Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
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Die Jovis, 10 Junii 1830.
So far as my Knowledge goes it has rather increased; I cannot speak positively as to the whole of it, but I should be inclined to think it had increased; that which has been under our Management has increased.
I will state those which are generally known; it not being a Business which is our own, I do not know whether it would be right for me to state the Particulars of Articles which may lead to Profit, and which belong to the House in Boston; but the Articles we have shipped are chiefly those which are shipped by The East India Company.
Yes, and Metals; and Opium has been a great Article; there are many other Articles, but I believe they are unknown to the Public; and it would probably injure our Correspondents were I to name them so precisely as that any other Person could come into Competition with them in the Shipment of them.
In the Year 1826, it was £120,000; in 1827, £82,000; in 1828, £98,000; in 1829, £147,000; to 1830 I cannot speak precisely, but I remember One Cargo alone was £160,000, but that included a considerable Portion of Opium; I think, however, it has been larger during the present Year than at any former Period.
I have no doubt they have been profitable to a certain degree, that they have not given large Profits, but there has been a regular small Profit upon them; that is my Impression, though I had not the Settlement of these Matters, and therefore cannot speak positively.
Since the Year 1819 it has increased very much to that Quarter; perhaps during the past Year or two the Business has been rather over done to the Manilla and Batavia Market and to Sincapore, which has rather diminished the direct Shipments to Canton.
I am aware that it has diminished after the Year 1826; I think the Trade was very much over done at that Time; that, like the Trade of all other Places, there has been a Diminution since that Period; but it is now recovering again, and probably, during this Year, it will be greater than it was the last.
Perhaps it will be necessary to take the Year previous to that as shewing it. The Imports into China by the American Vessels in the Years 1825, 1826 and 1827 were 7,913,810 Dollars, the Exports during the same Period 8,335,788 Dollars; in 1826 and 1827 the Imports have fallen to 4,243,617, and the Exports to 4,373,891.
By the Account presented to Parliament it appears that the largest Import of Manufactures upon the Part of the Americans into China took place in the Years 1821-22, in which Year that Import amounted in Value to 3,074,741 Dollars, whereas in the last Year in this Account, 1826-27, that Import amounted only to 2,002,549; have you any Means of stating in what Articles of Manufacture that Import had fallen off?
I am not able to state precisely on what Articles the Import had fallen off. I should infer from the Statement that probably in that Year there was a large Importation of Furs from the Northwest Coast of America, and probably a good deal of Ginseng from the United States-an Article that sometimes bears a great Price in Canton.
It appears that in the Year 1806-7 the total Number of Furs imported amounted to 298,949, and in the Year 1811-12 to 367,215; that in the Year 1825-26 the Import was 65,958, and in the Year 1826-27, 73,575; can you explain to what Circumstances that great Diminution is to be attributed?
In the early Period named the Trade was much more lucrative, there were a greater Number of Ships engaged in it, and the Price of Furs at Canton had been maintained at the same Rate; but of late Years the Trade has dwindled to a very trifling Amount; there are very few Persons engaged in it, and it does not yield much Profit.
I am inclined to think the Limits of the Trade are rather reduced by the Regulations of the Russians; they are not allowed to cruise so far North as formerly; and probably from this, that there is a Scarcity of Furs; that they cannot collect so many as formerly, particularly the Fur Seals; the Number is very soon reduced.
Formerly there were Mr. Cushing, and he had a Clerk; and sometimes he might have two; latterly there has been Mr. Forbes, and he has had a young Gentleman with him; there is no other Establishment beyond that of the Servants in the Factory.
The established Commission, I believe, is Two and a Half per Cent. for American Business; they generally return to the Supercargoes One per Cent. and that, I believe, varying; I suspect according to the sort of Bargain they make at the Time.
The general Commission is Two and a Half per Cent. and every Ship which goes there has a Supercargo who is charged to manage the Ship; he endeavours to make the best Bargain he can with regard to Commissions, and I should suppose that at least One per Cent. was returned to him, which forms his Portion of the Profit.
