Page:EB1922 - Volume 30.djvu/506

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466
BLOEMFONTEIN—BLOMFIELD

order to avoid delay preferred to send lists of their cargo in advance and to make reciprocal arrangements for rapid clearance. It was, however, only a single weapon in the armoury of economic pressure. Control of bunker coal, shipping insurance, censorship and cables, all found their place there, and formed the basis of agreements with large corporations of merchants formed for the purpose, such as the Netherlands Oversea Trust (N.O.T.) for Holland, the Danish Merchants Guild for Denmark, the Société Suisse de Surveillance Economique (S.S.S.) for Switzerland. Sweden took a different line and made all such agreements illegal, maintaining this attitude till April 1917. She was beyond the reach of British sea power, and the Lulea iron-ore trade, though attacked with considerable effect by British submarines in 1915–6, remained the principal stay of the German munition industry.

The fundamental problem of a blockade of this type is to discriminate between enemy and neutral destination, and the two principal systems of discrimination may be termed the “Intelligence” or “evidential” system and the “Rationing” or statistical system. In the first, particular cargoes or items in a cargo become suspect if there is any evidence of enemy dealings. In the second, the whole mass of importation becomes suspect immediately it rises above the normal average of imports. The blockade emphasized the weakness of the former system, which required enormous labour and specialized knowledge to keep track of possible enemy dealings, and as early as Jan. 1915 the “Rationing” or statistical system was being advocated, and it was proposed that careful account should be kept of the imports of all important commodities, and when the import figures to any neutral country rose high above the average for no accountable cause, a plea for confiscation should arise. To keep these statistics, which were largely based on the manifests, the War Trade Statistical Department in London came into being, and in 1916 the principle of rationing was adopted by the Minister of Blockade as the fundamental tenet of his system. But here a difficulty arose which was never completely solved. Legal sanction for condemnation was difficult to obtain on the basis of figures alone, for statistics supplied no direct evidence of enemy destination and the system had to be largely operated by means of assurances and agreements. But, in spite of difficulties, by the middle of 1916 the blockade was becoming really effective. It began with an excellent (but specious) code and no machinery; it ended with excellent machinery and no code.

There can be no question that the World War has greatly modified our conceptions of blockade. One of its most important lessons is that discrimination between belligerent and neutral destination is possible and can be enforced without friction, if only the principle be admitted that a belligerent who controls the sea is entitled to ask for evidence or assurance of genuine neutral trade. Mercantile coöperation can then be invoked with official approval to supply the machinery for such assurance. This does not mean the legal prohibition of contraband trade, but it means that such trade would gravitate into particular ships which would have to run the blockade. As the sphere of agreements and economic action extended, the rôle of the fleet diminished, though there still remained certain sections of trade either immune from attack or which could be reached only by the fleet. Examples of such sections of trade were the German iron-ore trade with Lulea in the Baltic Sea, and the iron-ore trade with Narvik in Norway. A score or so of German ships were engaged in the latter, passing down the Norwegian coast inside Norwegian waters, but there were two areas, one off Statlandet and the other off Ekersund, where they had to leave neutral waters, and these were periodically visited, though not permanently patrolled. Ships were also constantly passing from Rotterdam to Germany, and it was not till 1917 that determined efforts were made to stop this trade.

In 1917, when the United States came into the war, the blockade underwent a great change. The Allied Powers in conjunction with the United States now possessed an almost complete control of many of the principal commodities, and the combined pressure they exerted was so tremendous that the goods never got as far as the sea, and the blockade was practically transformed into an embargo.

The final cutting edge of the blockade in 1917 and 1918 was enforced not at sea but on the custom house quays at Boston, Liverpool and New York. The ships of the 10th C. S. left their stormy beats to do convoy work. The Downs and Kirkwall languished, and the control services were transferred to Halifax, Jamaica and Sierra Leone.

The fact that many forms of economic pressure contributed to the blockade must not blind us to the fact that they were to a large extent aspects of sea power. Thus, bunker control, a powerful lever of the blockade, was enforced by the British Customs and Board of Trade, but the British coaling bases abroad had been won by sea power and remained dependent on sea power. Where the arm of the British navy could not stretch the blockade broke down. The frontiers of Rumania were impervious to it and enabled Germany to hold out during 1917. To the last the Lulea iron-ore trade remained a menace, for sea power could not reach so far. In its bulk the blockade remained an expression of sea power, with the imminence of the Grand Fleet going and coming ceaselessly behind it in the North Sea.  (A. C. D.) 


Bloemfontein (see 4.74). Pop. (1918): whites 15,631, coloured (estimated) 16,000. The most centrally situated town in South Africa, Bloemfontein is the great market for the agricultural and pastoral produce of the Free State. The annual sale of pure-bred stud stock, held in Sept., is the principal fixture of the kind in South Africa; in 1920 the pedigree stock sold realized £283,000. The growth of the town during 1910–20 was largely due to the progressive policy of the municipality, which provided it with an ample supply of water, electric light, an electric trackless tramway system, modern sewerage system and other public services. In 1918 the rateable value of the municipality was £3,895,000, its revenue £182,000 and its indebtedness £803,000.

Among modern buildings are the new Law Courts (in the classical style), the National museum, the Normal and Polytechnic Colleges, Grey University College, the Government Buildings (which replace those burned down in 1908) and the Legislative Council Chambers (the seat of the Appellate Court). A monument to the women and children who died in concentration camps during the war of 1899–1902 was erected in 1913 near the Show ground. The principal workshops of the Union railways are situated in the town of Bloemfontein.

Grey College, incorporated as a university college in 1910, has been since 1918 the principal constituent college of the university of South Africa. Besides the university college the institution includes high schools for boys and girls, and the buildings stand in grounds covering 300 acres. At Glen, 14 m. N., is an agricultural college, opened in 1919, with an experimental farm of 4,000 acres. There is a military station at Tempe, 4 m. from the centre of the town, and here is the Defense College for Officers.

Its central position makes Bloemfontein a favourite meeting-place for conventions and congresses, educational, agricultural and political. Here was held, in the autumn of 1920, the conference which sought, and failed, to find a basis for vereeniging (union) between the two great Dutch parties in the Union, the South African and the Nationalist.


Blomfield, Sir Reginald (1856– ), English architect and author, was born Dec. 20 1856 at Aldington in Kent, of which parish his father was rector. He was educated at Haileybury and at Oxford as a scholar of Exeter College. He took his degree with a first class in literae humaniores in 1879. On leaving Oxford he was for three years in the architectural office of his uncle, Sir Arthur Blomfield, and also studied in the Royal Academy School of Architecture. He was here largely influenced by Norman Shaw, to whose work and example, as also to those of Philip Webb, his own work owed much. After travelling abroad in 1883, he started a practice in London in 1884. He became one of the secretaries of the Art Workers Guild, and also of the Arts and Crafts Society. The Gothic and Mediaeval tradition of his uncle's office had but little effect on his work as an architect, which rather follows the classical spirit and the inspiration derived from the later Renaissance architecture of England. This is shown notably in his country-houses, amongst which are Moundsmere, Basingstoke; Wyphurst, Cranleigh; and Uretham Hall, Norfolk. He also carried out