Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
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Die Martis, 8 Junii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Francis Hastings Toone Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
Have you been in China?
I have been.
What Situation did you hold in China?
I was a Civil Servant in the Company's Service in China.
In what Year did you go out to China?
When did you leave China?
The last Time, I left it at the End of 1826.
Had you been absent, during that Period, for any length of Time?
Yes; I was Twice absent during that Time. I returned twice to Europe; once I was absent for Three Years, and another Time for Two.
Your Knowledge of China extends over a Period of nearly Twenty Years?
What Situation did you hold when you left China?
I was Second Member of the Select Committee.
In what Manner are the Servants of the Company in China remunerated?
By a Commission upon the Sale of Goods on the Part of The East India Company.
What is the Amount of your Commission?
It is Two per Cent. subject to certain Deductions, which make it less than Two per Cent.
On the Sale of what Goods is that Commission granted?
On the Sale of all Goods exported to China on account of The East India Company, from England or from India, with the Exception of Bullion; and on all Goods sent to London on the same Account; also upon the Teas by The East India Company, for Sale in Halifax and Quebec.
Is that calculated on the Sale Price of those sold in London?
I understand that it is upon the Net Sale Price.
Is it calculated upon the Sale Price of the Goods imported into China, or upon their Invoice Price?
I understand, upon the Invoice Price.
The Calculation however is made in England, is it?
What other Charges, in addition to those included in the Two per Cent. Commission, are paid by the Company, for the Management of their China Trade, in China?
They pay the Salaries of Two Tea Inspectors, Two Surgeons, and an Interpreter; there is also an Allowance to the Commodore of the Indiamen, and a Retiring Pension paid to a former Tea Inspector, and the Salaries of all the European Servants connected with the Factory - those are Deductions from the Two per Cent.
In addition to the Two per Cent. there are the Charges of the Rents of Houses occupied by the Factors?
Yes; the Expences of the Table, and the Rent of the Factories, at Canton and Macao; those are the principal Items. The Removal of the Factory to and from Macao forms another Item.
What additional Per-centage upon the Two per Cent. Commission do you apprehend all those Charges amount to?
I understand from the Officers of the India House, that Three per Cent. covers the whole Expence of the Factory of every Description.
What is the Amount of Commission paid by Private Traders at the Port of Canton to the Agents who conduct their Business?
From Three to Five per Cent; I have never known less than Three; and I have generally understood that Five per Cent. has been charged by private Agents.
The Trade of the Company at Canton then is conducted on a more economical Footing, as regards the Allowances of the Servants, and the Commission paid by them, than the Trade of Individuals?
I believe it is; as far as I know it is.
Do you apprehend that the Trade of the Company at Canton could be conducted by fewer Persons than are now employed?
I think it might be conducted by fewer leading Persons, with Clerks to execute their Orders.
In your Opinion, is a long Residence in China necessary to qualify a Person to conduct Trade with the Chinese?
I should say that a Residence of Three Years in the Country would qualify a Man who was actively employed in Commercial Business during that Period, to conduct Commercial Transactions with the Chinese.
Is a Knowledge of the Chinese Language necessary?
It is useful, but not absolutely necessary; it is highly useful, no doubt; but not One of the Private Merchants resident in China has any Knowledge of it.
And they get on perfectly well without it?
They do so.
What Reduction, in your Opinion, could be made in the Charges of the Factory at Canton, without diminishing its Efficiency?
It would require Four or Five leading Persons to conduct the Business of the Factory, and perhaps as many more to meet the Contingencies of Ill-health, which might oblige them to return occasionally to Europe. I should say that with less than Ten it could not be efficiently conducted, and that exclusive of mere Clerks.
The present Number is Twenty, is it not?
In proportion as the Capital of a Merchant or Mercantile Body is large, the Charge of conducting that Trade is proportionably small, is it not?
In what Manner do you purchase the Teas for the Company's Investment?
We usually contract for the Teas in the Spring of the Year, to be delivered in the following Autumn and Winter, and to be then shipped for Europe in that Time.
Do you purchase any Teas not on Contract?
Yes; to fill up the Deficiencies which occur in the Fulfilment of those Contracts. The same Body of Merchants, namely, the Hong Merchants, supply those Teas, as supply the Teas to be received as Contract Teas.
You make it a Practice to reject all Teas which do not come up to your Standard?
Are those Deficiencies in the Merchants with whom you have contracted considerable?
With the younger and poorer Merchants it often occurs; but not with the richer and senior Merchants.
Has the Quantity of Tea deficient in any Year been considerable?
I think it has. There are Five or Six junior Merchants in China, each of whom have occasionally failed to deliver a Quantity of Tea of proper Quality, equal to the Amount contracted for.
Can you state the Amount of the Deficiency which has occurred at any Time?
I cannot, at this Moment.
When you have been obliged to buy Teas not on Contract, have you found any Difficulty in procuring them?
The Black Teas are placed almost entirely at our Option; and we have found no Difficulty in procuring a sufficient Quantity to complete the Cargoes of the Ships consigned to us, although we have often been obliged to supply Deficiencies in the Delivery of Contract Teas by purchasing Teas of lower Qualities than we could have wished. With regard to the Green Teas, we have had to meet the Competition of the Americans; and then we were unable occasionally to purchase the Teas we wished, they giving higher Prices for them than we deemed it advisable to do.
Do you find that the Teas you purchase in the open Market have been dearer than those you purchased by Contract?
They have been so sometimes in regard to Green Teas; but we generally purchase by the same Scale of Appreciation as is adopted for the Regulation of the Contracts.
And with the same Persons?
Yes; and we never purchase any Teas except of the Hong Merchants.
Does the Contract Price vary from Year to Year?
With regard to the Bulk of Teas, it does not; as regard some Classes of the Green Teas and Souchong, it does. We vary the Prices of them a little, to endeavour to get a Supply more suited to the Demand, and also to meet the Competition of the Americans.
Have you increased the Price of Green Teas?
Yes, occasionally; when we had to contend with an active Competition.
Has the Price of Black Tea diminished?
A Diminution took place in the Year 1825, of One Tale per Pecul on the principal Contract -Black Teas; namely, on the Congou Teas.
What was the whole Number of Tales per Pecul you had paid for the Black Tea previous to the Reduction?
It was divided into Four Classes, at 26, 27, 28 and 29 Tales per Pecul respectively, and we reduced each of those Classes One Tale.
How is that Contract Price fixed?
Those Prices have been fixed for a long Series of Years past; why they were so originally fixed I am not able to say; those Prices were established when I went to China, more than Twenty Years ago.