Green Tea is not so abundant as Black, but I have never heard that they found any Difficulty in obtaining as much as they wanted; it certainly yields a greater Profit at the present Moment than any other kind of Tea, and from that it might be inferred that there is a Deficiency of it, but it never occurred to me before.
I cannot speak as to that, but I conclude the same Description of Merchants; perhaps not the very Merchants with whom the Hong Merchants may be in correspondence, but Persons having Tea from the Interior.
Some of them do, those who buy from the Hong Merchants; I should say those which the Hong Merchants have contracted for, or which have been placed in their Hands for Sale from one or other of those Causes.
I have here a Statement of Exports to the United States for the Season of 1828-29; it would give an Idea of the Proportion of the different sorts of Teas shipped to America. I can read the Totals: of each kind of Bohea 700 Chests, Souchong 16,447 Chests, Pekoe 190, Hyson Skin 17,788, Twankay 5,707, Young Hyson 24,169, Hyson 10,512, Imperial and Gunpowder 4,582; making a Total of 80,498 Chests.
It appears by the Accounts presented to Parliament that, in the Year ending the 30th of September 1826, the Quantity of Tea imported into the United States amounted to 10,098,900 Pounds, and in the following Year, ending the 30th of September 1827, to 5,875,638; to what Circumstances do you attribute that great Falling-off in the Year 1827?
The Trade had been very much overdone; the Consumption of the United States I should not consider more than between Six and Seven Millions of Pounds, therefore it was a very great Excess of Importation, which would naturally adjust itself; I believe there was at that Time a great deal of Money lost by Importations of Teas from Canton, and that the subsequent short Importations have reduced the Stock, so that the Business is now in a wholesome State again.
It appears that the Exports of Tea from the United States in the Year 1826 amounted to 2,804,753 Pounds, and in the following Year to 1,626,417 Pounds, the Decrease being 1,178,336 Pounds; can you account for the great Falling-off in the Export of Tea from the United States in that Year?
The Exports of Tea from the United States depends entirely upon the State of the Dutch and Hamburgh Markets; it is exported to those Markets and to France; and I do not know whether any Inference could be drawn from the Fact, that the Exportation was diminished or increased, only that the Foreign Markets furnished a better Market than could be got at Home.
I do not think the Consumption of America increases so much as it would in other Countries; they are not great Tea Drinkers; they are more generally Consumers of Coffee; the Consumption however has increased pretty regularly.
It appears that the Exports of Tea from Canton, for European Consumption, were in the Year 1825-26, 1,360,800 Pounds, and in the Year 1826-27, 357,966 Pounds; do you apprehend that so great a Falling-off in the Exports of Teas for European Consumption from Canton in those Years, taken in conjunction with the Falling-off in the Exports from America of Teas in nearly the same Period, would have taken place, had not the Sale of American Teas on the Continent been materially interfered with by the Import of Teas of other Nations?
I should draw that Inference from it, that the Sale of Teas of the American Importations must have been interfered with by Importations of other Nations; of late Years the Dutch Company has endeavoured to supply Holland fully.
For a Time they have; for the present the Dutch Company have desisted; they have sent out only Half their Number of Ships this Year, and there is more Room for Americans or for Foreigners; the Prices are now improved, yielding a small Profit.
Do you apprehend that, in consequence of that Competition between the Americans and the Dutch, the Price of Tea during the last Year, on the Continent, can have been considered to be a remunerating Price?
I should think they were; there has been a good deal of Embarrassment in that Section of the Country, and, as is usual under those Circumstances, there has been no Speculation in Merchandize, and the Prices have been lower in consequence.
I believe very considerable, that is, considerable for the United States; Shipments have been made to Manilla and Canton of a Species of Cotton more resembling the White Cottons of Bengal than any Cotton Goods manufactured here; they are stout Goods; they, have sold I understand, very well; those Goods have been imitated here at about Two Thirds of the American Cost, and the Business from America I believe is at an End.
