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 Jovis, 10 Junii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Joshua Bates Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
You are an American Merchant, are you not?
I am an American; I have resided here for the last Twelve Years as a Merchant in this Country.
You have been largely connected with the Trade with China' have you not?
Since my Residence here, I have been connected with the Trade to China and other Parts of India; and for many Years in America I was connected with the India Trade.
Are you a Partner in any House in China?
I am not; I am now a Partner in the House of Baring, Brothers and Company of this City.
What is the Nature of your Connection with the China Trade?
Baring, Brothers and Co. have managed as Agents for a House largely connected in the China Trade residing at Boston; they have a Branch at Canton; we have acted as their Correspondents here.
Is this Part of the Concern of Baring, Brothers and Company?
It is; it is a Part of their Business.
What Interest have you in the Trade conducted by that House; merely that of an Agent?
Merely that of an Agent for the House at Boston.
You receive a Commission upon all Purchases in this Country?
We receive a Commission.
Do you sell in this Country for that House?
Until recently we did not; latterly we have sold considerable Quantities of Raw Silk, received by way of the United States.
Raw Silk imported into the United States from China, and from ence into this Country?
Has Silk been imported into this Country, under those Circumstances, to a great Amount?
Probably to the Extent of Two or Three hundred thousand Pounds Sterling; perhaps One hundred thousand Pounds in the Course of the Year.
Is that Raw Silk only?
Yes; there are Importations of Silk Manufacture in the same way.
Have those Importations been conducted through your House?
A great Portion of them.
Have they been to any considerable Extent?
I do not recollect precisely the Extent, but I should think to the Extent of Twenty or Thirty thousand Pounds.
Has that Importation of Raw Silk from America been profitable?
It depends on the Fluctuations in the Market; at Times it has been profitable, at other Times there has been a Loss; last Year it was rather a losing Trade.
Has the American Trade with China, as far as it has been conducted in Manufactures, been an increasing Trade of late Years?
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.
Can you state what Articles of Manufacture, other than those transmitted by you to China on American Account, form Part of the American Investments in a Voyage to China?
I am not aware that there are any other Articles that are not included in the Shipments we have made. I believe we have sent, generally, many Things which have not been sent before, as an Experiment.
Will you enumerate the different Articles of Manufacture which you have exported from hence to China?
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.
Woollens and Cottons?
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.
Has their Export of Woollens increased?
I think the past Year of Shipment has been larger than it had previously been.
Can you state the Amount of it in the past Years?
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.
Do you think that those Adventures have been upon the whole profitable?
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.
Have you exported any large Quantity of Cottons?
Generally there are a considerable Proportion of Cotton Manufactures, in the different Investments.
The Account you state was the Total Amount of Value of the whole Exports?
Yes, the Total Amount of Value of the whole Exports by the House with which I am connected.
Can you state what Portion of that Amount consisted of Woollens?
I should think Two Thirds the whole Amount, except this Year; there was a large Exportation of Opium in the Operations of this Year, which alone amounted to £100,000.
Was the Export of Woollens less this Year than in previous Years?
More; the Cotton Goods were rather omitted this Year.
What has been the Value of the Cotton Manufactures exported in each Year?
I am not able to answer that Question very precisely; I should think to the Extent of £30,000 to Canton alone; that does not include the Manilla Market.
Has that been an increasing Export?
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.
Are you aware that it appears by the Accounts presented to Parliament, that there has been a very considerable Diminution in the American Trade to China of late Years?
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.
At what Period do you consider the Trade to have been overdone?
In 1825 and 1826.
By the Account before the House the Imports into China in 1825 and 1826 appear to have been smaller than in previous Years?
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.
From what Paper do you take that Statement?
This is a Statement furnished by the Correspondents of our House.
Have you compared that with the Paper Number 25, in the Papers presented to Parliament in the last Year?
I have not compared it, but I believe it corresponds with that Paper. I have it for Twelve Years, from 1815-16, and I find it set down in 1824-25 rather higher; 8,900,000 Dollars.
Does the Paper in your Hand distinguish the Sale Value of Merchandize imported into China by the Americans from the Value of the Bullion or the Dollars?