When the Hong Merchants have contracted with the Company for a certain Supply of Tea, what do they do for the Purpose of procuring that Tea?
They make other Contracts with Native Dealers to bring down the Tea, and make them Advances generally to the Amount of about One Third of the Value of this Tea.
How long previous to the Delivery of the Tea is that Advance made?
About Six Months.
What is the usual Interest of Money at Canton?
Between the Hong Merchant and the Merchant of the Interior, from One to One and a Quarter per Cent. per Month.
Have you ascertained at what Price the Country Merchants deliver the Tea to the Hong Merchants?
With regard to the Congou, which forms the largest Class of Teas, about Seventeen Tales and a Half per Pecul are paid by the Hong Merchants for Tea of Average Contract Quality.
What Charges, in addition to that Price of Seventeen Tales and a Half per Pecul, are made upon the Tea before it gets into the Hands of the Hong Merchants?
The Hong Merchants estimate that Three Tales per Pecul are necessary to cover the Charges upon Tea payable by them.
That Tea is delivered to the Company at a Price varying from 25 to 29 Tales per Pecul?
Yes. The Terms of the Contracts for Tea, made between the Hong and Tea Merchants, vary slightly from Year to Year; but the general Practice is in accordance with the following Statement. An Average Price is fixed, say at the Rate of 17½ Tales per Pecul, with an Agreement that for such Parcels of the Tea as may be received by the Company at 28 Tales per Pecul an Augmentation of One Tale shall be made to the Tea Merchant; and for such Parcels as shall be received by the Company at the Price of 25 Tales only, a Diminution of Half a Tale shall be allowed. The Prices of 17t, 17t. 5m. and 18t. 5m. per Pecul, between the Hong and Tea Merchants, correspond usually with those of 25, 26 and 28 Tales per Pecul between the Hong Merchants and the Company.
The Profit therefore to the Hong Merchant on each Delivery of Teas appears to be about Twenty-five per Cent. after deducting the Interest on the Advance made to the Country Dealer?
It is about Five-and-twenty per Cent, without taking the Interest into consideration; no Interest on the Money paid in advance by the Hong Merchant is charged to the Country Dealers; that is, the Tea Merchants.
When a Contract is made, or any Engagement made, with an Outside Trader, are the Teas delivered by him still delivered through a Hong Merchant?
Have you ascertained what Commission the Hong Merchant takes upon that Delivery?
I am not able to say, but I understand it is moderate.
The Hong Merchants may therefore be considered in the Light of Brokers, taking a Commission upon the Sale of all the Teas and the Transaction of all Mercantile Business at the Port of Canton?
In regard to the Sale of Teas, they act chiefly as Brokers. Some of the principal Merchants speculate on their own Account; they send a Servant to the Tea Country with Money to purchase Teas on their own Account, but the poorer Merchants act almost entirely as Brokers.
In consideration of the Profits they derive from that Brokerage, they make certain Payments to the Government?
In what Manner do the Americans and other Nations conduct their Trade at the Port of Canton?
They deal very much with what are called the Outside Merchants; that is, with Shopkeepers; but the Goods bought of those Persons must all pass through the Hands of some of the Hong Merchants
Do those Outside Merchants deliver Teas of as good Quality as the Hong Merchants?
I have understood that their Teas are certainly not so good as the best of those furnished by the senior Merchants.
They again contract with Country Merchants for the Delivery of those Teas?
Yes, they do.
In what Manner do the Officers of the Company's Ships conduct their Trade?
Chiefly with the Outside Merchants.
The Factory of the Company do not interfere in the Management of that Trade?
Not in the slightest degree.
Is it understood that they purchase Teas of as good a Quality and at as low a Price as the Company?
I have understood, from several of the Commanders themselves, that they do not get Teas on such good Terms as the Company do.
Do you apprehend that the Americans get their Teas on as good Terms as the Company?
I apprehend not, on an Average of Years?
In what different Modes does the Factory of Canton provide Funds for the Company's Investment?
The Deficit beyond the Produce of the Goods imported from London and India is supplied by drawing Bills upon the Government of Bengal or the Court of Directors.
Those Bills on the Government of Bengal are drawn to a great Extent every Year, are they not?
Yes, they are; to the Extent of a Million and a Half or Two Millions of Dollars; sometimes exceeding that.
How are the Funds provided in China which are given to the Factory for the Bills they give upon the Government of India?
They are the Proceeds of the Opium chiefly, and the Exports from India generally.
In what Manner are the Funds placed in China which are received by the Factory for the Bills given on the Court of Directors?
They are also in great degree the Produce of the Indian Trade; those Bills being used for the Remittance of Funds from China to India.
Are the Americans in the habit of purchasing Company's Bills on the Court of Directors?
No, not generally. The Americans have occasionally obtained their Goods by the Sale of Bills on London themselves; they then come provided with Letters of Credit on Commercial Houses in London.
In what Manner are the Sales of British Manufacture conducted at Canton; in what Manner is that Price fixed?
The Company's Servants send for the Hong Merchants, and shewing them the Samples, allow them a Time to make their Offers; the Goods are then sold, either by Division amongst the whole Body of Hong Merchants in Shares, or they are sold to the best Bidder. The Cotton from India is generally sold to the best Bidder.
Do you mean that the Cotton is generally sold to the best Bidder among the Hong Merchants?
Yes. The Woollens are divided among the Merchants according to the Shares of Tea we have received from them.
The Two Transactions, however, are kept distinct?
Quite distinct. The System of Barter is never resorted to in the Company's Service.
In what Manner do you convert the Invoice Price of the Exports from England into Chinese Currency?
At the Rate of 6s. 8d. per Tale Weight of Dollar Silver.
Is the Tale really worth 6s. 8d. English Currency?
The intrinsic Value of the Tale, at the Mint Price of 5s. 2d. per Ounce of Standard Silver, would be about 6s.
Therefore, when Goods which in England have cost 20s. are transferred to the Company's Books in China, they appear as having cost Three Tales?
Yes, they do.
The real Cost in Silver having been 18s, and not £1?
An Invoice Amount of £1 Sterling is carried to Account in our Books at Three Tales; whereas, at the intrinsic Value of the Tale, that Amount would be converted into Three Tales and about a Third.
What is the proportional Value of the Dollar and the Tale?
In our Books we carry them to Account at the Rate of Seventytwo Tales for a Hundred Dollars; One hundred Dollars should weigh Seventy-two Tales. Dollars are always received by Weight in China, and not by Number.