Have you seen an Account in the Papers presented to Parliament last Year, stating the Quantities and Value of British Articles imported into China by the Americans in the Years 1824-5, 1825-6 and 1826-7?
Have the goodness to look at the Account, Page 46, and state whether, as far as you are acquainted with the Course of Trade, the Manufactures there stated as British probably were of British Manufacture?
I should say they were; there is a Description of Goods answering to the Name of Camlets manufactured in Holland, but the Quantity is not great, and I am not aware that any were shipped during these Years.
I do not see that he would have any Advantage; Americans have the same Privileges here; the only Charge, I believe, they have to pay more than the British Subject has to pay, is the Scavage Dues to the City of London, which amount to about One per Cent.
I think there would be a very considerable Increase. There seems to be a complete Revolution in regard to the Trade of the East Indies. The first Ten Years of my Commercial Life, I was engaged in receiving the very Manufactures from India which are now carried the other Way. I have no doubt that the Chinese would receive Manufactures of England, and that they would go into more general Consumption, if it was in the Hands of Private Traders, as it requires considerable Management to introduce the different Articles.
If the Americans now possess and have for several Years possessed all the Facilities for carrying on that Trade in British Manufactures which would be possessed by Englishmen in the event of opening the Trade, how is it, if that Trade is capable of Extension, that it has not been extended much more than it has been?
It is a Trade which requires great Experience in the Details; there are very few Persons in the United States who know any thing about it. It is a Trade which requires a double Capital, inasmuch as they cannot rely on the Sales of the Goods for the Purchase of the Return Cargo; consequently, those who have sent Ships from the United States for a Cargo of Teas for the Consumption of the United States could not calculate on any Period of the Return of that Ship, unless they were to send Credit or Dollars. The Goods Business has been confined to Two Houses. I believe that in British Manufactures they have not relied so much on the Return of Teas to the United States.
I believe there is Capital enough there; but that those Persons who possess that Capital have not acquired a proper Knowledge; but that they have it now, or will have it very soon, I have no doubt. They will carry on a greater Portion of Trade in a very short Time.
Certainly; if the Tea Trade is closed against them there is no Mode of making a Remittance beyond a certain Point. I believe I have stated that on Teas generally to Europe there is or has been very little Profit; it has been very difficult to make a par Remittance in Teas; the very limited Amount which can be remitted in Teas to the Continent, where the Consumption is very trifling compared with the Consumption of England, prevents their embarking beyond any Number of Ships required to bring back the Teas necessary for those Markets. During the past Year I believe the House of Perkins were the Shippers of all the Teas to the European Markets, except those by the Dutch Company, which did not extend to more than Five or Six Cargoes, perhaps equal to Two Cargoes of the Company.
The American Merchants of Canton having open to them the whole Supply of all the World with Teas, with the Exception of Russia and England, do you think their Market for Teas is too small to enable them to extend that Trade considerably; that there is a Difficulty in obtaining Returns?
That is a Difficulty that would be in some measure removed, probably this very Year, by the recent Discovery that Dollars are no longer wanted there; the Americans now take Credit to a considerable Extent, and the Bills which would be thus offered in the Market could be purchased as a Remittance.
The Bank of the United States issue Bills; the different Banking Houses of the United States give Credits upon London; those Bills are taken to Canton, and are there sold, and are bought by the Native Merchants who trade to Canton with Opium; they take the Bills to Bombay and Calcutta; they are there sold as Remittance to England.
In the one Case it is on the Import, and in the other upon the Export. Those adventuring from the United States, and sending Dollars, rely entirely upon the manufactured Silks and Tea which they get in return for their Profit; but on that Part in which I conceive British Manufactures are concerned, there the Profit on the British Manufactures, I should say, was the Temptation.
If there were so large a Profit upon British Manufactures as to create that Temptation, and the Americans have had, as they have had for Years, the Means of exporting those Articles in any Quantities, can you explain why they have not been exported to a greater Extent than £200,000 a Year, in Value?
It takes a double Capital; and the Information necessary to carry it on successfully at Canton is confined to very few; I am not aware that there are more than Two Houses in the United States which have had any Knowledge of it 'till within these few Months.