It does not; it includes merely the Value in Dollars of the Imports and Exports.
Have you any Knowledge of the Value of Merchandize imported into China by the Americans in each of those Years?
I could give a Statement of that, but I have it not here; generally, I should say it was somewhere near Five Millions of Dollars in Specie.
Can you state the Value of the Merchandize imported in each Year?
I could give a Statement of it, but I have not the Statement with me; it is contained in a Book.
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.
By the Account it appears that the Importation of Furs was greater in the Year 1823-24 than it was in the Year 1821-22; is the Value of those Furs considerable?
In former Times it was very considerable; to the Extent, I should think, in some Years, of a Million of Dollars; but latterly, I think, it has fallen off, perhaps Half a Million.
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.
Can you explain under what Circumstances that Trade has so much fallen off?
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.
Are they the Sea Otter Skins?
Yes, in part.
Are you acquainted with the Expence of the Establishment of the House in China; the Number of Persons engaged in carrying on their Business?
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.
What may have been the Extent of Exports from China which may have passed through their Hands in the course of a Year in Value?
It varies considerably from Year to Year; some Years it has not been more than a Million of Dollars, in other Years it has amounted to Two Millions, or more.
Has that House been in the habit, not only of conducting at Canton their own Business, but likewise acting as Agents for other Persons?
They have been confined to their own Business for the last Eight or Ten Years.
Are you aware of the Amount of Commission charged by Agents at Canton?
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 real Commission paid to the Agent then is only One and a Half per Cent?
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.
The whole is Two and a Half, and the Advantage to the Agent is One and a Half?
With whom do the Americans conduct their Trade at Canton; with the Hong or the Outside Merchants?
Generally with the Hong; but they trade with the Outside Merchants whenever they find it for their Interests.
Did you ever understand that they had experienced a Difficulty in procuring all the Green Tea they required?
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.
Has the Export of Green Teas altogether increased from Canton of late Years?
I should say it has considerably increased.
Do the Americans purchase their Tea on as good Terms as the Company?
I have no doubt they do, on quite as good Terms; they sometimes buy on Contract, but more generally in the open Market, after the Teas have arrived.
You mean by buying by Contract, that they have made a previous Contract for the Delivery of so much Tea without seeing it?
Yes, so much Tea of a given Quality. The Tea is brought in November and December.
What Proportion do you apprehend the Quantity of Tea they purchase on Contract bears to the total Quantity they purchase at Canton?
For the Americans I should say it bears but a small Proportion, perhaps not Ten per Cent. on their Tea.
By whom is the Tea brought into Canton which is sold in the open Market?
It is brought by Tea Merchants from the Interior.
Is it brought by the same Description of Persons with whom the Hong Merchants contract for the Delivery of Teas?
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.
Do the Americans purchase their Teas of those Country Merchants who bring the Tea into Canton?
They buy from the Hong Merchant, or from the Outside Merchants, who are another Description of Merchants, not from those bringing the Tea from the Interior.
Are the Hong Merchants Purchasers of Teas on their own Account?
So far as they contract with Foreigners. I have no doubt they make also a Contract with the Tea Merchants in the Interior; beyond that, I should not suppose they purchase very largely.
When the Americans purchase Teas in the open Market, they purchase Teas which have been contracted for by the Hong Merchants?
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.
Has the Price of Green Tea been increased by the Competition which has taken place?
Particular kinds of Green Tea have advanced; Imperial and Gunpowder, I believe, is dearer now than it was a few Years ago.
Are not the Americans in the habit of buying some sorts of Tea that do not ordinarily form a Part of the Investment of The East India Company?
They are, particularly the high-priced Green Teas, which are very rarely brought here.
Do you know what Proportion in Value of that Investment consists of that Description of Tea which is not imported generally into this Country?
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.
What is the Weight of a Chest?
From Seventy-two to Seventy-six Pounds.
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.
Do you apprehend that the Consumption in America varies much from Year to Year?
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.
Is it understood that they have carried on their Trade with Profit?
On the contrary, with very considerable Loss.
