cochin China.

“Of more fiscal importance than the land tax is the poll tax which, as is well known, has all but disappeared in most modern countries. The poll tax is not found in the Antilles, in the newer African possessions, or in Guinea. In most of these it has been replaced by a tax on rentals. But in the older African and more especially the newer Asiatic possessions the poll tax still forms an important part of the revenue.

“The business tax is modeled quite largely upon the French 'patente,' which at home is composed of a so-called 'droit fixe' and a 'droit proportionnel.' In the colonies, however, it is generally either the one or the other. Practically it is a kind of business license. It is found in almost all of the colonies, although it is not of significance in the so-called old colonies. In addition to these direct taxes, we find almost everywhere the so-called tax for the 'verification of weights and measures, which is in reality nothing but a fee, and which has been rendered necessary by the extension of the decimal system to the colonies. While the poll, land, and business taxes are common to many of the colonies, we also find a few isolated taxes, which are levied only in a single colony, or at most in two or three colonies. Such are the carriage tax in Reunion and India; the boat tax in Cochin China, Anam, and Tonkin; the tax on mine rents in Guinea, and especially in New Caledonia; and finally a kind of income tax from intangible personalty in Martinique and Guadeloupe. This latter tax is, however, for local purposes only.

“In treating of the direct taxes, a word must be said finally about Algiers. Although Algiers, as has already been stated, is treated to a certain extent as a part of France itself, in dealing with fiscal as well as with general administrative principles, a line is drawn between the French citizens proper and the bulk of the native Arab population. In the case of the native population with its entirely different social and economical basis, the revenue system is, as might be expected, completely different. The so-called Arabian taxes to which the native population is still subject are four in number: the hockor, the achour, the zekkat, and the lezma. The hockor is a tax on the lands still held in common, for in Algiers, as in all primitive countries, private property in land is an institution of slow growth. The achour is a tax on the gross produce based mainly on the number of plows. It is still largely paid in kind. The zekkat is a tax on the cattle owned by the nomadic population, while the lezma is in some cases a tax on palm trees and in others a graduated poll tax. In Tunis also the native taxes are still levied.

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INDIRECT TAXES THE IMPORTANT FEATURE OF THE SYSTEM. "Of greater fiscal significance than the direct taxes are the indirect taxes. Here, as in France, the stamp duties play a great rôle. They are found everywhere except in St. Pierre, and include a large variety of transactions. A still greater revenue is afforded by the tax on spirituous liquors, which is levied in almost every colony. Tobacco is not a state monopoly as in France, but is subject to an excise duty in a number of the colonies. In addition to these imposts we find isolated taxes on oil, on fats, on matches, and on playing cards. Indirect taxes on commodities that do not exist in France are the following: On salt fish in Guadeloupe, on native gold in Guinea, on india rubber in Senegal, on rice in Cochin China, on petroleum in St. Pierre, on dynamite in Senegal. Opium forms a colonial monopoly in Cochin China and in Oceania, and is taxed in Guinea and New Caledonia. Salt is everywhere exempt from taxation except in French India, where it forms a colonial monopoly,


“Scarcely less important than the taxes on liquors and tobacco are the tariff duties. These are levied on both imports and exports, and, as has been stated above, are now fixed by the home Government, not by the colonies themselves. The export duties are ordinarily confined to a few important articles. Thus in Martinique we find export duties on sugar and molasses; in Réunion, on the so-called colonial goods (sugar, spices, etc.); in Cochin China, on rice; in Oceania, on mother-of-pearl. The import duties are in general those of the French tariif itself, with a few concessions in the interests of the colonies. In several cases particular commodities are absolutely prohibited in order to protect colonial products. This is true of sugar in Martinique and Indo-China, of rum and molasses in Réunion, and of opium in Indo-China and Mayotte.

THE COLONIES MAY RECOMMEND BUT NOT MAKE THE TARIFF. “Although the home Government is invested with the duty of fixing the tariff for all the colonies, the colonial councils have the right of pointing out to the home Government the modifications which are desirable for each special colony. A few such changes have been made, chiefly in the direction of lower duties or complete exemption; but the deviations from the general French tariff are insignificant. There are only two colonies without tariff duties, namely, Obock and the towns of French India.

