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The great evil of indirect taxation is to be found in the indirect effects. It ought not to be necessary to reiterate arguments which British economists have expounded over and over again, and enlightened with a wealth of illustration.1 Unfortunately, however, there is a tendency to believe that truths lose in force as they lose in novelty, and well-established maxims have often been driven out temporarily by re-discovered errors. The two young gentlemen who, according to Swift's diary, "discovered that there is no God," were probably wrong in their reasons; and in the affairs of the world also wisdom is slowly accumulated. Let the sceptical reader refer to Mr. Dowell's excellent volumes on the history of taxation; and if any one thinks the incidence of taxes an easy matter, let him look up his Mill (bk. v. ch. iv).

Another point of practical importance arises in connection with the fallibility of statesmanship. Industrial conditions are constantly changing, and to adjust complicated tariffs to complicated changes is well-nigh impossible.2 It is one thing to make out a hypothetical case on paper, and quite another to put it into practice. It is a remarkable fact that the very part of the old protective system which received praise from Adam Smith-namely, the Navigation Laws-was the first part to be attacked by practical free traders. The simple reason was that other nations retaliated, and that attempts were then made to arrange reciprocity treaties until such an entanglement of interests and jealousies was created that the whole system fell to the ground. Similarly it is safe to predict that if any general system of customs-duties is to be established for the whole Empire, it must be on broad, simple principles. To suppose that a concession or restriction in one part must be met by some reciprocal operation in another, and that masses of local prejudice must be conciliated in different ways, is to confess that commercial and fiscal union is impossible. Fortunately, however, there can be little doubt that in the provinces as in the centre simplicity would be more productive of revenue than the present complexity.

Hitherto the question has been treated as far as possible simply from the point of view of revenue; but to many people the question of revenue seems of far less importance than that of free trade and protection. What they demand is not so much free trade within the Empire as restriction against the rest of the world, and they apparently assume that this would be the natural development of our present colonial system. Before, then, proceeding to examine briefly the protectionist ideal, a short passage on the present state of affairs may be quoted from Sir Rawson Rawson.3 "With regard to the question of duties imposed for the protection of local interests, agricultural or manufacturing, it is not easy to trace them in these tariffs except in two or three prominent cases.

1 "The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it."— Wealth of Nations, p. 200.

2 Synopsis of Tariffs, p. 16.

It requires local knowledge to determine whether here and there some particular duty has been imposed or incurred for the purpose of encouraging local interests, or whether a generally high rate of duties on manufactures has been imposed for fiscal or for protective purposes. In general the method of favouring such interests has been by abolishing or remitting the duties on articles required for their use-as, for instance, the admission free of duty into several of the West Indian Islands of machinery used in the preparation of colonial products. The three decided exceptions appear to be Malta, Victoria, and Canada, to which must now be added South Australia." Again, the first sentence in the summary of results runs:-" As it is clear that the duties, with few exceptions, have been imposed mainly for fiscal purposes.

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Even if the present state of affairs in the Empire at large were far more protectionist than appears to be the case, it would be superfluous to enter into any general discussion of the principles of free trade. For any action must depend not only on principles, but upon facts and actual conditions. As regards principles, the advocates of free trade have unquestionably damaged their cause by dogmatism and exaggeration. By attempting to prove a universal negative-that in no circumstances whatever could a State gain by retaliation or differential duties or other devices of protectionism-they have made their opponents believe that the general case for free trade is destroyed if one particular exception can be proved. But, theoretically, as economists of the first rank, from Adam Smith1 and Ricardo to Professors Sidgwick and Marshall, have admitted, it is easy to point out, not one, but several exceptions. For practical purposes, however, so far as the British Empire is concerned, these exceptions. are simply part of the casuistry of economics; they are like the discussions by moral philosophers of the justification of occasional mendacity. Free trade, like honesty, still remains the best policy. And it remains the best policy not only because any other policy to be equally successful would require the perfectly wise despot, but largely also, no doubt, because its principles, as applied to ordinary cases, are generally sound. To couple free trade within the Empire with protection against the rest of the world is to destroy a practical proposal by the addition of a proposal utterly impracticable. This has been abundantly proved, implicitly if not explicitly, in the preceding paper of this series by Mr. Chisholm. Is the United Kingdom likely to tax raw materials such as cotton and wool, or food-products such as wheat and mutton, simply with the hope that a policy of this kind would please the rest of the Empire, or, rather, certain portions of it? Would the colonies consent to send all their produce to our markets and so deprive themselves of foreign wares? A glance at the facts showing the magnitude of the foreign trade of the Empire is enough to prove that the ideal-even if otherwise attractiveis impossible. A petty uniform duty on all foreign products would simply be a source of irritation, and is not worth considering.