They have however succeeded in materially interfering with the American Trade?
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?
During the last Year it has paid a reasonable Profit; up to last Year it was difficult to gain by Tea to the Continent.
In your Opinion, may the Prices at which it has been purchased in the Course of the last Year on the Continent be considered as fair Average Prices, remunerating for the Cost of Import?
I should say they are, certainly.
Should you say the same as to the Price in America towards the Close of the last Year?
I could not say the same of the United States the last Year; the early Part of the present Year, however, they have been obtaining fair Prices.
You would consider the Prices of Boston and New York in October and November of last Year, rather below 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.
Are you aware whether the Americans import into China any Manufactures bearing the same Name as the Manufactures of England, but not actually manufactured in this Country?
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?
I have not read any of those Accounts.
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.
Does the Amount there stated as the Value of British Manufactures imported into China by the Americans in those several Years generally accord with your Idea of what that Value may have been?
In my Opinion it does; about £200,000; it will have gone, I think, rather higher since that Period.
Are you of Opinion that a British Merchant would export British Manufactures to China with more Advantage than an American Merchant from this Country?
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.
Are they not returned?
They were returned for a Time; but latterly they have been insisted upon as respects any Trade not direct to the United States.
Do you expect there would be any greater Exports of British Manufactures from this Country to China in the event of the opening of the Trade to British Subjects?
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.
Are you of Opinion the Americans would conduct that Trade to a larger Extent and more Advantage if they had larger Capitals?
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.
Are not the Partners of the House of Perkins and Company at Canton as much acquainted with that Trade as the Agents of The East India Company can have become?
Perfectly so; and it is of course their Object to keep that Information to themselves.
They have had the Means for Years of extending that Trade as greatly as British Merchants would have had if it had been opened to them?
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.
Where do the Americans obtain those Bills?
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.
So that the Country Trade of India is the Foundation of the American Trade with China under this altered System?
It would be incorporated; the Two Trades would work very well together; but I believe the Americans have, until the present Year, chiefly carried Specie, Dollars.
It is understood that the Profit in the American Trade to China is made, not on the Import, but upon the Export Cargo?
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.
Have the Americans engaged in Trade with China been in general Persons of large Capital?
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.
Is it a Trade generally requiring great Capital, and in which great Capital has considerable Advantages?
It requires great Capital or Credit; the Outlay is for Twelve Months, and therefore the Trade cannot be carried on by Persons who cannot afford to lay out of their Money that Time.
If the Trade were carried on by the Subjects of England, do you think they could carry on that Trade as cheaply as the Americans?
I see no Reason why they should not.
Do you think they would carry it on more cheaply?
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.
Do you know the Difference between the Freight of an English and an American Ship?
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.
Could an American Merchant ship British Manufactures at Liverpool as cheaply as a British Merchant could?
I believe there is no Difference.
The only Difference is in the Port of London?
Yes, in the Scavage Dues, which is a considerable Impediment.
What is the Freight from England to Canton and back at this Time?
I think Ships could be chartered now, from 400 to 500 Tons, at £6 10s. per Ton for the Voyage out and home.
Have you ever understood that it is more advantageous to ship Teas in a Vessel of 1,000 or 1,200 Tons than in one of 600 Tons; that the Teas are less injured in the Package?
I should think there could be no Difference if the Ship was perfectly dry; that the Tea would come as well in one sized Vessel as another.
What sized Ship do you consider as the most economical for the Voyage to China?
The most approved Construction is about 450 Tons of a particular Model, which will carry more than Half as much as a Company's Ship, and be navigated with Eighteen or Nineteen Men.
You spoke of Vessels of 600 Tons as having a Freight of £6 10s.?
I mentioned those because there are a great Number of that Description of Ships here.
What would be the Freight of One of those Vessels on an improved Model of 450 Tons?
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.
There would be no Difference in the Freight of a Vessel of 450 and 600 Tons?
Per Ton there would be no Difference.
When you speak of £6 10s. a Ton, do you mean a Ton of 40 or 50 Feet?
I think a British Ship would be got now at £6 10s. per Ton of 40 Cubic Feet.