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"In addition to the general tariff duties tonnage, navigation, and harbor dues are to be found in almost every colony.

“The purely local and municipal expenses are defrayed to a large extent by the octroi de mer. This is a tax on all kinds of commodities, especially articles of food coming by water. It takes the place of the local octroi in the mother country. The octroi de mer, however, can not be fixed independently by the colonies. They have indeed the right of formulating the tentative scheme, but their decision must obtain the approval of the council of state in Paris, not only as to the tax itself, but also in respect to the methods of administration.

“Of the remaining revenues, in addition to those derived from taxation and tariff duties, the third class comprises the income from colonial property. The most important element in this is the revenue from the postal and telegraph system, which is everywhere a government monopoly. The fourth and final category of colonial revenues is composed of the conventions or subsidies from the home Government which have been considered above.


"From this slight summary it will be seen that the French Government wavers between two lines of policy. On the one hand, the movement toward local autonomy has granted the colonies substantial rights of fixing their own sources of revenue and expenditure in accordance with the dictates of local expediency. On the other hand, the movement toward centralization or so-called assimilation has taken away from the colonies the privilege of levying their own tariffs, and has imposed upon many of the dependencies a system of taxation more suitable to the interests of the mother country than to those of the colonies themselves; has declared certain of the colonial expenditures obligatory; and, finally, has complicated the relations between the colonies and the home Government by a series of subventions on the one hand and of contingents and contributions on the other. The most recent and enlightened colonial administrators themselves plead not only for a simplification of the relations between the colonies and the home Government, but also for a larger share of independence and initiative on the part of the colonies themselves.




Salaries of the minister employees of the central administration ......
Office expense of the central administration.
Expense of printing, publication of documents, and subscriptions
Expenses of telegraphic communications .........
Central bureau of markets ......
Cost of maintenance of colonial service at the ports of entry in France ....
Inspection of the colonies....
Aids (secours) and subventions .....
Subventions to different countries for submarine-cable service.....

102, 000
311, 000

44,500 707,500

Salaries of the civil service.........
Salaries of the judiciary
Religious establishments (personnel des cultes) ..
Salaries of department of public works ..........
Office expense, civil service ....
Traveling expenses by land and sea and accessories..
Permanent exposition of the colonies and commercial information; geographic service..
Participation in the Universal Exposition of 1900.
Missions in the colonies .............
Colonial fellowships (Bourses coloniales) -...
Colonial education (Études coloniales) .......
Emigration of workingmen to the colonies ......
Fourth annual installment of the fourteen installments to agricultural establishments founded by French settlers
Subvention to the local budget of French Kongo......
Subvention to the local budget of Madagascar...
Subvention to the local service of certain colonies ...
Subvention to the railway and ports expenditures of Réunion .....
Subvention to the railways expenditures of the French Soudan ...
Railway from Dakar to St. Louis.


489, 561 1, 470,000 602,000 53,000 17,100 325, 000 43, 400

2,000 210,000 28,000 10,000 75,000

360,000 2, 353,000 1, 800,000

765, 307 2,508, 500

768,000 1, 270, COO



Colonial troops and technical committee ...........
Colonial police.........
Colonial commissariat .....
Maritime registry (inscription maritime)
Colonial auditing .
Sanitary service (salaries) .....
Sanitary seryice (office expenses and material) ...
Subsistence and forage ...

5,799, 372 1,630,000 871,500

60,000 346,000 1,092,000 1, 474,000 3, 310,000

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II. SHIPPING AND CABLE SUBSIDIES. Subvention to New York and West Indian steamship lines, premium for speed

........ 11, 258, 000 Subvention to the Indo-China and Japan lines..


6,033,638 Subvention to the Australia and New Caledonia lines...

3, 108, 936 Subvention to the East African steamship line ......

1, 925, 640 Subvention to the West African steamship line....

