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Mr. Alleyne Ireland, writing in 1900 upon the question of trade and the flag, says that the history of the trade of England in recent years does not indicate a more rapid growth of commerce with the colonies than with other parts of the world. The value of importations into the United Kingdom from British colonies and possessions, he says, has increased during the past forty years at about the same rate as the value of the total importations of the United Kingdom. The value of exports of produce and manufactures of the United Kingdom to the British colonies has increased at about the same rate as the value of the total exports of the produce and manufactures of the United Kingdom during the past forty years. The imports into France from her colonies and possessions, however, are steadily increasing. In 1877 the value of colonial imports was 4.5 per cent of the value of the total imports; in 1896 the proportion was 10 per cent. The exports of produce and manufactures of France to French colonies and possessions are also steadily increasing. In 1877 the value of such exports from France was 5.1 per cent of the total exports of French produce and manufactures, and in 1896 the proportion was 9.8 per cent. To this it may be added that the 1899 figures show that the percentage of French produce and manufactures exported to the colonies was 11.4 per cent of the total exports of France.
COMMERCE OF THE PRINCIPAL COLONIZING NATIONS WITH THEIR COLONIES. An examination of the table of exports of the three principal colonizing nations of the world at the present day to their respective colonies and of their total exports in each case shows that the exports of the Netherlands to her colonies have not increased as rapidly as her exports to other parts of the world; that those of the United Kingdom to her colonies have increased somewhat more rapidly than those to other parts of the world, and that those of France to her colonies show a much larger proportionate gain than those to other parts of the world.
The following table shows the exports from the United Kingdom to her colonies and to all countries other than British colonies at quinquennial periods from 1840 to 1901:
The following presents the special exports from France to her colonies and to all countries other than French colonies in the years 1887, 1896, 1899, 1900, and 1901. It shows that while the exports of France to her colonies have increased during that period about 144 per cent, the exports to all other countries have meantime increased but 15.3 per cent.
PRINCIPAL IMPORTS OF THE FRENCH COLONIES.
............. $10, 104, 917 | Live animals........ Spirits, wines, etc....
4,858, 154 Vegetables, fruits, and seeds... Cereals and flour......
Arms and ammunition....... Colonial products .....
3, 144, 032 Furniture and woodwork Machinery, hardware, etc.......
2,977, 700 Dressed skins and furs..... Building stone, combustibles, etc..
2,477, 472 Drugs ...... Animal products, hides, etc ....
2, 162,551 Coloring matters ..... Yarns and threads ........
1,812, 207 Clothing.... Oils and vegetable essences....
1,536, 537 Matting, wickerwork, etc Metals...
1,485, 202 Dyes .. Chemical products ......
1, 268, 507 Vegetable fibers, etc. Fish.
917, 754 Musical instruments. Paper, printed matter, etc...
862, 504 Sundry products and manufactures. Pottery and glassware ..
747, 621 Timber......
The following table shows the exports from the Netherlands to her East Indian colonies and to the entire world at intervals from 1884 to 1899. It will be seen that the total exports have increased more rapidly than those to her colonies, the increase in exports to all countries being about 85 per cent in the period under consideration, and those to the colonies about 58 per cent:
A recent London letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer has the following:
“It will amaze a very large number of the mercantile public, even though they be well posted in trade statistics, to learn what an enormously valuable asset in England's trade is the colonial business. A leading journal that battles strongly for British trade, and which is kept busy in pointing out to British traders what their American and German rivals are doing to best them in the race for commercial supremacy, says that it must again call attention to the great subject of union with the colonies.
“We advert to it once again,' writes the editor, “because we think the present a favorable opportunity to take a long step forward. Interested in the question in its commercial aspect chiefly there seems to us two reasons, overpowering in their nature, why policy no less than patriotism demands the closest possible combination among the peoples of the Empire. In the first place the colonies, taken as a whole, occupy the second place among the traders of the world. Without going into detail, confining ourselves to the chief participants in the traffic, and assuming for the present that the total of their interchanges may be represented by round numbers, say 2,000, the shares of the several holders stand thus:
"In these circumstances can anyone entertain a doubt where lies the chief interest of England as a mercantile community? The merest exigencies of trade call upon us to cultivate by all means the closest relations with the Empire over sea. High as is the position they have now attained, we should not forget that the British colonies are that portion of the world which is developing most rapidly in all things that make for national greatness, and that their resources, far from being exhausted, are but beginning to be exploited. Is it not patent that, if we had shown one-half the zeal in gaining the affections of the colonies and binding them to us that we have lavished on France, the United States, and Germany during the last thirty years, the Empire, vast as it is, would be to-day immeasurably richer, immeasurably more powerful?
