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Of the $5,184,000 worth of general exports shipped from France to the West Coast of Africa during the year 1880, according to French official returns, foreign goods amounted to $3,170,000, leaving only $2,014,000 for French goods proper.
Of the total exports from Great Britain during the same year, foreign goods represented $1,602,000.
Here is a total export of foreign goods from those two countries to the West Coast of Africa of $4,772,000 in a single year.
The principal foreign goods exported from France were as follows: Cotton manufactures, $1,485,000 out of a total of $1,603,000, thus showing that French cottons are not suitable for the market; brandy and spirits, $601,000 out of a total export of $714 000; rice, arms, and munitions, linens, thread, grain and flour, tools and implements, tobacco, &c.
The principal foreign goods shipped from England to the West Coast during the same year were, arms and ammunition, glass beads, cotton goods, salted provisions, pork and beef, rice, rum and other spirits, wine, tobacco, &c.
How much of these foreign shipments were American manufactures and produce it is impossible to say, but judging from the nature of goods the amount must have been considerable.
FOREIGN COMMERCE OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.
According to official returns the foreign trade of Cape Colony during the year 1880 was as follows: Imports, $36,678,000; exports, $20,753,000. This shows an increase of $2,290,000 in the imports and of $2,230,000 in the exports as compared with the year 1879. A recent report received from Consul Siler, of Cape Town, gives the imports into the colony for the yoar 1881 as amounting to $46,130,000-an increase of $9,452,000. The consul gives no details of this trade, and consequently it is impossible to say whether this large increase is normal or abnormal. It is more than likely that the greater portion thereof was made up of some special imports to supply some special wants, for which reason the official returns of 1880 are used in the following review of the trade of the Colony.
According to British official returns, the imports into the United King. dom alone from Cape Colony during the year 1880 amounted to $24,411,000, or $3,658,000 more than the total exports from the colony according to colonial returns. This comparatively large discrepancy may be accounted for by assuming that the costs and charges were added to the imports upon the arrival of the merchandise in England. The total exports from Cape Colony to all other countries out
side of Great Britain amounted to only $1,600,000, of which the United States received $950,000. Assuming a proportionate increase herein to that noted in the British, upon arrival of the merchandise at its destination, the exports of the colony would represent a value of over $26,000,000 in the returns of the several countries receiving the same.
A glance at the colonial returns shows that the greater portion of the trade is with Great Britain. Of the total imports about $29,762,000 were received from Great Britain, leaving only $6,916,000 for all other countries—of this the United States is credited with $1,500,000, an amount greater than that received from any other country, Great Britain excepted.
The principal imports from the United States consist of agricultural implements, lumber, furniture, doors, sashes, canned meats, Indian corn, wbeat, flour, beef, pork, tobacco, and a general assortment of what the colonists call “Yankee notions."
The principal exports to the United States consist of wool, ostrich feathers, goat and other skins.
During the foregoing year twenty-nine American vessels entered the port of Cape Town: Eight from New York and four from Boston with general cargoes; three from Valparaiso with wheat and flour; three from Montevideo with horses ; one from London with general cargo; one from Cardiff with coal; one from Hong-Kong with part cargo of Eastern prod. uce; one from Rio de Janeiro with coffee; two from Natal in ballast, and three whalers. All these vessels cleared in ballast. From this it would appear that while we ship goods direct to the Cape, we receive our Cape goods via England. It is more than likely that British steamships accept return cargoes at rates which render it unprofitable for sailing vessels to accept; hence the exports to the United States by way of Liverpool, while American sailing vessels leave the port of Cape Town in ballast to find cargoes elsewhere.
The following statement shows the total imports into the Cape of Good Hope according to colonial returns, the value of the imports received from England, and the value of the trade left for all other countries :
Principal imports into Cape Colony during the year 1880.
COMMERCE OF NATAL. According to the returns of the colonial secretary, forwarded to the department by Mr. Cato, consular agent at Natal, the foreign commerce of this colony was as follows during the year 1880: Imports, $11,358,000
-an increase of over $800,000 as compared with the preceding year; exports of colonial produce, $4,082,000, against $2,624,000 during 1879. Goods not colonial were shipped during the year 1880 to the value of $250,000, and to the value of $220,000 during the year 1879.
Principal articles of import at Natal, 1880.
Apparel and slops ..........
184, 000 112, 000 277, 000 150,000
92, 000 223, 000
30,000 3, 192, 000 11, 358, 000
The principal articles of export during the year were: Wool, $2,570,000; raw sugar, $1,045,000; hides and skins, hair, ivory, ostrich feathers, &c.