500,000 Subvention to the franchised cable company connecting St. Louis in Sénégal and the possessions on the Rio Nunez, Grand Bassam, Porto Novo, and Gabon ........

300,000 Subvention to the franchised cable company connecting France with America and the West Indies ......

400,000 Total.......

......... 23,576, 264


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The statement which follows is from a paper on the “German Colonial Fiscal System in the Far East,” prepared by Mr. Isadore Loeb, and published as a part of a series issued by the American Economic Association in August, 1900, under the title of “Essays in Colonial Finance.”

"The German colonies are of comparatively recent origin. Until the last quarter of the present century the Germans were not in a position to pursue a colonial policy. Lack of internal unity was a bar to the realization of this as well as of other international movements. * * *

· HISTORICAL. "The action of the German Government was hastened by the fact that the African continent was being taken possession of by the other European powers. Germany took an active part in bringing about the Berlin conference of 1884, which resulted in the Kongo act of 1885. This act established the principle of free trade in the valley of the Kongo, and defined the conditions which must exist in order to render valid the future seizures of unoccupied territory in Africa.

No. 9- 23

"A negative policy was not suficient. An active propaganda in favor of the acquisition of colonies was being carried on by individuals and associations in Germany. Before the meeting of the Berlin conference the German Government had commenced to acquire colonies by taking possession of districts through its officials or by granting the protection of the Empire to individuals or associations which had acquired interests in certain territory. By the close of 1885 the following districts had been acquired: Togo, Cameroon, German Southwest Africa, German East Africa, Kaiser Wilhelms land (New Guinea), Bismarck Archipelago, and the . Marshall Islands, including the Brown and Providence islands. In November, 1897, the German Admiral von Diedrichs took possession of Kiauchou Bay in the Chinese province of Shantung. In the resulting treaty of March 6, 1898, China ceded to Germany for a period of ninety-nine years the exercise of all rights of sovereignty in the treaty district. In February of 1899 an agreement was made with Spain for the purchase of the remaining Spanish islands in the Pacific. By the treaty of June 30, 1899, Spain ceded to the German Empire the complete sovereignty over the Caroline Islands and the Palau and Marianne Islands. * * *


“It was not the purpose of the Imperial Government to take over the immediate administration of the colonies. In some of the districts private corporations had concluded agreements with the native rulers, by virtue of which the latter ceded rights of jurisdiction as well as economic privileges. The policy of the German Government was to avoid the development of an expensive machinery of colonial administration by placing the rights and obligations of government in the hands of trading companies which had acquired economic privileges in the territory. This policy was carried out in German East Africa, and in a district including Kaiser Wilhelms Land, Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands. In each district a charter (Schutzbrief) was given to a colonial company, granting or confirming its right to extensive economic privileges and to the exercise of governmental powers with such district. In the Marshall Islands a similar principle was followed; but in this case the administration was to be conducted by imperial officials, the costs of such administration being borne by the company (Jaluitgesellschaft). . "The Government was unable to extend this programme to other districts. The companies which were engaged in undertakings in the other colonies were not organized for the exercise of such functions, and were unwilling to assume such grants of power with the resulting obligations. The companies which had received the charters had not solicited the grant of governmental functions, and were anxious to be relieved therefrom. In 1890 the German East African Company concluded an agreement with the Imperial Government, by virtue of which it renounced all of its governmental rights. Attempts to bring about the same result in the territory governed by the New Guinea Company had failed. The Diet was unwilling to assume the expenses of government while the company retained its extensive economic privileges. Recently, however, a satisfactory agreement was concluded, and on April 1, 1899, the government of the district was taken over by the imperial authorities. Thus all of the colonies became subject to the immediate control of the German Government. * * *


“The imperial chancellor, as the personal and responsible representative of the Emperor, stands at the head of the colonial administration. The entire administrative organization for the colonies has been created by ordinances of the Emperor, the chancellor, and the colonial officials. The colonial department, consisting of a director and a number of councilors and assistants, has supervision and control of the entire colonial administration. It is a division of the foreign office, but is immediately responsible to the chancellor in all matters affecting the internal administration of the colonies. In matters affecting foreign relations the department is subject to the foreign office. There also exists a colonial council, the members of which are appointed by the chancellor from those who are exceptionally qualified for the consideration of colonial matters. The colonial council considers measures affecting the administration of the colonies and gives opinions upon questions and policies that are submitted to it. It passes upon the draft budget of the colonies.