“The colonies, I may add, most certainly are England's best customers, as is shown in Mr. Mulhall's paper on British trade in the March Contemporary. Take some figures for the last decade, 1889–1898. England's aggregate interchanges, export and import, with great industrial communities, were as follows:
The British colonies ....
...... 4,693,000,000 wThus England's colonial trade shows an excess of £389,000,000 over her United States trade, an excess of £924,000,000 over that with Germany, and of £1,106,000,000 over the French trade in the space of ten years. The contrast is still more striking if one divides the aggregates according to exports and imports. It is well known how England's sales to European nations dwindle year by year under the operation of hostile and commercial restrictions. Take the United States for the period under review. Her account gives the following result:
Purchases from the United States ......................................................... £1,019,000,000
Total ............................................................................. 1,399, 000,
- £949,000,000 Sales to the colonies ............. ...................
Total ..................................................................... ...... 1,788,000,000 "It will be seen by the above statement that the United Kingdom finds her colonies by far her largest customer.'”
COMPARISON OF ENGLAND'S COMMERCE WITH HER COLONIES AND WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.
But there is another standpoint from which to examine the question of the commerce between the mother country and the colony, and eqally important with that which considers only the relative growth of the colonial and foreign commerce of the country. The question is not only how much market the mother country finds in the colony, or how much material she draws from it to meet her recurring requirements, but also how little she would sell to it or buy from it if the territory were under control of some other country
ying that this would be true in one sense or another; that all inhabited territory, if not a colony of a given country, would be either a colony of some other country or an independent nation.
WHAT THE COMMERCE WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD NOT THE COLONIAL RELATIONSHIP EXISTED.
It is important, therefore, to measure not only the commerce of the mother country with the colony, but to determine what it would have been without the colonial relationship and the gain by reason of the colonial relationship.
To determine this we must know the share which the mother country supplies of the commerce of the colony and the share which it supplies of the commerce of the other countries of the world; and if it supplies a larger proportion of the commerce of the colony than of the independent countries of the world or their colonies, it may be assumed that the mother country is the gainer commercially by about the difference between the two. If, for example, Great Britain supplies one-fifth of the imports of the independent countries of the world, and at the same time supplies two-fifths of the imports of her own colonies, it is reasonable to assume at least a part of the large share supplied in the imports of the colonies is gained by reason of the colonial relationship, and by determining the total value of the colonial imports from the mother country it is practicable to approximately determine what amount is drawn from the mother country because of the colonial relationship. The table which follows shows the total exports of each of the three countries having important colonial possessions—the United Kingdcon, France, and the Netherlands--and the proportion of those exports sent to the colonies and to the foreign world. These figures relate to the year 1897 only, but for general purposes of comparison and study are of equal value with those of earlier or later years.
EXPORTS OF THE PRINCIPAL COLONIZING COUNTRIES AND THE SHARE WHICH THEY FORMED OF THE IMPORTS OF THE COLONIES AND OF
FOREIGN COUNTRIES, RESPECTIVELY.
The table which immediately follows shows the total imports of the colonies and the share drawn respectively from the mother country and from the foreign world.
IMPORTS OF COLONIES AND SHARE TAKEN FROM THE MOTHER COUNTRY AND FROM THE FOREIGN WORLD, RESPECTIVELY.
Still another table shows the total imports and exports of the United Kingdom from 1870 to 1900, inclusive, and the amount imported from and exported to her colonies during the same period.
IMPORTS AND EXPORTS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM FROM 1870 to 1900 AND THE AMOUNT DRAWN FROM OR SENT TO HER COLONIIS.