What would it be for the 50 Cubic Feet?
I think that comes to about £8 2s. 6d.
Is not the Tonnage of The East India Company computed at 50 Feet to the Ton?
I understand it is.
In what Particulars is this great Improvement that has recently taken place in Vessels of 450 Tons Burthen?
It consists in adding much to their Length; they are longer and deeper, and have a peculiar Form.
Does it improve their Capacity without interfering with their Velocity?
It improves their Capacity; and their Velocity is even greater.
Is a Vessel of 450 Tons on the improved Construction really a much larger Vessel than a Vessel of the old Construction of 450 Tons?
She is really a larger Vessel.
How many Tons does she actually carry?
I suppose a Ship of 450 Tons on the improved Construction would carry 750 Tons of Tea of 40 Cubic Feet.
What is the Premium on the Insurance for a Voyage to Canton and back?
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.
The Company do not insure?
They do not; but there are some Parties who insure their Interest for similar Voyages.
Do the American Ships last as long as the British Ships?
Those that are built with Care for some Individuals who are very particular, I believe, last as long; but generally they do not.
Upon the whole, should you consider it cheaper to navigate a British or an American Ship?
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?
I believe very trifling; the only Thing would be the Necessity of taking those Boys, which are considered by the Americans as useless.
Has the Trade to Manilla increased?
In what Articles is that Trade carried on?
In a much greater Variety of Articles than to China; some Hardware and other Descriptions of Goods usually purchased by the Natives.
What are the Articles from Manilla?
Sugar, and a Species of Grass which is very valuable, Indigo and Tortoiseshell, and Coffee.
Can you state the Value of the Imports into Manilla in any One Year?
I cannot. I have a Statement of the Productions of Luconia for the Year 1825, which I beg to deliver in.
The same is read, and is as follows;
"STATEMENT of the PRODUCTIONS of LUCONIA, 1825.
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.
Are the Articles of British Manufacture purchased by you here for the Americans of equal Goodness with Articles of the same Name purchased by The East India Company for Export to China?
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.
Do you pay the same Price as the Company?
I rather think that we buy cheaper; that the Mode of purchasing by the Company exposes them to Combination.
In what Way?
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.
The East India Company reject many Articles which you export; do they not upon the whole import into China a higher Description of Articles than you do?
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.
Do you think the Company obtain a higher Price for the Manufactures they import into China than the Americans do?
I am not aware that they do; I should say not.
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?
Undoubtedly; the Americans would be driven out of that Portion of the Trade they now carry on to Europe.
The Produce of China would, in your Opinion, be conveyed to Europe by British Merchants, and not by Americans?
Yes; just so.
Do you conceive that the Advantage which the American Shipper has at present over the British Merchants depends exclusively upon the Difference in the Cost of Navigation?
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.
You conceive that, as far as relates to Construction, they are nearly on a Par?
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.
Have you any Doubt that were the China Trade to be opened to the English Merchants the Shipping of the most improved Construction would be had recourse to, and with as much Advantage as in America?
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.
What should you state to be the present Difference in the Interest of Money borrowed for Mercantile Purposes?
I should say it was fully double in the United States for Mercantile Purposes.
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.
Do you think it probable that it would be necessary to introduce them by illicit Trade, or that the Chinese would be likely to admit them on Payment of Duties?
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.
How far is Lintin from Canton?
I think about Seventy Miles.
There is a considerable Smuggling Trade carried on, is there not, at Lintin?
In Opium there has been; not in other Goods to any Extent.
What are the Advantages possessed by Lintin for the Purposes of illicit Commerce?
It is a good Anchorage; they consider that where they lie at Anchor, I believe, is without the Chinese Limits, and that no one has a Right to disturb them.
How then are the Goods introduced into China from thence?
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.
Are you acquainted with the Circumstances of Trade having been carried on at any other Ports on the Chinese Coast?
I have heard that it has been; I have no precise Knowledge of it.
Were not American Ships permitted to trade at Java when it was in our Possession?
Under those Circumstances, had not the British Merchants an Advantage, generally speaking, over the American?