When you draw Bills on India, do you draw at a fixed Rate of Exchange, or the Mercantile Rate of Exchange of the Day?
At the Mercantile Rate of the Day.
And the same when you draw on the Court of Directors?
Then, as regards those Sums, which amount to a very large Portion of the Sums with which you purchase the Company's Investment at Canton, you obtain those Funds as cheaply as any Indian Merchant could obtain them?
Assuredly; and generally at a cheaper Rate, in consideration of the superior Security of the Company's Bills. On Bengal, we generally draw at the Exchange of about 202 Rupees for 100 Dollars; whereas the intrinsic Par Rate would be 210 Rupees per 100 Dollars.
How does the Government of India calculate the Invoice Price of the Goods which are sent to China?
They are stated in Rupees; all their Invoices are stated in Rupees.
How are those Rupees converted into Tales?
We convert them into Dollars at their intrinsic Value; then turn the Dollars into Tales at the Rate of 72 Tales for 100 Dollars. The Rate of Exchange for the Rupees of the different Presidencies with Dollars has been fixed by the Court of Directors on the Basis of the intrinsic Value of the Coins respectively.
Is the Cotton so purchased in India, and paid for in Dollars at the intrinsic Value, obtained by the Canton Treasury on more favourable Terms than such Cotton would be obtained by Private Merchants?
I presume that it is; but I am not able to state how the Bengal Government purchase the Cotton.
Does the Investment of Cotton produce a Profit in China?
Generally a considerable Profit; there are Occasions on which there has been a Loss; but in general it has been a capital Trade to the Company.
Is much Cotton sent from India by the Country Trade?
A good deal.
It is Cotton Wool which is sent?
The Exports from this Country of British Manufactures, to Canton, has not been upon the whole profitable, has it?
There has been a Loss upon the whole Annual Export I believe upon every Occasion; it is now reduced, I think, to about £17,000 a Year: the Average Loss upon the whole Consignments of British Manufactures formerly was much more.
In what Manner do you calculate that Loss?
The Account of every Commodity imported is drawn up according to the Practice of Private Merchants, as a Debtor and Creditor Account, in the Form of an Account Sale.
Do you consider that there was a Loss when those Manufactures sold in China produced less Bullion there than was paid for them in England?
I suppose there would be a Loss in such a Case.
Is that the Mode in which you calculate the Loss?
We calculate according to the Exchange I have mentioned, of 6s. 8d.; upon that the Profit and Loss is calculated.
Would not that Mode of Calculation produce an Appearance of Profit where there was actual Loss, the Tale being in reality 8d. less in Value than it is calculated at in the Company's Books?
So it would appear, I think. According to that Mode, the Exports have been charged at less than the real Cost; £1 Sterling is charged at Three Tales instead of at Three Tales and a Fraction; so that the Debtor's Side of the Account in the China Books is less than it would be if the Principle of Exchange were the intrinsic Par.
Then when those Manufactures are sold they are sold for Tales, which are likewise calculated in the Books as being of more Value than they really are?
So that in reality the Loss is greater than it appears to be on the Face of the Account?
Without some Consideration, I could not well answer that Question.
Has the Price of British Manufactures much diminished of late Years in China?
The Price at which we sell them to the Chinese has been lowered.
It has not however fallen so much as the Invoice Price of those Manufactures in England?
Not so much.
Has the Sale of those Manufactures been increased in China in proportion to the Diminution of that Price?
I do not think it has. With regard to the Article of Long Ells, the Quantity exported to China has diminished.
The Demand therefore of the Chinese does not appear to have increased in proportion to the Diminution of Price?
No, it has not.
Do the Merchants who purchase your Manufactures find a Difficulty in disposing of them?
They state a very great Difficulty in selling many sorts of them. We have found it impracticable to obtain a remunerating Price for the Long Ells consigned to us. With regard to the Article of Broad Cloth, the Company export only that Quantity which can be sold at a Price which covers the Cost and Charges; and with regard to the Third Branch of our Woollen Exports to China, namely, the Camlets, they have not been of late Years a gainful Article to the Company.
Have you yourself seen large Quantities of British Manufactures which appeared to be unsold in the Warehouses of the Hong Merchants?
Yes, I have; in the Warehouse of the senior Merchant Howqua, who from his Wealth has been the largest Purchaser of them.
Do you understand that the Americans have derived much Profit from the Sale of British Manufactures?
I did not understand so when I was in China. I have seen it stated since my Return to England that they had sold them profitably.
Have you ever been enabled to compare the Quality of the Manufactures they sell with the Quality of the Manufactures sold by the Company?
No, I have not.
Does it appear to you that Woollens have come more into Use amongst the Chinese than they were formerly?
There is no Reason whatever to suppose that; I should rather think the reverse.
Have any Efforts been made to extend the Sale of the Cotton Manufactures of this Country?
Several; there have been large Importations on Private Accounts for several Years past; The East India Company have also from Time to Time exported Cotton Manufactures, but the Out-turn has never covered the Cost and Charges.
That has been less profitable than the Export of Woollens?
It has been so.
The Chinese have a very good Cotton Manufacture of their own, have they not?
An excellent one; the People are chiefly clothed in Cotton.
Is it as cheap as the Cotton of this Country?
Taking into consideration its Superiority of Quality, in Chinese Cotton Cloth, it is considered by themselves as cheaper; it wears better.
Do you apprehend that if the Cotton Manufactures of this Country could be furnished at a cheaper Rate than their own, and of equal Goodness, there is any Prejudice on their Part which would prevent their purchasing them?
No Prejudice, further than that I think the Government would endeavour to protect their own Manufactures, if the Export of Cotton from this Country were carried to a very great Extent.
The Americans have not increased to any great Extent their Exports to China of Manufactures, for the Purpose of purchasing their Teas, have they?
The Export of Manufactures to China on the Part of the Americans commenced very recently; I think in the Year 1819 or 1820; previously to that their Exports were almost wholly in Dollars.
A very large Proportion of their Exports is still in Dollars, is it not?
I understand so, from the United States; though I have been informed otherwise since I arrived in Europé.
They also give Bills?
Yes; they occasionally draw Bills on Houses in London to a certain Extent.
Do you apprehend that you can, without affecting the Exchange to a considerable Extent, raise a larger Sum in China by Bills on the Court of Directors than has been raised?
At the present Time, I imagine a very large Sum could be raised by Bills upon the Court of Directors, because there is a great Demand for such Bills in India.
It appears that in One Year a Sum of £500,000, or nearly £600,000, was drawn on the Court of Directors; do you recollect the Circumstances under which that was drawn?
