the transfer to the Government was completed, and though the company still continues its existence as a trading concern, it has ceased to have any connexion with the administration of Nigeria. It now remains to sum up the results accomplished by the Niger Company during the fourteen years of its existence. Before the company got to work the settlements on the Oil Rivers might at any time have had their markets in the interior closed to them. There was no administration even at the Oil Rivers until Results. To the energetic action of the company
COMPANIES At tlie close of the company’s existence as a governing body, when the administration of its territories definitely passed from its hands into those of the impei’ial authorities, a con- Statjsfjcs^ sideration of the following figures will supply some . data for estimating the progress made under its administration and also as a trading concern, , , The Niger Trading Company.—The first balance-sheet was issued in July 1888, and carries the transactions of the company to 31st December 1887. The trading account for 1887 amounted to . £46,765 10 5 leaving a balance to profit of. • • • 26,005 11 o The total assets of the company amounted to . 470,31/ 0 o With slight fluctuations the profits gradually rose, and in December 1898 there was a balance to profit of 36,396 9 0 In that year the total assets of the company were valued at . . . • • • 700,035 6 0 To show the increase in the volume of commodities dealt with, it is interesting to compare the inventory of goods, stores, produce, &c., in Africa in December 1887 and December 1898. In 1887 the stock of goods, stores, &c., in Africa was valued at H ? Goods awaiting shipment Produce in England and afloat .... 30,799 13 19 £189,547 11 1 Total .... £247,961 2 9 In 1898 stock of goods, &c., in Africa 2,237 19 5 Goods awaiting shipment . 89,717 2 0 Produce in England and afloat .
the colony of Lagos owes its mainland sphere, for it had saved the hinterland of these coast districts from falling into the hands of France and Germany. Indeed, it was only by a margin of a few months that the eastern portion of Nigeria was snatched from the encroachments of the latter Power. It may be doubted whether the British Government itself could ever have accomplished the task, since little interest at the time was felt in the Niger territories, which were looked upon rather as an unhealthy locality of which little was to be made. Among the greatest obstructives were the private traders, who always opposed annexation on the ground of increased taxation, but whose eyes were opened to a certain extent by the seizure of Cameroon by Germany. Five years of struggle with that Power ended in 1890 in the AngloGerman agreement, which recognized British rights which had been acquired by the company against the strenuous opposition of Flegel, Hoenigsberg, and other explorers backed up by Prince Bismarck. Nor was Germany the only Power with which the company had to reckon. It constantly opposed the increase of French influence. Since 1879 that Power had adopted an aggressive colonial policy in those regions. The plan was very simple, and. was succinctly described by Sir George Taubman Goldie as “ pushing inland from her coastal possessions, and then adopting lateral extensions and occupying the land in the rear of the coastal possessions of her neighbours, cutting them off from their markets in the interior.” France had pursued this policy successfully in the case of Gambia. Though Great Britain had been established for seventy years on the coast, France annexed the rich districts on the Upper Niger now known as French Sudan, and thus spoiled the markets for Gambia. The same policy was partially successful with regard to the Gold Coast and Sierra Leone colonies, but the progress of the Niger Company aroused public attention in Great Britain, and the further progress of this design was frustrated. By buying up the rival companies before the Berlin Conference of 1884, the company secured recognition of the supremacy of the British flag on the Niger, and later by its enterprise enabled the British Government to insure a satisfactory settlement of claims in the regions of the Upper Niger and the possession of the vast dominions of the Sokoto sultanate. . , Apart from political considerations, the .work effected by the company for civilization must not be ignored. The absolute prohibition of the trade in alcohol in certain districts, and the severe blow dealt to the slave trade by the campaign of 1897, entitle it to the respect and gratitude of humanity. In ten years, the company established in a barbarous region an organized system of justice and police supported by an adequate military force, placed on the waterways a fleet of 30 steamboats, founded a number of trading stations, and set on foot a regular scheme of cultivation in certain districts, besides conducting a large and lucrative commerce. All this was done without costing Great Britain a penny, while the neighbouring settlements of France and Germany were not only mulcting these countries of vast sums, but bringing in no return.
. £339,916 4 2 Total .... Mger Government.—If we now consider the company in its administrative capacity for the same period, the statistics are no less instructive. £42,396 In 1887 the company’s revenue stood at . 71,324 And its expenditure at .... • 24,037 The revenue from imports amounted to . 16,781 ,, „ exports to . 1,280 ,, ,, licenses to . In that year the expenditure on the con13,395 0 0 stabulary force amounted to . 10,269 0 0 And the salaries of the staff in Africa to . At the end of 1898 the revenue amounted to a 113,305 0 0 total of ...•••• 135,093 0 0 And the expenditure to . 63,054 0 0 The revenue from imports now amounted to 48,981 0 0 ,, ,, exports to . 480 0 0 ,, licenses to . The expenses of administration and revenue were thus showing a tendency to balance themselves at the time the company s territory was taken over. _ . ., Private Traders—One point is worth noting m considering these balance-sheets, as bearing out what has been said above as to the capacity of great trading companies to kill private competition within their own districts, even without any unfair advantages. In 1887 the revenue from the imports of private traders amounted to ^998 0 0 From the exports to . • • • •
n n bbU u u And licenses to private traders to . In 1898 the revenue from private imports amounted only to 260 0 0 While that from exports and licenses was . nit. The Imperial British East Africa Company. This company came into existence, in 1888, but its origin may be traced 10 years earlier. In 1877 the sultan of Zanzibar had offered to Mr (afterwards Sir) Wifliam Mackinnon, or to a company °£%aand to be formed by him, a lease for 70 years of difficuities. the customs and administration of the whole of the Zanzibar dominions, including all rights of sovereignty, with certain reservations. This was declined owing to a lack of support by the Foreign Office. Between 1880 and 1885, however, the large number of German concessions acquired aroused the interest of those, who recognized the paramount importance of the maintenance of the British influence in those regions, and in May 1887 a concession bearing that date was voluntarily made by