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.
The Americans are excluded now from Sincapore, are they not?
I believe they have never had a Right to trade there; I believe the Ports to which the Americans are allowed to trade in India are all named, and that Sincapore is not named.
Are other Ships permitted to trade to Sincapore?
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.
Are the Malays extensively engaged in the Trade of those Seas?
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.
Do you suppose that in the event of the Chinese Trade being opened to the British Merchant any considerable Portion of the Trade now carried on by the Chinese would fall into his Hands?
I think it probable that there would be a good deal of Traffic from one Port to another in that Quarter; and there is none now; it is a growing Trade.
Can you state the Expence of Construction of Ships in China?
You cannot form any Opinion as to the comparative Freight of Chinese Vessels carrying on the Trade to the Indian Seas and English Vessels?
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.
Are the Junks equipped by Merchants at Canton, or to whom do they belong?
To the Chinese Merchants.
And let out to Traders?
They are freighted in that Way; letting out different Apartments, or so many Rooms to this and that Person: on Return, I believe they take Rice and other Things, which are differently stowed.
Should you suppose that any Apprehension of Injury to that Trade in China would cause any Indisposition on the Part of the Chinese to encourage English Private Traders?
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.
Is the Trade carried on from hence by the Americans, according to your Experience of it, increasing?
Up to the Beginning of this Year, I should say it was increasing.
Both in its total Extent and in Variety of Articles?
I should say the Number of Articles have increased considerably; there have been Three or Four added to them, to my Knowledge.
There are some Articles now going out as an Export with respect to which you do not wish to state the Details?
Have you any Reason to know that there is any thing in China that precludes them from purchasing any Articles that may be suited to their Wants or to their Tastes?
I am not aware of any Regulations to that Effect.
And nothing in the Disposition or Habits of the People?
Nothing that I have ever heard of.
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.
As far as that goes it would give to the British Merchant in the Case supposed an Advantage beyond that which the American Merchant now has?
I should say it would decidedly.
One of the Obstacles to an extended Trade on the Part of the Americans from hence is the Want of adequate Returns, is it not?
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.
If the Consumption on the Continent were materially to increase, that would be an Inducement to American Merchants to extend their Operations, would it not?
It certainly would.
If therefore the American Merchant could share in the Supply of Tea to this Country, that would extend his Operations?
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?
Not to any Extent as to Quality; there may be Faults arising from Accident in the Manufacture or dyeing.
In that Case, when any such Deficiency is discovered, the Goods are not rejected, but a Diminution of Charge takes place?
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.
The Quality would be exactly the same?
That is our Endeavour; the Contracts are, I believe, precisely the same.
Have you ever exported any Goods that have appeared on Inspection to be somewhat inferior to the Quality you have ordered?
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.
Do you find any Difficulty in the Sale of Goods which are inferior to that Standard?
None that I am aware of; the Hong Merchants buy them.
They give you less for them, you having paid less?
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 of finding some Part of the Consignment not so good as the Remainder?
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.
Has there been more Fluctuation in the Extent of Business carried on by your Correspondents House at Canton than is usual in Transactions carried on at such a Distance and to such an Extent?
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.
Is there any Difficulty in carrying on Commerce with the Outside Merchants?
The greater Portion of the Business of the House to which we have alluded is conducted by Outside Merchants; in the Manufactured Silk; that is entirely conducted with the Outside Merchants.
Have you had Reason to rely on the Solidity and Fair-dealing of that Class of Dealers?
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.
Do you know the Difference of Freight between American Ships of the improved Construction and the Company's Ships?
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.
There are other Conditions, as to Number of Seamen, and so on?
Yes, there are.
Do you know how many Tons of Tea a Company's Ship of 1,200 Tons could carry?
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.
In a Vessel of 1,000 or 1,200 Tons, what is the ordinary Difference between the registered and the actual Tonnage?
That would depend entirely on the Construction of the Ship.
Are not the American Merchant Ships generally better Sailers than the English Merchant Ships?
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.
Can you state the Proportion of the Difference in the Length of the Voyage performed by an American Ship and an English Ship of ordinary Construction?