I have not an accurate Recollection, but I think the Government of Bengal authorized us to do it rather than draw on Bengal.
Do you recollect whether the drawing so large a Sum affected the Exchange?
I think the Exchange was at that Time 4s. 6d. or 4s. 4d. the Dollar, which, as compared with the Exchange now at 4s., was high.
You never found any Difficulty in obtaining Money for Bills on the Supreme Government?
No; not when we gave an adequate Exchange. We have endeavoured sometimes to lower the Exchange too much, and in that Case we failed. The Merchants preferred sending their Bullion to India to taking our Bills.
Do the Merchants receive to any great Extent Bullion for the Opium and Cotton they export to China?
It is understood that the Opium is almost wholly paid for in Bullion, being a clandestine Trade; and in fact any other Payment would be useless to the Sellers of Opium; they could not take Goods; there is no Vend for them.
In whose Hands is the Country Trade to China?
Chiefly in the Hands of the Mercantile Houses of Bombay and Calcutta; large Mercantile Houses.
Chiefly British Houses?
Almost entirely British Houses.
Not with Madras?
There is a very small Trade with Madras; there passes only One private Ship, I think, annually between Madras and China.
Is any Quantity of British Manufactures sent to China by means of the Country Trade?
Latterly a great deal of Cotton Manufactured Goods has been brought to China by Country Ships, which Cotton Goods had been unsaleable in the Straits of Malacca.
Have those Cotton Manufactures found a ready Sale in China?
I understand by no means a ready Sale.
Have any Woollens been sent by the Country Trade?
I cannot charge my Memory with recollecting any Woollens being sent to China of late Years; some Years since I recollect a Quantity being sent from Bombay, which were not allowed to be landed.
Is there at present any Impediment thrown by the Government of India, or the Factory in China, in the Way of sending British Manufactures through the Country Trade to Canton?
I should rather think not; but I am not quite certain on that Point.
There was, at a former Period?
Yes; the Officers of the Company's Ships were prohibited from exporting Woollen Goods to China, but within the last Five Years the Court of Directors have allowed them to enter into that Trade freely; I should therefore imagine there is no Prohibition whatever on that Trade now.
Is the Country Trade a direct Trade to China, or does it pass through the Eastern Islands?
A direct Trade.
Then is Sincapore a Depôt for the Produce of the Eastern Islands?
Yes; Country Ships come partly laden with Cotton, and they fill up with the Produce of the Eastern Islands-with Rattans and such small Articles.
What are the principal Articles, in addition to the Dollars, received in Exchange for the Opium, which the Country Trade carries back to India?
Tea, Sugar, Silk, Drugs of various kinds: the Annual Statements of the Trade which are sent Home to the India House will shew that accurately.
By far the largest Portion of those Returns are made in Dollars' are they not?
At Bombay there is a larger Demand for Chinese Produce than on the other Side of India; there is always, in addition to the Returns made by the Company's Bills, a large Annual Export of Silver to Calcutta and to Bombay.
Do the Officers of the Company's Ships purchase any other Articles than Teas?
Drugs, Raw Silk and Nankeens are the principal Articles.
Do they purchase Nankeens to any Extent?
I believe within the last Three or Four Years they have not; previously to that they did.
The Americans have given up, to a great Extent, the Purchase of any Articles but Teas, have they not?
So I understand. As regards Silk Manufactured Goods, I have heard American Agents state that they could be better supplied from England than from China; and that they expected, in a very short Time, the English Silk Manufactures would entirely supplant those of China in the Market of the United States.
When you extended the Demand for Black Tea, did you find any Difficulty in obtaining it?
We extended the Demand for Black Tea very gradually, and have never found any Difficulty in getting a Sufficiency.
Is there any Difficulty in obtaining an increased Supply of Green Tea?
We have never been able to get as much Green Tea as the Indents from London required, notwithstanding the Prices which we gave.
Is it understood that it requires a Peculiarity of Soil and Climate for the Production of it?
I have understood that Tea of one kind or other is grown over a very large Part of China, but that Tea which suits the Quality of our Market is grown in only a few Provinces; the Black Tea in the Province of Fohein, and the Green in those of Che-Kiang, Kiang-nan, and Kiang-Si.
Is it understood that the Russians are supplied with Tea from a totally different Part of the Country, and with Tea of a totally different Description?
They are supplied from the Black Tea Country with that Species of Tea called Pekoe; the same Species is brought to London; it is the most expensive kind of Black Tea which is made, and with us is only used to intermix with other Teas.
Is it understood that the Woollens are sent to every Part of China?
So it is said.
Are they subject to heavy Duties of Transit?
There is a considerable Transit Duty on the Frontier of every Province, to which they are subjected.
Do you happen to know the additional Price placed on those Woollens by the Time they arrive at Pekin?
I have not a Memorandum of that.
Do the Woollens of England appear to be in Use in Pekin?
When we were at Pekin the Weather was exceedingly hot, when Woollens were not used at all; it was in the Height of Summer.
Did you understand that they were in Use?
I think it was said, not extensively.
Did you understand that the Manufactures of Russia were in Use in Pekin?
I did not hear any thing respecting the Russian Manufactures when we were there.
Did you see any Articles of Russian Manufacture?
In what Way are the Officers of the Company's Ships remunerated?
They have a small Monthly Pay; but their chief Emolument arises from the Shares of Tonnage; about a Hundred and three Tons per Ship are allotted to the Commander and Officers in the Outward Voyagefrom England to China and back again; in the Voyages between India and China, Two Fifths of the whole Tonnage of the Ship are allotted to the Commander and Officers.
And the Hundred and three Tons between them in coming Home?
Yes; between the Captain and Officers out and Home.
The Teas purchased, and all the Articles purchased by the Company's Officers at Canton, are sold by the Company at their Sales in London, are they not?
Yes; they are all taken into the Company's Warehouses, and sold at the Company's Sales.
What Duty do the Officers pay to the Company upon that Sale?
Upon Tea, a Duty of Twenty-five per Cent. is payable to the Company.
In addition to the Government Duty?
That Duty therefore is to a certain Extent a Compensation to the Company for the Loss of the Tonnage allowed to Officers?
Is it understood that the Officers make profitable Purchases of Tea, notwithstanding the Payment of the Twenty-five per Cent. Duty?
I understand that very few Officers in the direct Trade between England and China derive much Profit from it.
Do they derive Profit from the circuitous Voyage?
Those Voyages are occasionally very profitable. The Commanders speculate in Cotton; sometimes they gain; sometimes they lose; but upon the whole it is considered as a very gainful Voyage.