1 Adam Smith's four exceptions are well known.

Wealth of Nations, bk. iv. ch. ii.

Compare also Sidgwick's Principles of Political Economy, bk. iii. ch. v.; Marshall's Principles of Economics, bk. x. ch. xii.


The objector may, of course, refer to the policy of the United States, and may argue that the British Empire might with advantage follow the same lines of development. But the conditions are wholly different. The foreign trade of the United States is comparatively unimportant, whilst that of the United Kingdom is, with its increasing population, essential to its existence. And even as regards the United States it is doubtful if it can long retain its commercial independence, and its present system is due much more to accident than design. It furnishes also a warning, on a colossal scale, of the principal evil connected with protection-namely, the difficulty of getting rid of vested interests, and the tendency of one protective duty to beget a multitude. Even Adam Smith admitted that "when particular manufactures by means of high duties or prohibitions upon all foreign goods which can come into competition with them, have been so far extended as to employ a multitude of hands, humanity may in this case require that the freedom of trade should be restored only by slow gradations and with a good deal of reserve and circumspection." 2 But this is surely the strongest argument against the creation by new countries of barriers which, when conditions have changed, it will be so difficult to remove. Ocurrite morbo should be the motto for those of our colonies which have to some extent yielded to protection: the old country is far too seasoned to be inoculated.3

Those who advocate any reform must remember that the most fatal obstacle is the exaggerated emphasis laid upon the difficulty of making any change. Get rid of the "idea of impossibility," and the task is more than half accomplished. There are, it is true, economic laws which cannot be sent to Saturn, as every nation has found to its cost by numberless experiments, but no system of taxation is by nature eternal and immutable. If little by little colonial statesmen would follow the example set by the great British financiers of this century, and reduce and abolish their duties, it would be easy to establish a fiscal union. Such a union would bind far more closely than a nominal association for defence. It would naturally lead to the creation of other commercial ties, and silently and insensibly would weld together the fragments of our so-called Empire. For it is as true now as it was

when Adam Smith wrote that "this empire has hitherto existed in


1 See an admirable paper by Professor Taussig in the Economic Journal for June 1891, "The M'Kinley Tariff Act."

2 Book iv. c. ii.

3 A striking instance is given by M'Culloch (Edit. of Wealth of Nations, note xxv.), of the evil effects of forcing a colonial trade :-"The trade with Canada may be referred to in proof of what has now been stated. It employed a large number of ships and seamen, and seemed to a superficial observer to be highly valuable. In truth and reality, however, it was very much the reverse. A half of this trade was forced and fictitious, having originated in the excess duty which was formerly charged on the Baltic and other foreign timber. The high duty on foreign timber tempted the merchants to resort to Canada, New Brunswick, etc., whence they imported an inferior article at a higher price. . . . By refusing to import the timber of the North of Europe, we proportionally limited the power of the Russians, Prussians, Swedes, and Norwegians to buy our manufactured goods; while by forcing the importation of timber from Canada, we withdrew the attention of the inhabitants from the most profitable employment they could carry on."


imagination only. It has hitherto been not an empire but the project of an empire, not a gold mine but the project of a gold mine. It is surely now time that our rulers should either realise this golden dream in which they have been indulging themselves, perhaps, as well as other people, or that they should awaken from it themselves. If the project cannot be completed it ought to be given up. If any of the provinces of the British Empire cannot be made to contribute towards the support of the whole Empire, it is surely time that Great Britain should free herself from the expense of defending those provinces in time of war, and of supporting any part of their civil or military establishments in time of peace, and endeavour to accommodate her future views and designs to the real mediocrity of her circumstances." Such is the concluding passage and, for Britons, the culmination of the whole argument of the Wealth of Nations, a work which, alike in speculative genius, breadth of view, and practical wisdom, stands alone in political literature. We must choose between federation and disintegration, and, if we wait for the pressure of a great calamity, the warning of history is that the alternative will no longer be offered.