According to the returns of our consular agent the direct trade be. tween Natal and the United States is rapidly increasing. During the year 1880 there entered the port of Natal 25 sbips of 7,683 tons from the United States, with merchandise valued at $638,000-an increase of nine ships and $180,000 as compared with the preceding year. During the year 1873 there entered at Natal from the United States only four ships of 951 tons, with cargoes valued at $128,000. It thus appears that our direct trade with the colony has increased five-fold in seven years. The consular agent does not give a list of the American products and manufactures which comprise this trade.
From the official statistics of the colony there does not seem to be any direct return trade with the United States. During the year 1880 there were only five ships cleared for the United States, and these would seem to have cleared in ballast.
The iinports into the colony from Great Britain during the year under review (specie included) are given as amounting to $9,622,000, of which; about $850,000 worth were foreign goods. It is more than probable that the United States supplied a considerable amount of these foreign exports to Natal. "The exports from Natal to Great Britain during the year were valued at $3,115,000, of which wool entered to the value of $2,332,000, and os. trich feathers to the value of $400,000. It is also likely that a considerable portion of these goods reached the United States.
It should be borne in mind that wool and ostrich feathers, which figure so largely in the exports of Natal, are not the produce of the colony, but come principally from the Free State and the Transvaal.
The British goods which enter into the trade with Natal and Cape
Colony will be seen by the following statements, taken from British official returns:
Statement showing the trade between Great Britain and her colonies of South Africa, 1880,
EXPORTS TO SOUTH AFRICA.
Estimating the total trade of South Africa as follows: imports, $18,036,0:10, and exports at $25,103,000, there is left for all countries outside Great Britain a balance of $8,652,000 in the imports and of $1,693,000 in the exports. In this balance, according to colonial returns, the share of the United States amounts to $1,810,000 in the imports and $614,000 in the exports. This represents the direct trade; the indirect it is impossible to estimate.
Outside of Great Britain and the United States, the principal direct imports received at Cape Colony come from the following countries and
possessions: Australasia, Brazil, India, Mauritius, and Natal, Germany, France, and the other countries of Europe would seem to have little or no direct trade therewith. Sweden and Norway sell about $200,000 worth of lumber thereto annually.
Outside of Great Britain, the only imports received from Europe at Natal are as follows: From Sweden and Norway (lumber), about $155,000; from Holland, about $10,000.
From these statements it will be seen that the commerce of the United States with South Africa is comparatively large, when the disadvantages under which it labors, such as a lack of direct steam communication, representative houses to watch over, and cater to, and push trade, are taken into consideration.
The late consul at Cape Town reports a large trade in American goods in that colony for many years, but “ that the principal importers assure him that the demand is fully supplied.” This assurance, however, only applies to trade under its present auspices. Given American direct steam communication, the personal attention of American producers and manufacturers, and the close application of business principles to the colonial market, and the result would be, in a few years, a trade between the United States and South Africa of at least fivefold its present proportions.
The agent at Natal says that with assured peace with the Boers the “demand for American agricultural implements would increase. Native Zulus, who in former years never knew what a plow was, now use them in large numbers, as the American plow is just the article suited to their skill and appliances. * * # "American trade in this colony," remarks the agent, was confined to one firm a few years ago, but at present several firms are direct importers of our goods."
Consul Siler, writing from Cape Town, under date of February 5, 1882, reports upon American trade in that colony as follows:
It is most satisfactory to me to be able to report that American goods are rapidly growing in favor and demand in this country. I am not in possession of any data to enable me to render a comparative statement of American imports to this colony, but that they are rapidly increasing, my own observation as well as the assurance of prominent merchants here, has left me no room to doubt. American plows, threshers, reapers, and all manner of agricultural implements are in demand, and owing to their lightness and superior finish, are preferred, notwithstanding the prejudice which English and German makers are constantly striving to engender against them. Omnibuses, wagons, carriages, and buggies are being largely imported from the United States, and meet with ready market, with good profits to the importers. Sewing-machines, clocks, canned goods, and “Yankee notions" all command ready sale and good prices here. This trade is worth looking after, and if our merchants and manufacturers will follow up the advantage which they now have, they will have their full share of it.
COMMERCE OF THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA.
The East Coast, from Natal to Cape Guardafui, embraces the Portuguese settlements of Delagoa Bay, Sofala, and Mozambique, the native states of Zanguebar and Ajan, and the outlying islands of Madagascar, Zanzibar, Reunion, Mauritius, the Seychelles, &c.
Of the trade of the coast proper there are no available statistics, nor do I find that even an approximation thereof has heretofore been given. Having consular representatives on many of the islands, and, as a consequence, a comparatively large trade therewith, I am enabled to give the necessary statistics concerning their foreign commerce, especially their commerce with the United States.