Generally Persons of large Capital, or they have acquired it in the Course of this Trade; all the old Houses, however, engaged in it have acquired Fortunes. There have been Failures within the last few Years of Persons who adventured indiscreetly beyond their Means.
I do not think they would carry it on more cheaply; except that they would have the Advantage of the One per Cent. which the Americans have to pay for the Scavage Dues. I do not know of any other Difference. Perhaps the Freight might be rather more on English Ships.
There is not much Difference with the recently constructed Ships at Liverpool, where the Competition is very active; they have some British Vessels on the same Model as the Americans, and they rank together as they lie, and sail Side by Side. I believe the Amount of British Tonnage is rather increasing; I allude to the Amount of British Shipping bringing Cotton, for instance. I believe there is not much Difference in the Freight or the sailing of those Ships recently constructed on approved Models; they are fully equal in every Way, and there is very little Difference in Freight.
In the United States a Shipowner offered to contract to supply a Ship at Thirty Dollars per Ton Measurement on Teas, the Ton of Forty Cubic Feet; that was for the Voyage out and home; that comes to about £6 10s.
I do not recollect what it is out and back, but I think it is outward Two and a Half; and I believe homeward Two and a Half. I have understood the Company's Ships have paid Three per Cent. but latterly they paid only Two and a Half.
I think that a British Ship cannot be navigated so cheap as an American. I believe there is a Necessity for taking Apprentice Boys, which create Expence; and the Provisions cost rather more. I think in a long Voyage it might make a considerable Difference. I have stated before that it makes a Quarter; but I think that is too much.
In that Answer you compare the Expence of navigating an American Ship from America, and a British Ship from England; but if both left a British Port for China, would there be any considerable Difference of Expence in navigating them?
Note.-The above is only the Quantity brought into Manilla, and is probably very far short of the actual Productions, perhaps One Third; most of it is founded upon Estimates which may be quite erroneous in many Instances. Their own Consumption of Sugar, Rice, Indigo, Wax, Rum, and Tobacco is very great, as well as of all the other Articles named herein. The Value of Rum and Tobacco are put down at the Prices paid by the Government to the Natives; they are both Monopolies, and are resold at an enormous Profit. The Government probably receive One Million of Dollars for those Two Items; the Tobacco, it is true, forms their chief Financial Resource.
We always contract for the Company's Quality, without exhibiting any Samples; and when the Goods are delivered they are examined; if they are faulty some Allowance is made in that respect. We are probably not so particular as the Company.
They advertise for Tenders of a certain Quantity, of Camlets for instance, and I think there is nothing more easy than for the Manufacturers of Camlets, if they choose, (I do not know that they do so,) to combine. I should not think it safe to advertise in that Way. We go into the open Market and buy; each one, being eager to have the whole of our Order, will name the lowest Price.
I should think not as to Quality; the Dimensions are precisely the same, the Goods the same; but sometimes our Shipments may have some few Imperfections about them, such as Stains; or perhaps a Piece may have a little Imperfection in Colour, or something of that kind, which the Company's may not have.
It appears by the Return, Page 53, in these Papers before you, that in the Years 1816, 1817 and 1818, the Tonnage cleared out from the United States for Ports beyond the Cape of Good Hope was respectively 35,253, 39,169 and 36,586, and in the Three Years 1826, 1827 and 1828, the Tonnage amounted only to 19,070, 17,078 and 14,112; can you explain the Causes which have occasioned so very great a Diminution in the Amount of Tonnage clearing out for Ports beyond the Cape of Good Hope; and can you state what Part of the Trade, which the Americans possessed beyond the Cape of Good Hope has failed since the last Period?