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(Read at Meeting of British Association, 1891.)


MANY parts of South-West Africa-by which in this paper we mean the the countries between Cape Colony and the Cunene and Okavango rivers -are still very imperfectly known or even entirely unexplored on account of their sterile and inhospitable character. The land along the entire coast is of the most barren and desert nature; north-west of the Herero country extends the so-called "Kaoko-field," which implies "field without water; whilst the barren plateaus of the vast Kalahari hem in the mountainous districts of the Herero- and Nama-country east and north. Thus we see that the more fertile parts of South-West Africa are entirely encircled by regions which are difficult of access, and therefore offer great obstacles to exploration; and the result has been that the routes of many travellers who have visited these countries are confined to limited areas, and avoid the unknown parts of the above-mentioned territories.

In studying the history of South-West Africa we see that at three distinct epochs great, but more or less spontaneous, efforts have been made to open up the interior, and hence three periods of exploration are easily discernible. The first of them, which refers to the time before the discovery of Lake Ngami in 1849, has hitherto generally been believed to have been very short, for before Captain James Alexander's explorations in 1836 and 1837 hardly anything was known of the interior of SouthWest Africa. Quite recently, however, Mr. Theal has proved, from the archives of Cape Colony, the extraordinary fact that not only the Orange River had been discovered as early as the middle of last century (1760), several years before Gordon reached it, but also that almost

at the same time (1761-1762) a well-equipped exploring expedition. penetrated into the interior of the Nama-country north of the Orange River; whilst thirty years later (1791-1792) another expedition reached a point still further north and brought the first authentic information respecting the Damara-country. I find that the British Museum contains the diary of the first of these expeditions; and as Mr. Theal, in his History of South Africa, has given only short accounts of these journeys without going into geographical details, I have examined the information contained in the diary, and I find that it is of geographical value, especially if we compare it with the reports of Gordon, Paterson, Le Vaillant, Thunberg, and the other travellers of last century. I have to add that, of the second of these expeditions I have hitherto been unable to obtain any other notice than the short account which Mr. Theal has given us in his book. These explorations soon afterwards seem to have been almost entirely forgotten, in part probably because of the political changes which took place in 1795 in Cape Colony.

The discovery of Lake Ngami by Livingstone in 1849, with which the second period of exploration began, induced a number of travellers to penetrate into the interior of South-West Africa, most of whom took Walvish Bay as their starting-point. Galton, as is well known, was the first who selected this route, exploring Damara- and Ambo-land. His companion, Andersson, a short time afterwards crossed the Kalahari, and reached Lake Ngami from the west. He was soon followed by Chapman, Green, Wahlberg, Baines, and others, who visited Lake Ngami and its neighbourhood. Meanwhile the course of the great Okavango River had been explored by Andersson and Green; and both these travellers, as well as Hahn and Rath, made unsuccessful attempts to penetrate north of the Ambo-country and reach the river Cunene, which up to that time was almost entirely unexplored. At last the Cunene was reached by Smuts in 1864, then by Green (1865), and Hahn (1866), at different points, and finally also by Andersson shortly before his death in 1867. But from that time the explorations of this period became fewer, and no information was forthcoming except that obtained from missionaries who laboured among the various Nama, Damara, and Ovambo tribes. Several important journeys undertaken by some of them must be mentioned, of which Krönlein's journey in South Nama-land (1867), and Böhm and Bernsmann's explorations (1877) of the Kaoko were among the most important.

A fresh and vigorous revival of the exploration of South-West Africa occurred simultaneously with the commencement of German colonial enterprise in those countries in 1884; and it was then that the third period of exploration began. A large number of scientific and other travellers like Belck, Schinz, Schenck, Pohle, Büttner, Pechuel-Lösche, von Steinäcker, Conradt, Hermann, etc., etc., traversed the German sphere of influence in many directions, contributing largely to our knowledge of the country. But geographical science has hitherto gained but little by these recent German explorations, for, with the exception of the recently published book of Dr. Schinz, and several articles in Petermanns Mitteilungen and other scientific journals, most of the information we are

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