Dollars. 315, 506, 938 354, 984, 010 386, 267, 989 394, 235, 759 399,845, 456 410, 849, 255 410, 404,481 435, 814,531 379, 810, 859 384, 174, 348 450, 242, 765 445, 477, 755 483, 880, 460 480, 233, 544 466, 273, 531 410, 741, 034 398, 488, 695 407, 806, 203 422, 975, 439 473, 345, 335 467, 968, 548 484, 045, 050 475, 779, 718 446, 596, 048 457, 023, 556 464,897, 767 453, 596, 875 457, 543, 137 483, 895, 391 519,884, 764 533,030, 835
Dollars. 269, 561, 917 270, 389, 037 319, 287, 259 346, 240, 316 379, 149, 151 373, 041, 611 341, 384, 435 368, 647, 838 350, 352, 514 323, 665, 917 396, 753, 915 421, 834, 021 449, 361, 013 439, 933, 016 429, 729, 630 416, 034, 710 400, 184, 346 400, 367, 265 446, 393, 791 442,053, 886 459, 993, 595 454, 329, 956 395, 215, 964 382, 425, 688 382, 438, 613 370, 205, 123 441, 148, 230 423, 212, 102 438, 523, 897 458, 665, 659 496, 500, 059
GREAT BRITAIN OBTAINS A MUCH LARGER SHARE OF THE COMMERCE OF HER COLONIES THAN SHE DOES OF THAT OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES. A study of the three preceding tables presents some interesting and striking facts
eresting and striking facts with reference to the relative share which the great colonizing countries supply of the imports of their colonies and of those parts of the world which do not bear colonial relationship to them. The total exports of the United Kingdom in the year in question (1897) were $1,431,598,345 in value, and of that sum 29.56 per cent went to her colonies and 70.44 per cent to the foreign world. The exports to the colonies alone were $423,212,102, and these formed 34.8 per cent of the imports of the colonies. Her exports to the foreign world were $1,008,386,243, and they formed 13.04 per cent of the imports of the foreign world or of the independent countries of the world and their colonies as distinguished from the colonies of the mother country. Thus the United Kingdom in 1897 supplied 34.8 per cent of the imports of the colonies and only 13.04 per cent of the imports of the foreign world, and it seems reasonable to assume that the difference in favor of her sales to the colonies was in a considerable degree due to the colonial relationship. The imports of the colonies in the year in question were $1,216,284,637, and the 34.8 per cent which they took from the mother country amounted to $423,212,102. Had they taken from the United Kingdom only the percentage which the foreign countries took from her—viz, 13.04 per cent—the total value of their imports from the United Kingdom in that year would have been $158,603,517 instead of the $423,212,102 which they actually did take from her. It is scarcely proper to assume that the entire difference is due to the existence or nonexistence of the colonial relationship, since the proportion of its purchases which the importing country takes from another will depend, in some degree, upon whether the other country has for sale the particular class of goods which it requires. Thus the small percentage which the United Kingdom supplies of the imports of European countries is chiefly due to the fact that they require food stuffs and raw materials, while the principal surplus of the United Kingdom is in manufactures. Yet it seems reasonable to assume that a considerable share of the difference in favor of the United Kingdom in the percentage of imports taken from her by the colonies and foreign countries, respectively, is due to the colonial relationship, and that her sales to the territory which she now controls are very much greater than they would be if it were controlled by other manufacturing and exporting nations.
ENORMOUS COMMERCIAL GAINS THROUGH COLONIAL CONTROL. The table last presented shows the total exports of the United Kingdom and the exports to the colonies in each year frorn 1870 to 1900. The total of the exports from the United Kingdom to the colonies in the period covered by the table is $12,287,024,474. It has been shown in the preceding paragraph that had Great Britain's exports to her colonies in 1897 formed only the same percentage of their imports which British exports formed of the imports of the independent countries the total would have been $158,603,517, instead of $423,312,102. This $158,603,517 forms 37.5 per cent of that which she actually did obtain under the colonial relationship. Applying this percentage (37.5) to the grand total of British exports to her colonies from 1870 to 1900, inclusive ($12,287,024,474), and it will be seen that, had they been independent territory or territory controlled by another nation, her sales to them would have been (accepting this basis of calculation) only $4,607,634,178 instead of $12,287,024,474.
An examination of the imports of the French, Dutch, German, Belgian, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies shows that the percentage of their imports which they take from the United Kingdom is extremely small, and fully justifies the assertion that a very large proportion of the sales of the United Kingdom to her colonies is due to the colonial relation, and that it would have been but a small percentage of its present enormous total had the territory which she now controls become the possessions or colonies of some other manufacturing and exporting nation.