I should say it might be accounted for on general Principles; Peace having taken place, the Trade naturally went into those Channels to which it properly belonged; the Americans having in former Times, from their Neutrality, carried on a considerable Portion of the India Trade, they continued their Expeditions afterwards, and that they found their Mistake in about the Year 1818; or perhaps the opening the Trade to India might have some Effect. I do not remember the precise Period of that; but the American Trade to Bengal is now confined to the Consumption of the United States: there are no longer Importations with a view to Exportation to different Parts of Europe; even a Portion of their Supply of Bengal Produce is drawn from London to the United States in a Variety of Articles. A Portion of that Tonnage was employed in the Trade to Batavia; the Dutch have made Regulations which have destroyed their Trade there; that will account for a Portion of it.
It appears by the Account at Page 28, that in the Years subsequent to the opening of the Trade with India, namely, 1816-17, 1817-18 and 1818-19 respectively, the Tonnage of Vessels clearing out from British Ports in India for America was 15,145, 18,003 and 23,944, and that in the Three last Years, in the Years 1824-25, 1825-26 and 1826-27 respectively, the Tonnage of American Ships clearing out from India for America has been 3,067, 5,743 and 2,389; do you know to what Circumstances is to be attributed that great Falling-off in the American Trade with India since the Year 1818-19?
I should attribute the Falling-off to the Circumstance, that in Time of Peace all Goods must go to the Place of Consumption in the most economical Manner, and that America being a Place of small Consumption, they can afford to bring only the Goods which they want; it will not any longer answer to export the Goods to America for the Purpose of being re-exported to the European Markets, where they will be consumed.
In your Opinion, since the opening of the Trade with India, the Trade for the Supply of England and of Europe has been carried on more economically by British Ships than it could be by American Ships, and the British Ships have supplanted the Americans in that Trade?
I do not think that will apply exactly so, as the Voyage from India to America is so far out of the Track. British Ships have not gone cheaper, but their Voyage is not so long. The regular Course of the Trade is to London, as the Emporium of the World, as the World now stands.
But since the opening of the Trade with India to the Subjects of England, the British Merchant having supplanted the American in the Trade with India, being enabled to supply the Demands of England and of Europe at a less Charge, do you, from that Circumstance, infer that, if the Trade with China were equally opened to the British Merchant, he would equally succeed in supplanting the American Merchant in that Trade?
Perhaps the American Merchant, from the Experience of the past Twenty Years, is more a general Speculator than the English Merchant, and would therefore perhaps for a Time manage it rather better than it could be managed by the British Merchant; but so far as the Expence of carrying it on, I know of no other Difference than that I have mentioned, in the Difference of navigating the Ships that I spoke of, that it amounted to One Quarter of the Freight, which I think I reckoned rather too high.
I believe a great Portion of the Tonnage of Great Britain is in Ships of bad Construction for the Times, that cannot carry Bulk in proportion to their Tonnage, and they are unprofitable in the present improved State of Shipbuilding.
I have no Doubt it would, though I do not think it would be done quite so rapidly; the Expence of Building is rather greater, which I conceive to be compensated by the lower Rate of Interest of Money; but the Cost of a Ship is certainly greater than in the United States.
Do you conceive that the Chinese Population would be more or less disposed to an increased Consumption of British Manufactures than that of Java, Manilla or other Parts of the East with which we have been acquainted?
I have no Doubt they would as readily receive Foreign Manufactures as those of the Places named; perhaps it would be more difficult to introduce them; but I have no Doubt that they would be eventually introduced.
I should think it would be the most advisable Method to let the Merchants follow their own Course; they understand their own Interests, and they would introduce the Goods if it was possible to do so with a Profit; whether by regular Importations, or by Sales from their Ships along the Coast, would depend upon the Profit.
The Opium is introduced from Lintin by Water Carriage; the Boats come alongside and take the Opium. I believe it is conducted in this Way: A Chinese at Canton, if he wishes to buy Opium, pays the Money, and receives an Order for the Opium, which he sends with his Boat to take it in at Lintin, and there the Transaction is ended.
The British had this Advantage, that he could find a great Number of Persons disposed to adventure and more readily make up a Cargo. The American would have to take the whole on his own Account; whereas the British Cargo would be made up by a greater Number of Shippers.