In what Manner do they realize their Fund in China for the Purchase of Tea in the direct Voyages?
They have all small Adventures outward bound; Articles of small Amount; in addition to that, I believe, they draw Bills on England.
Their Situations are understood to be very valuable, are not they?
I do not consider the Situation of a Captain in the direct Trade between England and China to be at all valuable; but it is believed that the circuitous Voyages are profitable; considerable Sums are paid to obtain the Command of a Ship, as has been supposed.
In general, it is considered that they are much more highly remunerated than the Commanders and Officers of other Trading Ships, is it not?
As compared with the Commanders of the Ships which the Company hire for the Conveyance of Tea to Canada, they certainly are. I am not well acquainted with the Remuneration given to the Commanders of Merchant Ships generally in the other Services.
As far as your Experience goes, do you apprehend that the Company derive any Advantage from carrying on their Trade with Canton in large Ships instead of Ships of smaller Tonnage?
In larger Ships the Teas are more quickly taken on board, more readily stowed, and less Injury and less Breakage arises. I have understood there is a very considerable Difference found in London between those brought in large and in small Ships; those brought in large appear to be in the best Condition.
Do you apprehend that a Vessel of Twelve hundred Tons has in that respect a decided Advantage over a Ship of Six hundred Tons?
I can speak only from Hearsay; I cannot speak from my own Knowledge.
Have you ever heard the Value of that Advantage estimated?
No, I have not.
In point of Security, do you apprehend a Ship of Five or Six hundred Tons to be as safe as a larger Ship?
I believe a Seaman would consider her quite as safe.
Did any Collisions take place between English Seamen and Chinese while you were there?
There have been Three or Four Cases of Homicide committed by English Seamen on Chinese while I was there.
What Measures were the Results of those Homicides?
The Chinese immediately addressed the Select Committee, and desired they would find out the guilty Persons and deliver them up to them. The Committee professed a perfect Readiness to do so, and endeavoured to find out the guilty Persons; but in no Case were they successful in bringing the Charge home to any particular Person, therefore they refused to deliver up any Person. Upon that the Trade was suspended; and here ensued a long Discussion, which generally lasted Six Weeks or Two Months, at the End of which Time some Compromise took place. The Chinese allowed the Trade to be re-opened, and forewent the Demand for the Person to be delivered up.
Do you apprehend the Power exercised over the Trade in the Company's Factories could be as well exercised by a King's Consul?
I apprehend not; because the Factory derive great Influence over Merchants by means of the Trade which is in their Hands, and the Merchants have it in their Power to influence the Officers of Government by their Representations and Explanations.
As regards the Country Trade, could not a King's Consul possess the same Powers as are now in the Hands of the Company's Factors, and exercise those Powers with equal Efficiency?
I apprehend that he might do so.
If the Interference of a King's Consul only took place when it was decidedly for the Interest of Trade that it should be exerted, would not the whole Commercial Influence of the Merchants at Canton go with the Consul, and place him in the same Position in which the Company's Factory now stand?
I doubt whether the British Merchants could be persuaded to suspend their Private Transactions for the sake of any general Benefit; therefore I consider they would not act cordially with the Consul in suspending the Trade, in order to induce the Chinese Government to come to any reasonable Terms in Cases of Dispute. We have seen on a late Occasion that the Americans rather gave up a Man whom they knew to be innocent than submit to a Detention of their Ships.
If Power were given to a King's Consul by Law over British Traders at the Port of Canton, in what Manner do you think the Consul could be best enabled to exercise that Power; would it not be necessary that the Ship's Papers should be deposited with him?
That I conceive would be the most effectual Manner of giving him a Controul.
Do you apprehend that Smuggling could be carried on as well on the Coasts of China as it is in the Mouth of the Harbour of Canton?
An Experiment was made about Four or Five Years ago; Three or Four small Ships went with Opium to the Coast of China, and I understand their Success in disposing of it was very small; so much so, as not to induce a Repetition of the Experiment. I know of no other Attempt which has been made to force a Trade on the Coast of China.
Is there considerable Intercourse carried on between Manilla and Canton?
A good deal of Intercourse in small Vessels between Macao and Manilla.
By whom are those small Vessels navigated?
They sail under the Spanish and Portuguese Flags; but it is understood that a great many of them are the Property of Chinese resident in Macao or Manilla.
What are the Cargoes of those Ships?
They import the Produce of the Malay Archipelago - Rattans, Betel Nuts, Birds Nests, Black Wood, and the general Produce of the Malay Archipelago.
Is there any Trade now between the North-west Coast of America and China?
I think there is generally One American Ship about every Two Years, which comes from the North-west Coast of America to China.
Do the Chinese carry on any considerable Trade with Japan?
I understand they are allowed to trade only in one Part of Japan; and that they are more restricted and watched than even the Dutch, who are allowed to trade to the Port of Nangasacky.
Are great Facilities given to Trade in the Port of Canton?
I believe there are greater Facilities there than in almost any Port in the World.
Can the Chinese talk English enough to make it easy for Europeans to deal with them?
The whole Commerce of the Port of Canton is carried on by means of broken English.
So that an Englishman arriving at that Port would find less Inconvenience than he would in a Port of France or Italy?
I should conceive so.
Do you apprehend that, as regards the Purchases of all Teas in China, the Company carry on their Trade as advantageously as any private Individuals?
I should say, certainly.
That if an Individual makes Profit by his Purchases of Teas in China, the Company could do so without the Advantage of any Monopoly?
I see no Reason why they should not.
Their Purchases in China being effected as cheaply as those of Individuals?
So that if any greater Difficulties are thrown in the Way of their conducting their Trade, under present Circumstances, than in the Way of Individuals in conducting that Trade, they must arise from Charges not connected with the original Purchase of the Teas; greater Freight, or greater Charges in this Country, or other Circumstances not connected with the original Purchase of Teas?
Yes; they certainly have every Advantage in carrying on the Trade which any Individual could have.
Do not their large Capital and their long Establishment in the Country give them great Facilities?
I think so.
Would it not be difficult for any Individuals to contend against them on equal Terms?
I do not see why a Mercantile House provided with adequate Means should not enter into the Trade on nearly the same Terms.
But their Capital and their long Connection with China would give the Company great Advantages?
It would give them some Advantages, no doubt.
Have there been any Improvements in the Quality of the Cotton which is imported into China from India?