"The administrative organization in the individual colonies varies with the development of the colony. In each of the colonies a governor is placed at the head of the administration. The governor is provided with officials for the judicial, financial, and general administration. A colonial military force exists in nearly all of the colonies. Where the colony has been divided into districts an official is placed at the head of the local administration, and the same is true of the municipal organizations.

“The governor in each of the colonies, and in German East Africa the chief justice and the chief of the financial administration, receives an imperial commission. The other officials are commissioned by the chancellor in the name of the Emperor. The chancellor may delegate this function to the governor so far as it applies to subordinate officials. Natives assist in the local administration, and a large item in each budget is for the payment of the services of colored employees.

“No particular provisions exist respecting the training or preparation of colonial officials. The policy of the administration has been to take officials from the home departments, which insures the necessary technical training. For colonial officials this is not sufficient. It is in the highest degree essential that they should possess a knowledge of the language and characteristics of the natives with whom they will have to do. A knowledge of the special geographical features, including climatic conditions, will materially promote their capacity for successful administration. While the Government has not adopted compulsory provisions, it has provided ample means to enable persons to acquire such information and preparation. The Oriental Seminar, which was established by the Prussian Government in 1887 and is connected with the University in Berlin, offers exceptional facilities for instruction in the languages of oriental nations and the native languages of the German colonies. In the winter-semester, 1899–1900, sixty-one courses were offered, embracing fifteen languages. Instruction is also given in tropical hygiene, geography of the African colonies, and economic botany of the Tropics. Persons preparing for the colonial service have taken advantage of these opportunities, and it may be expected that in the course of time colonial officials will be required to have such preparation. * * *

"The ordinances affecting the internal administration of the colony are in general issued by the governor of the colony, though subordinate officials have the right to issue police regulations. This ordinance power has been utilized by the governors in matters affecting the public peace, health, and the economic development of the colonies. The use and acquisition of public or unoccupied lands, inines, forests, etc., and the carrying on of certain occupations, trades, and industries are subject to particular regulations.

“Of particular interest have been the ordinances affecting the native population. In some cases, where agreements were made with native chiefs, the jurisdiction over the natives was reserved to such leaders. Even where this is not the case the policy of the Government has been to respect the customs of the natives and to subject them very gradually to the operation of the laws regulating the legal relations of the white population. Native chiefs are utilized in the administration of affairs affecting the natives. Moreover,

the Government has recognized the obligation of protecting the natives in their dealings with the more intelligent and the less scrupulous · white persons. Considerations of public safety as well as the interests of the natives have led to the prohibition or regulation of the sale of intoxicating liquors or of firearms to the natives. Particular rules are provided for the determination of contracts of sale, debt, pledge, etc., when a native is the party bound by the contract. Contracts for the employment of natives and for their transportation out of the colony are subject to governmental approval, and the latter are generally forbidden. Slave trading is prohibited. Slavery and polygamy are tolerated where the Government has undertaken to respect the customs of the natives, but the tendency is to eliminate both of these institutions. * * *






As previously indicated, the determination of the revenue so far as it arises from colonial sources, excluding loans, is within the . control of the Emperor. It is, of course, possible for the imperal legislature to establish in the colonial budget a different income from that estimated, but this would take the form of the determination of a lump sum rather than the establishment or modification of a particular source of income. So long as the executive has the general power of colonial taxation, it is improbable that the legislature will undertake to determine the character or amount of the income.

"The inhabitants of the colony have no voice in the determination of the source or amount of the revenue. The governor determines such matters, subject to the power of the home authorities to overrule or modify his acts.

