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DRAWN UP BY THE RIGHT HONORABLE
SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, BART.
TO BE CIRCULATED AS PRINTED MANUSCRIPT, BUT NOT
Sir, It has often occurred to me, that it would be a useful plan, if persons who had directed their attention to political subjects, were occasionally to print short statements of their opinions, to be circulated among persons of power and influence in the government of the country; and also to be sent to such intelligent persons, as might furnish additional useful information. Having, occasionally, adopted that plan myself, I have been led, at your request, and at the desire of several friends, to collect some scattered papers, printed by me, but never published, and to send them for insertion in your valuable repository.
Persons are often discouraged from drawing up fugitive pieces, from the little attention that is generally paid by ministers to such communications. But it often happens that papers of that description, when opportunely drawn up, and properly circulated, have, indirectly, more beneficial effects than the authors themseves are ever aware of. The situation of ministers in this country, also, is peculiar;—for there never was so extensive an empire, that had so complicated a government, and such insufficient numbers to carry it on. The consequence is, that the public offices are frequently overwhelmed with business; much of which, on that account, is either totally neglected, or imperfectly done. In regard to our public establishments, indeed, it ought always to be kept in view,
That, as the same clothes which may fit a youth of twelve years of age, will not suit him when he becomes a man ; same establishments that might be sufficient for England when it was a separate kingdom, could never answer when it became united to Scotland and Ireland ;---and far less, since it has become the mistress of such immense possessions, in every quarter of the globe.”
JOHN SINCLAIR. Ormly Lodge, Ham Common,
14th Sept. 1818
А COLLECTION OF
OF PAPERS, &c. &c.
Hints regarding the policy of establishing a colony on a great scale, at the Cape of Good Hope, and the advantages to be derived therefrom. The new footing on which the trade to the East Indies is to be put, will render it advisable to pay particular attention to the Sex tlement at the Cape of Good Hope, which, if possible, ought never again to be separated from the British Crown. It must prove of infinite importance to this country, merely as a place of resort, for victualling, refitting when necessary, and protecting in time of war, till convoys can be procured, the ships employed in carrying on our commerce to the east, especially when our trade is more extended, and vessels of smaller dimensions are made use of. As a place of shelter and refilment for our southern whale fishery, it is also of moment. But if the British Government would resolve to establish that settlement on a great scale, it would be attended with advantages, the importance of which it is hardly possible to appreciate. Some of the most prominent, it may be proper briefly explain.
I. Situation, Climate, and Extent of the Settlement. The situation of the Cape of Good Hope is peculiarly advantageous. It is not far distant from Europe, it is in the centre of Africa, and at po great distance from Asia or America. The climate is uncommonly healthy; and our possessions there are sup posed to contain about 127,000 square miles.
The productions of that part of Africa, are those which are the best calculated to promote the prosperity of this country, by rendering us independent of foreign and hostile nations for articles we are accustomed to consume, and furnishing the raw materials of some of our most valuable manufactures.
1. Wine. Grapes, and the productions derived from them, are considered to be the staple commodities of the Settlement; and it is the only possession belonging to Great Britain, that claims that advantage. At the Cape, any quantity of wine might be raised, in such variety, in such perfection, and at a price so much cheaper than the produce of European vintages, that we might soon become independent of France for that great article of consumption. Brandy also might be manufactured there, to any extent; and dried raisins procured, sufficient to supply all Europe.
2. Grain and Pulse. There cannot be a doubt that wheat might be cultivated there to any extent, and so cheap that, in some parts of the settlement, the boors or farmers would contract to supply it at so low a price as 2s. 10d. per Winchester bushel. The wheat at the same time is of a superior quality, weighing from 61 to 65 lb. per bushel. As seed corn, it would be invaluable to this country, which is amply verified by the experience of the Dutch; for the produce of the Cape wheat has been found less liable to the mildew, and other disorders, than when the seed is grown in Europe. But to have a store of wheat so accessible as at the Cape, ready to be imported in case of scarcity, (to which a depôt of rice might be added,) would be of the utmost importance to this country. Besides wheat, barley or big, rye, beans, pease and Indian corn, might be raised in any quantities; and, if not wanted in this country, might always find a market in Spain or Portugal.
3. Flax and Hemp. There are no articles produced at the Cape that would prove more advantageous to this country than flax and hemp, which might be cultivated to any extent; flax in particular; as it is ascertained that it might be raised twice a year. The seed of the flax would be an incalculable advantage to Ireland, where that plant is cultivated on so extensive a scale. The fibre would be of infinite consequence to the linen manufactures of England and Scotland, more especially for the finer sorts, as laces, cambrics, &c.; and when the seed, (which might be the case in three or four years,) can be had in sufficient quantities to admit of its being given to cattle in England, or used at oil-mills at a moderate expense, it is well known that, from the valuable manure thereby produced, it would greatly promote the interests of British agriculture.