The Importations of Cotton Wool from India vary very much in Quality; some are good, and some are very indifferent. The Chinese frequently complain of Portions of the Importations of Cotton being discoloured and of bad Quality. The very best Cotton Wool imported into China is brought by the Company. I do not however mean to say that the whole of the Company's Cotton is superior to that imported by Private Merchants.
Is no American Cotton introduced into China?
I think an Experiment was made with a few Bales once, but that it was found not to answer. It is more expensive than the Indian Cotton. The Chinese would not give a Price equivalent to the Difference of the Invoice Cost of Indian and American Cotton.
In the event of a Reduction of the Duties on Tea in this Country, and a greater Demand arising in consequence, would there be any Difficulty in obtaining a proportionate Increase of Quantity in China?
With regard to the Green Teas, we have found that the Quantity produced has very slowly increased, notwithstanding we have exerted ourselves much to have it increased. With regard to Black Tea, I imagine that the Quantity might certainly be gradually increased. We have never yet been able to obtain a full Supply of Green Teas of suitable Quality.
You were understood to say that in some Teas you have had Difficulty, in consequence of Competition with the Americans?
Yes, in some Species of the Green Teas.
They offered higher Prices?
They outbade us. A great Part of our Green Teas we secured by previous Contracts; those of course were delivered to us; but when we wanted others, and wished to purchase in the Market Teas brought down by Individuals with whom we had not contracted, it has occurred that we could not deal with them, the Americans giving higher Prices than we thought ourselves justified in giving.
Are the Cotton Goods exported from this Country by the Company of the same Description as those worn by the Mass of the Population in China?
They are chiefly such as the Chinese use in their Garments; Long Cloths they call them.
They were calculated for the Wear of the poorer Classes of People?
Exactly so; similar to the Chinese, but finer in Fabric.
You state that the Chinese Cottons are, taking Quality for Quality, cheaper than British Cotton?
Their Cotton Manufactures they say themselves are cheaper; they wear so much longer. The Prime Cost is dearer.
How do they spin their Cotton; by Hand or Machinery?
Do you know any thing of the comparative Price of that Cotton spun by Hand, and Cotton Twist manufactured in this Country?
I am not able to give that Information. The Exports of Cotton Twist took place after I left China.
You do not know to what Extent any Attempt has been made to supply Cotton Twist from hence?
No; I merely heard that such Attempts had been made by the Company and by Individuals, but I am not accurately informed. I think the last Year there was a large Shipment by the Company.
Have you understood there was a ready Sale for Cotton Twist?
I have heard that there was a Prospect of its paying the Costs and Charges, and that in consequence The East India Company were going to export some.
Are the various sorts of Tea, whether Black or Green, now imported into this Country, the same as used to be imported formerly in the earliest Stages of the Trade?
Very much so. The Tea upon the whole has been improved in Quality by the Attention which has been paid to it; for instance, that called Bohea now is very superior to that which bore that Name Fifteen or Sixteen Years ago.
But it is the same Tea, only more carefully prepared?
Yes; it is the lowest kind of Black Tea, but it is more carefully assorted, so as to exclude the coarser Leaves of the Plant.
It loses its Flavour by being kept, does it not?
Green Tea does lose its Flavour, but Black Tea is said to keep for Two or Three Years without Injury, if kept in a dry Place.
When the Company contract for Teas, do they require the Teas of a certain Season?
The Leaves of which the Contract Teas are made are picked and manufactured between the Months of May and August, and are shipped during the succeding Winter.
At what Time are they brought into the Market here?
They remain, I believe, a Year in the Warehouses; there is always a Year's Stock in the Warehouses on hand. They are nearly a Year old by the Time they arrive in England; then they remain another Year in the Warehouses.
You stated that there were heavy Transit Duties on Woollens in China; do you know how they are levied?
At Custom Houses, which we saw as we passed through the Country, between one Province and another.
How are the Goods carried?
By the Canals.
Do you know to what Extent the Duties raise the Price of the Woollen Goods before they reach the Northern Provinces of the Country?
I cannot say.
Are the Duties evaded?
There is a great deal of Smuggling carried on in China. The Interior of the Country is said to be well supplied with Opium, the whole of which must be smuggled.
How are the Russian Teas conveyed from China to St. Petersburgh?
I am not aware how they are sent; I should think they go by the Grand Canal to the North, to Pekin. I am not aware of the Route between Pekin and Kiatca.
Do you know the length of Time it occupies in conveying them from Pekin to Petersburgh?
No, I do not; we were Four Months coming down from Pekin to Canton.
You stated that a large Ship had great Advantages in the Stowage of the Tea, as compared with a smaller one?
The Chests are stowed much more rapidly, are less liable to be broken, and less Damage is found to occur in the Cargoes.
In what respect is there greater Damage as regards the Voyage on board a smaller Ship than a larger one?
The Company employed small Ships to take Teas to Canada, and have occasionally freighted with the same Article small Ships from China to London. I have heard that the Teas taken in those small Ships were in a much worse Condition than those taken in the large Ships; that the Packages were more broken, and they were injured also by Leakage. In the Year 1815 there was a Number of small Ships employed in the China Trade, and I understood the Teas taken by them turned out badly, in comparison with that imported in larger Ships.
Should you think that a Land Carriage of several Thousand Miles would be less likely to damage Packages than a long Voyage in a Ship of 600 Tons?
No. I should think they would be extremely liable to be damaged in a long Land Carriage. We know that a great deal of Damage arises in bringing down the Teas to Canton from the Tea Country; there is considerable Loss sustained therefrom in every Year.
The Question refers to the Transit to Petersburgh?
I imagine that there is a great deal of Damage sustained by the Article during such a Transit.
Is it not understood that the Tea sold in Russia is of very good Quality?
Yes; but it is packed in small Packages, and consists of the most valuable sort of Tea only. I suppose there is more Care taken of such an Adventure than could be given to the vast Importations of Tea into Canton.
What is there to prevent a Person packing Chests of Tea safely in a small Vessel as well as in a large one?
It would take a great deal more Time to load them.
What Difference of Time do you conceive there would be?
That Question I am not qualified to answer; the Matter has been a Subject of Conversation with the Captains who are engaged in stowing their Ships with Tea, and that is their Opinion.
Do you think there would be more Difference of Time in stowing Teas than other Commodities?
They are obliged to use a great deal of Care in consequence of the Tea Chests being made of fragile Wood. In what precise degree a large Ship is better adapted than a small one for the Conveyance of Tea I am not qualified to decide.
By what Class of Persons are the Long Ells worn; for what Purpose are they used?
Generally for Furniture; but they are also worn by Shopkeepers, and the general Class of Labourers.