I believe there is no great Difficulty in trading to Sincapore; that they go on Shore and make their Bargains, and go a few Miles off to make Transfers; that it is done in the same Manner as the Contracts for Pepper are made at Prince of Wales Island; that the Contracts are made there, and the Transfer on the Coast.
I believe the Chinese carry on the greater Portion of Trade in those Places at Batavia; I believe the Sales of British Manufactures there are almost entirely by the Chinese, and at Manilla it is the same.
I think in the Chinese Junks each Man on board has his Investment of Goods for the Market to which he is going, and his Room which he rents. I believe the Freight in such Cases must be very dear. They only go at particular Seasons of the Year. British Vessels, from their particular Construction, would sail frequently against the Monsoon in that Quarter of the World, so that they would soon destroy any profitable Trade by the Chinese.
I should think not. My Impression is, that this Trade is chiefly connected with the Chinese resident at different Places to which they go. At Siam, I am told that the Number of Chinese Junks is altogether 150 or more lying in the River at a Time; but there is a great Population of Chinese engaged in Agriculture and the Manufacture of Sugar, and those Junks bring their Supplies, and also Emigrants.
You stated that One of the Obstructions to a more extended Trade between this Country and China on the Part of the Americans was, the Necessity of American Merchants possessing what you describe as a double Capital; would the same Obstacle apply in the same Way to the British Merchant carrying on the same Trade to Canton?
It would not be carried on in the same Way. The American Shipowner is also the Merchant. The Voyage from hence would probably be one where a great Number of Persons would consign Goods for Sale in China; and this they would leave more to the House in China to direct Returns. The Object of the American being as well to get back a Cargo of Teas for the American Market, he cannot calculate on his Teas if he uses British Manufactures. But here I think the constant and regular Shipment of British Manufactures, with the Balance of Country Trade, would naturally throw more British Capital into Canton than would be wanted immediately for Investment in Tea.
That applies more particularly to the Circumstance that the American Shipowner is a Merchant; if he was not it would make no Difference; he rather wishes to employ his own Ships, and in so doing he makes his Returns in Teas to the Continent, which comes near to his Port of Loading, and they probably have not found it their Interest to extend their Operation beyond the Goods that they could make Returns to Europe for.
So that if a British Merchant were at liberty to import Tea into England for the Consumption of England, you conceive that would induce him to extend the Exportation of British Manufactures in the same Way?
It would; he would have a further Temptation to increase the Exports of British Manufactures; he could take in a Number of Markets in his Route; there would be Batavia, Manilla and Sincapore, without going out of his Track. There is a Trade between all those Places and England, of course; there are always some Shipments. But the American has not that Advantage; he has no Connection there, and of course his Voyage is more direct.
You stated that it occasionally happened that the Goods you purchased here, which were intended to be of the same Quality as those exported by The East India Company, were sometimes somewhat deficient, or below the Contract Agreement?
A Diminution of Charge takes place; the Goods are made as perfect as possible; for instance, a Piece that has a faulty Colour, or a Stain upon it, a Yard would be cut out, and the Piece would be invoiced a Yard shorter, and of course it would not be exactly of the Dimensions of the Company's, but the Qualities would be the same.
Sometimes we are forced to do that where the Goods arrive but a few Days before the Ship is to be dispatched; there is no Opportunity to return them upon the Hands of the Seller, and rather than have the Assortment incomplete, the Goods are sent off; but then it is not an Inferiority of great Magnitude; it may be to the Amount of Two per Cent.
I am not aware that they give any less for them; the Goods that have those Imperfections are packed with those which are perfect; any thing that would not answer, that was found so bad as to occasion its being rejected, would not be sent.
They take their Chance, certainly. But I should mention the Mode I adopt in order to examine them: I have a Hundred Pieces examined by the Company's Examiner, and if I find Seven out of the Hundred imperfect, I then examine the whole Quantity, perhaps Three or Four thousand, and put by all that are imperfect; but if there are not more than Seven out of a Hundred that will not pass, then we should take no Account of it; so that we go pretty nearly in our Examination on the same Principle as the Company.