FRANCE GAINS COMMERCIALLY IN HER COLONIAL TERRITORY. A similar calculation with reference to the other countries having colonies gives equally interesting and important results. France, in 1897, supplied to her colonies 22.5 per cent of their total imports, while to the other countries of the world she supplied but 9.3 per cent of their imports. The Netherlands furnished to its colonies 31.7 per cent of their imports, and the other parts of the world about 6 per cent of their imports.
IMPORTS FROM THE COLONIES ALSO LARGE AND BENEFICIAL TO COLONY AND MOTHER COUNTRY.
Turning to the other and equally important side of the commercial relationship between the mother country and the colonies, namely, the purchases in and imports from the colonies, the figures are equally interesting and striking. The total imports of the United Kingdom from 1870 to 1900, as shown in the accompanying table, were $60,457,037,416, and of this sum $13,555,620,074 was taken from her colonies. Thus while the United Kingdom has found a market in the colonies largely in excess of what she would have sold had not the colonial relationship existed, she has, during that time, expended in the colonies more than thirteen billions of dollars in the purchase of their commodities, and in doing so has added not alone to the prosperity of the producing population of the colonies, but incidentally to that of her own citizens, who, according to Sir Charles Dilke, have not less than four billions of dollars' worth of investments in the colonies.
THE COLONIAL MARKET IS MORE RELIABLE AND PERMANENT, ESPECIALLY FOR MANUFACTURES AND THE PRODUCTS OF LABOR.
But the magnitude of the total purchases of the colonies from the mother country in a given year, or the share which they took of her total exports in that year, is not the only question to be considered. It is equally important to know whether the market which the colonies offer is more reliable and permanent than that offered by foreign countries. In this age of sharp commercial rivalry, when all of the great manufacturing nations are bending every energy to the capture and retention of markets wherever they can be found, it is important to determine whether the closer relationship which naturally exists between the mercantile communities of the colony and the mother country has a perceptible effect in retaining that field for the governing country against the rivalries of the competing countries. This inquiry is especially important with reference to manufactures. The natural requirements of the densely populated sections of the world assures a continuance of the demand for the great natural products, such as breadstuffs, provisions, cotton, coal, iron, and wood. But in manufactures, in which labor forms so large a share of the value, and in which competition is the greatest, it is especially important to have steady and reliable markets.
It is interesting, therefore, to examine the exportation of manufactures from the United Kingdom to her colonies and to foreigr. countries, respectively, at certain periods sufficiently distant from each other to determine the relative growth in each of these fields. To facilitate this study a series of tables was prepared by Dr. J. Forbes Watson, director of the Indian Museum, London, in 1878, showing what share the British colonies took of the total exportation of certain leading British manufactures in 1869 and 1876, respectively; and for the purpose of making the study more complete and applying it to the present time, the figures have been extended to include the year 1900.
The first of these tables includes seven classes of articles of personal use and attire, exported from the United Kingdom in 1869, 1876, and 1900, the export value amounting in 1869 to a little over $45,000,000, and in 1900 to about $55,000,000. It will be seen from an examination of the table that in every article the colonies took a larger percentage of the total exports in 1900 than in 1869, and the foreign countries thus a less percentage, and that while the exports increased over 15 per cent during the period, the colonies in 1900 took 82.5 per cent of the increased total, against only 63.5 per cent in 1869, foreign countries taking in 1869 36.5 per cent, and in 1900 only 17.5 per cent.
PROPORTION EXPORTED TO THE BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN 1869, 1876, 1900.
Another table includes 19 articles of domestic consumption, largely manufactures, of which the British exports in 1869 aggregated about $55,000,000, and in 1900 about $85,000,000. Of these it will be seen that the colonies took 52.7 per cent in 1869 and 63.6 per cent of the increased total in 1900, foreign countries taking 47.3 per cent in 1869 and only 36.4 per cent in 1900.
PROPORTION OF TOTAL VALUE EXPORTED TO THE BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN 1869 AND 1900.
55.4 92.3 57.0 76.7 59.5 88.4 81.0 44.5 57.1 67.7 68.7 28.3
36,729 822, 269
974, 458 2,363, 430 1,760, 552
939, 510 1, 262, 685
130, 100 398, 138 1,033, 605
98, 868 636, 629
200, 142 1, 294, 131 1,468, 816
405, 033 522, 461
477, 423 2, 139, 738