Yes; and Coverings of Chairs and Tables and Beds.
Are they the same sort of Cloth called Furniture Cloth in this Country?
I never saw them used in this Country. It is a thin Manufacture.
The Demand for them, you say, has fallen off in China?
It has not increased; the Exports certainly have diminished, as compared to what the Export of 1820 was.
If other Persons export an equal Quantity, then the Demand cannot be said to have fallen off?
No; supposing that be made to appear.
Camlets are universally used in China, are they not?
No, they are not; they are used chiefly for Furniture, more than for Clothing.
Do you know in what Manner the Americans conduct their Trade with the Outside Merchants; do they carry it on as a Trade of Barter, or make it Two Transactions?
The Americans generally go into the Market provided with Dollars, therefore Barter does not enter into their Transactions.
When they offer Manufactures, what is done?
They sell Manufactures to a small Extent, and they observe a great deal of Secrecy as to their Mode of disposing of them.
Have you heard it stated that the Americans make a Profit on the Export of British Manufacture?
So I have seen that stated in printed Papers.
From your Knowledge of the Trade, can you understand how that occurs?
I should not have expected such a Result, from my Knowledge of the Trade.
They either must purchase their Manufactures much cheaper than the Company, or sell them dearer, to bring about that Result?
Certainly they must. The Company sustain a Loss on their Exports generally; the Americans affirm that they derive a Profit.
They sustain a Loss, though the Tale appears to be worth 6s. 8d. in their Accounts, being really worth 6s.?
Are any Part of the Imports the Russians introduce into China Woollens?
I understand they do introduce into China a good deal of the Produce of Saxony.
What Description of Goods are they; the finer Woollens, or the coarser?
We had some Specimens sent down to us a few Years ago of the coarse Woollens, and in consequence of that we sent them to England, and had Cloth of the same kind manufactured and returned to Canton; but it would not realise the Cost and Charges, and the Experiment was not repeated.
Do you not conceive the Cost and Charge of conveying Saxon Cloth to China by Land greater than that of conveying to Canton by Sea, and then sending them up the Country?
That I am not able to say.
Have there not been Occasions on which the junior Hong Merchants have lent their Names for the Purpose of conducting Transactions directly with the Country Merchants?
The junior Merchants were very much embarrassed, and in fact Bankrupts: the Company's Servants wished to support them, to keep up a Number of Persons with whom they might deal; and, on their Part, they contracted with Country Merchants for the Delivery of Teas, which were paid for at once, direct from the Company's Factory. The Object was to keep up a Number of Hong Merchants, that we might not be placed entirely within the Controul of the Three or Four senior Hong Merchants.
Practically you stood, in your Dealings with the Country Merchants, in the Position in which the Hong Merchants usually stand; engaging with them directly for the Price of the Teas?
Did you find that you contracted on better Terms?
The Contract was made with the Country Dealers on the same Terms on which the senior Merchants contracted with their Dealers; the Teas were brought to the Company according to the Scale of Prices adopted by the Tea Trade generally.
Did you not in that Case make, as an additional Profit, the Profit of the Hong Merchant, deducting only that paid to the Merchant for the Use of his Name?
The Profit went of course to the junior Hong Merchant; he had the whole Profit allowed to him, as a Mode of paying off his Incumbrances. The Object was to restore them to a Situation of Efficiency, that they might bear Competition with the senior and richer Merchants.
He was allowed to have the same Benefit as he would have had if he had traded with his own Money?
Yes; just so.
It has been stated that the Teas brought by the Americans and others to Europe and elsewhere are of inferior Quality to those imported to this Country by the Company; is that so?
I believe they are so generally.
Do you conceive that that Tea of an inferior Quality, so imported into Europe, is inferior to the Mixture of dry Sloe and Ash Leaves sold in this Country for Tea?
That is very probably not the Case; but never having drank Tea Abroad, I cannot say. But the Americans think that they drink better Tea than we do here, though they acknowledge that the Tea they export from Canton is not so good as ours.
Why have The East India Company never endeavoured to introduce into Consumption in this Country that inferior kind of Tea?
I believe it is because the Tea Brokers, and those most conversant with the Trade, have strongly recommended to them not to introduce that kind of Tea; and that they acted upon the Recommendation of the Tea Trade.
Would the Brokers have the Power of imposing such a Restriction upon the Sale of Tea if the Importation of Tea was more open in this Country?
The Brokers have the best Opportunities of getting Information, as I understand, regarding the Peculiarities of the Market. In the Dispatches we have received from the Court of Directors, they have always dwelt on the Necessity of our keeping up the Quality of Tea, by not sending any such as would bring the Article into Discredit.
Were you in China at the Time the Americans first engaged in the Trade to Canton?
There was a large Trade carried on by the Americans when I first went out, in 1805.
Can you state that the Improvement in the American Teas has kept pace with the Improvement which you describe to have taken place in the Teas of The East India Company?
I have no Means of answering that Question.
Are you aware of any Instances in which English, European or Foreign Capital has been lent to the Hong or other Merchants at Canton, so as to establish a direct Interest between them and Foreigners?
The junior Merchants, and indeed all but Two or Three of the senior Hong Merchants, have been in the habit of trading on Capital furnished them by the Houses of Agency and others in Canton.
Are such Transactions carried on without any Difficulty from the Chinese Government or the Chinese Laws?
I believe the Chinese Laws will not recognize the Right of Chinese to borrow Money of Europeans.
But, practically speaking, are such Loans made, and the Benefit of them received, without Inconvenience, by Foreign Agents or Capitalists?
I consider the Agency Houses to which I allude would, in a Majority of Cases, not have advanced Money to the Merchants without an Understanding, that if the Teas on which it was advanced were purchased by the Company, the Money should be returned to them from the Company's Factory, without going into the Merchants Hands.
Then they have to a certain degree the Security in their own Hands?
In that Case they have Security, and that to a considerable Extent. If the Teas, when brought to Canton, prove of such an inferior Quality that the Company will not purchase them, then the Lender would have no Security but the Honour of the Hong Merchant.
Are such Loans made upon Interest, or the Expectation of receiving a Participation of the Profits?
In all Cases of which I am informed, the Loans were made at the Rate of Interest of One per Cent. per Month.
Do you conceive that to be the established Interest in China, or the particular Interest attaching to those Transactions?