Do not you ascribe a Part of the Falling-off of the Import of Tea into the United States of America to the Circumstance of the British Provinces in North America having within the last Three or Four Years been supplied directly by The East India Company?
That must have had some Effect; but the Drawback on the Exportation of Teas from the United States, imported at less Expence than the Company import them, enables them to compete with the Company in the Canadian Market. I think there is no Difficulty in introducing Teas from the United States; still the Consumption, of course, must be diminished in nearly the same Ratio as the Extent of Sales by the Company in Canada.
There has been. I think they are clever Men, and there is more Variation where they enter into Speculations than otherwise. If they found the Price of Tea low, they would withdraw from it; if they saw a Prospect of Gain, they would double their Transactions.
Mr. Cushing, who has resided a long Time at Canton, has told me he never had a Dispute with any one at Canton; that he never took a Receipt for any small Payment; and that he never had had a Demand made upon him a Second Time; that it was a Place of Business where he had had more Facilities and less Disputes than any other he was acquainted with.
I have understood that the Company's Freight varies from Eighteen to Twenty-four Pounds; but there are Conditions about it. Those Conditions, with regard to being under Obligation to go as Transports, or to have their Destination altered, or to take a certain Time, embracing a greater length of Time than an ordinary Charter, should make the Freight different from an ordinary Transaction.
I cannot speak with Confidence about it; but I believe they usually bring Fifteen or Sixteen thousand Chests of Tea, as they are now navigated. A Ship of 450 Tons, on the Construction I have mentioned, would stow 7,500.
I should say that for some Time past, or up to within a Year or Two, that has been the Case; those Ships that were constructed to sail with Convoy were calculated rather for Burthen than for sailing, and they are heavy Sailers; but, as I remarked before, in Liverpool, where the Competition is great, there are Ships under the British Flag that sail as fast as any Americans, and carry nearly as much, and I do not see that there is much Difference.
It was formerly considered that a Ship to sail must be sharp; but latterly that has been found to be a Mistake; that a Ship to sail requires Length, and that she should have sufficient Breadth; and that which is required is, that she have a clean Run-that she steer well; and when they apply the requisite Quantity of Canvas, they find that she sails faster than a sharp Ship.
I believe, according to the English and American Mode of Measurement, they take Two Fifths of the Breadth of the Beam for the Hold; it depends therefore more upon the Depth of the Ship whether her real Tonnage is more than she measures, or whether it is out of the Way; I think all those Ships upon the improved Model are really larger Ships than they measure, being deeper.
It has not; the Breadth of Beam determines the Measurement Depth of the Hold. The Gain of having them so constructed is, that they carry more Burthen, and will sail equally fast, with a less Quantity of Canvas and Spars, than the other Description of Ships.
Are you enabled to state, from your general Knowledge of the Trade of the East, what Effect the Monopoly possessed by The East India Company in the Trade with China produces on the Trade of the Eastern Islands and of India?
I should say that it is a good deal in the Way of it; that it is an Obstruction; that it prevents the natural Course of Trade, which, were it free, would take place; for instance, in the Country Trade to China they are deprived of the Means of Remittance to this Country or to India. If those who carry on the Trade from different Parts of India could carry it further on, there would be less Loss of Freight in Ships; a Ship which would go from England to Bombay and Calcutta would go from thence to Canton; but if the Ship cannot go from Canton to England, there is a Return Voyage without Profit; while to Canton all the Company's Ships go nearly empty.
It so far embarrasses it, that there is everywhere a Difficulty, as the Trade now stands, to find Returns to India or Europe. Formerly it was otherwise; there was an immense Amount of Specie exported. It is now completely changed; the Specie no longer goes to India, but Importations of it take place from China by way of Sincapore. Some considerable Importations, to the Extent of Half a Million of Dollars, are understood to be now on the Way; and from Bengal, I understand, very large Sums are on the Way.
The Company's Factory in China giving to a large Extent Bills on England for Funds supplied to them in Canton, do not the Company practically make those Returns to England which are desired by the Merchants in the Eastern and Country Trade, and which otherwise might be made either by them or by the British Merchant?