“No disposition is manifested to accord the citizens of the mother country any privileges in connection with the revenue system. So far as the Kongo act applies, such privileges would be subject to limitation. In certain colonies the citizens of foreign states have by treaty the right to the enjoyment of the same privileges as are accorded to German citizens. Certain colonial companies were granted extensive economic privileges as a return for the assumption of the costs and burdens of administration as well as the exploration and development of the colony. In so far as these privileges still exist they are limited to the right to take possession of unoccupied land, to mining and fishing privileges, etc. * * *

The colonial revenue may be divided into two classes, according to the sources from which it is derived: (1) Revenue derived from colonial sources; (2) subventions from the mother country.

"1. Revenue derived from colonial sources.—Colonial sources of revenue may be classified: (a) Taxation; (6) fees; (c) public property.

(a) Taxation. (1) Direct taxes: Direct taxes have not constituted an important source of income; but there is a tendency to extend this species of taxation. The business or occupation tax was introduced at an early date in some of the colonies and has been gradually extended with the progress of economic development until it exists in nearly all of them. * * *

“The house tax has also been recently introduced in German East Africa. For the purposes of the tax, houses are divided into two general classes: I. Houses built according to European, Hindu, or Arabian models; II. Houses and huts built according to native customs.

“Each of these classes is subdivided into (a) Urban houses and (6) Houses in the country.”

The annual tax rate is as follows: Class I (a) 5 per cent of the rental value, not to exceed 100 R.; Class I (6) 3 grades, 10 R., 20 R., 30 R.; Class II (a) 2 grades, 6 R., 12 R., Class II, (6) 3 R.

"An interesting feature is that in Class II payment of the taxes may be made 'in natura. As such are recognized the fruit of certain nut-bearing trees and labor. In the interior grain furnished the overland caravans may also be rendered in payment of the tax. * * *

(2) Indirect taxes: Customs form the chief source of revenue from taxation. In German East Africa, Southwest Africa, and New Guinea both export and import duties exist, while in Cameroon and Togo only the latter are imposed. The rates are in general determined by revenue considerations alone. The ad valorem duties range from 11 to 20 per cent. Specific duties are used to some extent in all of the colonies and are the rule in New Guinea, where the duties are limited, applying only to imports of liquors and exports of copra."


The statement which follows is from a paper on the Spanish Colonial Policy, prepared by Prof. Frank W. Blackmar, and published as & part of a series issued by the American Economic Association in August, 1900, under the title of “Essays in Colonial Finance:"

66 * * * It is easy to infer what the colonial financial system of Spain must have been under the conditions of government like those that have been pictured. That the colonies existed for exploitation by the home Government may not have been fully acknowledged, but was practically carried out by the methods in vogue.


- The colonies were managed as a part of the realm, and the national Government was responsible for their expenditures even as a father is responsible for his minor children. It was but natural that all incomes arising out of the colonies, or in any way accruing on account of them, should flow directly into the Spanish treasury. The small show of local government demanded little expense, and few taxes were collected and expended on local authority. The tax on the imported goods went on increasing irom year to year, in accordance with the needs of the home Government. This tax on exports and imports fell heavily, both on the proprietors and the Indians. In the seventeenth century Spain demanded duties on playing cards, alum, copper, hides, quicksilver, gunpowder, ice, and salt. In addition to this were the duties on silver and gold and pulque-a drink used by the natives. The Bull for the crusade was collected every two years of every inhabitant. The acabala, or the tax on the sale of effects, was 5 per cent, and later increased to 14. The duty on the exportation and importation of merchandise (almajanfazgo) averaged about 15 per cent. The tax for the convoy of ships averaged about 2 per cent of the value of the freight payable by the importer.


But taxation did not stop here, for the tax on the right to coin money flowed into the King's coffers along with one-fifth of the income of mines, which was later reduced to one-tenth. Also with these went one-half of the ecclesiastical annates and the King's ninth collected from the bishoprics. Nor did the Indians escape on account of their social differences, for each one paid 32 silver reals

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