I have understood that to be the usual Rate, but I have known One and a Quarter per Cent. paid by Hong Merchants who have been obliged to borrow. A good deal of the Trade of the junior Merchants of late Years has been under the Controul of the Company's Committee. From the distressed Situation of those Merchants, we could not allow any of our Imports to go into their Hands until the Money for which they were sold was brought to the Factory. In some of those Cases a Deduction of One and a Quarter per Cent. was made on the Price given by the Native Dealer who purchased the Goods of the junior Hong Merchant, in consequence of prompt Payment.
Has any Capital been advanced in the Way you describe by Americans?
I have understood, largely; but there was no Understanding between the Company's Servants and the Americans with regard to the Capital so advanced. I know it is a Fact that large Sums have been advanced by One American Merchant to Hong Merchants.
Have you understood that the Americans have experienced any Difficulties with regard to the Reimbursement of such Goods, or the Profits arising from their Employment, which have not been experienced by English Merchants making similar Advances?
No; I am not aware that they stand in a worse Situation; excepting the Cases in which certain British Merchants advanced Cash to Hong Merchants, with an Understanding with the Company's Servants. That has been mentioned above.
Will you state the Causes of the distressed Situation of the junior Merchants at Canton?
The improvident Conduct of the Merchants, and their speculative Habits.
You stated that the Teas furnished to the Americans were of inferior Quality to those furnished to the Company; do you apply that Observation to all Descriptions of Teas, or only particular Descriptions?
We understand, generally, that the Quality of their Teas is inferior to that of The East India Company.
Do you apply that Observation to Green Teas as well as others?
Yes; they export but a small Quantity of Black Tea.
You were understood to say that they gave such high Prices for Green Tea as the Company did not feel justified in going to?
They gave high Prices for Teas of low Qualities, which we did not feel justified in giving; that occurred in 1825 and 1826.
Their Competition increased the Price of Green Teas, did it not?
Yes, in 1825 and 1826; but it has fallen since.
Is Green Tea as cheap now as it was before that Competition commenced?
I have not heard the Prices of Green Tea since I left China, but they had fallen before I left. The Price of Twankay, which forms the Bulk of our Green Teas, has remained the same for many Years past.
Is the larger Quantity of Green Tea now delivered of the same Quality as the smaller Quantity was formerly?
Yes, it is, I believe, of the same Average Quality.
But there has been great Difficulty experienced in obtaining the additional Supply?
We have always given the Hong Merchants larger Orders for Green Teas than they executed; they declared they were unable to procure Green Tea sufficient to meet our Annual Orders.
That is, at the same Price at which the smaller Quantity had been before delivered?
Yes; at our fixed Prices.
Did they ask an Increase of Price, and say, that if they had an Increase of Price they could supply a greater Quantity?
No, they did uot. The Bulk of our Green Teas consists of Twankay, and that is a Species of Tea in which the Americans do not much deal; therefore they never suggested that our Prices were insufficient to induce the Manufacture of more, but that they could not get a larger Supply.
What is the Species of Green Tea in which the Americans chiefly deal?
Hysons, Hyson Skins and Young Hysons.
Young Hyson is one of the most delicate and finest Teas, is it not?
It has not been thought much of in England, I understand, or the Company's Officers would import it largely into this Country.
Has there been any Difficulty in obtaining an increased Supply of Black Tea?
We have never experienced any absolute Deficiency in Black Tea. Some Years the Quantity brought down to Canton has been only sufficient to load the Ships; in other Years 100,000 or 150,000 Chests have remained unsold at the End of the Season; and then the best of them were purchased by the Company at reduced Prices, to be shipped the following Season.
Does the Factory make it a Practice to sell every Year all the Woollens and other Manufactures they receive in the course of the Year, whatever the Price which may be obtained for them?
No matter what the Price?
No; except in some very rare Instance, they are always sold, as otherwise they would interfere with the Exports of the following Season.
There have not been Cases in which the Directors have been advised to send out only a Portion of the Supply the following Year, in consequence of your not being able to obtain an adequate Price?
We have occasionally requested them to limit their Supply; but never wholly to suspend their Import.
Have you ever been able to form an Opinion, whether it would be possible to obtain, in the course of Five to Ten Years, an increased Supply to the Extent of Five or Ten Millions of Pounds of Tea from China?
That is a speculative Question; but I think that the Supply of Black Tea may be increased, and that in case of a steady Demand it might be gradually increased to that.
Is it Black Tea which is in general Use throughout the Country by the Inhabitants?
Is that Tea consumed by the poorest Persons in China?
Tea of some kind or other is consumed by the poorest Persons; but a great deal we saw used as Tea we were told was the Leaf of some other Plant not Tea.
Is Tea consumed throughout China?
So we understood.
It is supposed to be cultivated by Individuals in their Gardens; by the lower Orders of People?
It is said so. In the Province of Tokien there are large Districts covered with it; it grows on the hilly Grounds.
Does it require any particular Soil?
A light hilly Ground it is said produces the best Tea.
Is not the Shrub the same for all Descriptions of Tea?
That has been a disputed Question, but we rather conceive it is; that it is only the Difference of Culture and Preparation makes the Difference between Black and Green Tea; the Crops are picked in the Spring; the first in May; there are Three Selections of Leaves in the course of the Year.
Do you know how soon the Tea Plant bears Leaves?
I am not aware of that.
Do you know whether the Chinese Government make great Efforts to prevent Opium being imported?
They publish annually Two or Three Edicts, denouncing the strongest Punishment on those who may be caught smuggling; but notwithstanding that the Trade is carried on with the utmost Facility. It has increased within the last Twenty Years from 3,000 Chests a Year to 12,000 or 14,000 Chests.
Do you conceive that the Efforts to prevent it are chiefly confined to those Edicts?
They employ Revenue Boats to cruise and intercept the Smugglers, but the Commanders of those Boats are understood to be bribed, and often to be the Persons who convey the Opium from the Ships to the Coast.
Do not you apprehend that there would be a considerable Demand in this Country for that Species of Tea which you conceive the Tea Brokers are averse to the Consumption of?
I should think they were the best qualified to judge of the kind of Teas suitable to the Market. We have always understood that the Way to extend the Consumption of Tea in this Country was to maintain the Quality of the Article; such has been the Principle always held out to us for our Guidance in China.
You think that in excluding that Species of Tea they have acted solely on that Ground?
I conceive so. There is a very large Quantity of cheap Tea sent to England, but it is always of a sound and good Quality. The Prices of Teas are very much diminished at the Company's Sales, in consequence of the vast Quantities put up; the Average Price has been much decreased.
Is there any Species of European Woollen Manufacture for which you think there is an increasing Demand in China?
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Thursday next, One o'Clock.