If that is the Case, there is no doubt the Company make the Return which the Private Trader would make, and thereby the Private Traders are forced to take the Company's Bills, which is a Disadvantage to them.
It is a Matter of Opinion how far the Trade would be extended if the Company's Monopoly were to cease. It is my Belief that it would be greatly extended; if not, I do not see that any other Injury can arise than that of impeding the Returns.
The Effect of the Law being now, that if a Merchant trading from England to China desires to make Returns, he can only make them through the Company, in your Opinion, would the general Trade of the East be extended if the Merchants trading from India to China were enabled to make those Returns themselves?
I have no doubt it would; that the Hope of Gain from Tea would rather form an additional Inducement to the Export of British Manufactures, and one acting on the other would increase the Trade very much; that it might not always be profitable, but in the End I think it would be.
I doubt whether they are; Persons trading to Canton, I believe, know very little of them; there are Edicts published, as we all know, against every thing almost which is improper; against Opium, for instance.
I am not prepared to say; I can only say that the Americans never had much Difficulty in Business there; they have always gone on very regularly, and without any Embarrassment, except on One or Two Occasions; in One Case, of a Man murdering a Woman, a temporary Difficulty was experienced.
I think not; the Consul would, particularly by notifying the Regulations of the Port on the Arrival of the Ship, and pointing out the Punishment for a Departure from those Regulations, I think, prevent any Difficulty.
I believe they purchase a much greater Quantity of the higher Qualities of Green Tea in proportion to the whole Shipment on American Account than the Company; but I believe you may buy all Descriptions of Tea in London, though I suppose the Quantity is small at some of the higher Prices.
I believe that generally speaking the Tea shipped by the Americans is not so good as that shipped by the Company; there is a Portion of as good Tea shipped by the Americans; but with Tea, as with every thing else coming to this Country, the Duty forms so large a Proportion of the Price, that any thing very inferior would not be likely to be brought here for Consumption.
I presume that the Assortment has been very nearly the same, but I cannot speak precisely to that; it has not occurred to me to examine whether there is more fine Tea now consumed in Europe than formerly. I can give it only for the Year 1828-29. An Assortment of 35,000 Chests was divided into 1,500 Bohea, 10,600 Congou, 4,642 Campoi, 1,074 Souchong, 2,040 Pekoe, 3,276 Hyson, 2,340 Hyson Skin, 3,449 Twankay, 2,388 Young Hyson, 577 Imperial and 434 Gunpowder.
Do you not think, that if it is a Fact that the Manufacture of spurious Tea is carried on in this Country to Advantage, that that affords strong Ground for presuming that the Market is insufficiently supplied with genuine Tea of the inferior Quality?
The Company's Woollens or the Company's Cloths. A Species of Ladies Cloth-Broad Cloth-they have imported the same; and there are a Species of coarse Woollen called Long Ell; and the Camlets, which is a Worsted Stuff.
Hitherto, I believe, the Nankeens of China have been thought to be superior; but I believe that the Difficulty in the Competition is now overcome; that Nankeens may be by and by carried to China, and that they would fetch the Prices we are in the habit of paying for them at Canton now; the French make Nankeens now superior to the Chinese.
Have you Reason to think that much of the Loss that has been experienced by the Americans in the Chinese Trade has been owing to Persons of insufficient Capital engaging in it, and experiencing in the first instance great Gains?
That is the View I take of it; that the Persons who have failed in Business (and there have been several Failures) engaged without sufficient Means; they took up Money, some of them on Respondentia, and thereby after a successful Year they extended their Operations; and when a Reverse came, with the State of Things that took place here, which affected Things in every other Country, they were overtaken, and were of course ruined.
The Duty in the United States on Tea from China is, on Bohea, Twelve Cents; on Souchong and other Black, Twenty-five Cents; Hyson and Young Hyson, Forty Cents; Hyson Skin and other Green, Twenty-eight Cents; Imperial and Gunpowder, Fifty Cents.