It is impossible to calculate that; there might be One Third or more in the Difference of the Voyage.
Does not the superior sailing of the American Ship depend upon the Sharpness of her Build in a considerable degree?
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.
Would not a Ship that is built long, and at the same Time broad on her Beam, measure a large Tonnage?
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.
Are they built round or sharp?
They are built, what the Seamen term, wall-sided.
Has not the Mode of Measurement relation to the Depth of the Hold and bulging Sides?
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.
What Number of Men navigate a 450 Tons Ship built at Liverpool?
I am not aware; but I think more by Two or Three, from the Necessity they are under of taking Boys.
Do you know how many Men are employed in a Company's Ship of 1,200 Tons?
I believe 120 or 130; but then they have a great Variety of Duties to perform which an ordinary Merchant Ship does not require.
What Opium was that you purchased in England and sent to Canton this Year?
Did you ever send any before?
It is a regular Business.
Has the Export of Turkey Opium to Canton increased?
I believe it has very rarely exceeded a Thousand Chests; it has increased, certainly.
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.
That affects the Trade direct from England to India and China; but what Effect does the present Monopoly of the China Trade produce on the Country Trade of India and the Eastern Islands?
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.
Is that Injury done to the Private Trader the whole Extent of Injury inflicted on the Trade in general by the Monopoly of the China Trade possessed by the Company?
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.
At present the Company's Ship goes to China without a Freight and returns with one, and the Country Trader goes to China with a Freight and returns without one?
Are the Regulations of the Port of Canton with respect to the Entrance of Foreign Vessels very strict?
I believe they are very strict; there is however no Difficulty, unless there is Loss of Life, in which Case they are very particular to exact a Return.
Are those Regulations very rigidly enforced?
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.
Have they not in point of fact been considerably relaxed with respect to the Americans?
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.
Do you think that if Free Traders from this Country were suffered to go there they would be exposed to more Inconvenience from those Regulations?
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.
Do you know whether the Americans are in the habit of purchasing at Canton a considerable Quantity of any Species of Tea which is not purchased by The East India Company?
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.
Is there any considerable Quantity of Tea of inferior Description purchased by the Americans, and that is rather rejected than otherwise by the Company in the Market of Canton?
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.
Do you conceive that the Americans, having an Opportunity of selecting the superior Species of Teas, choose the inferior, as finding them more marketable?
More profitable to them; that is the Reason, I presume.
When they were in the habit of supplying Foreign Europe with Tea, do you know what Quality they chiefly introduced into Europe?
I can state what the Shipments were for One Year, presuming that the Assortment is suited to the Market - the Year 1828-29.
The Question referred to the Period when they were in the habit of supplying Foreign Europe more largely than they do at present?
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?
I should draw the Inference from it, that the Sale Price to the Consumer was too high.
Do you happen to know what Articles of Woollen Manufacture imported by the Americans have been most in Demand in China?
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.
Have you Reason to believe there is an increasing Demand for those Articles?
Perhaps less for those Articles; I believe it is increasing, but very slowly.
As far as you had an Opportunity of observing, do you think that the Chinese Population attend most to the Cheapness or to the Durability of the Article that they purchase?
I think they would attend to the Durability; they are very exact Judges of Quality.
Is it a Fact that the Articles of Cotton which are manufactured by them are found to be more durable than European Manufactured Articles?
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.
Is there a considerable Export now of Manufactures from hence to Java, as well as to Manilla?
There is, even now, although the Regulations there are much in favour of Dutch Manufactures.
Do you happen to know of any American Vessel that has lately gone out to China with a very considerable Cargo of Manufactured Goods?
Our House dispatched One with a very large Cargo within a Month.
Can you furnish the Committee with an Account of that Shipment?
There was the usual Quantity of Woollens-no Cotton Goods -amounting to about £55,000, and I think about £100,000 Value in Opium; probably Five or Six thousand in Metals and other Articles.
Can you state the Average Rate of Duty paid in America on Teas?
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.
Does that amount to Fifty per Cent. on the Average?
It amounts to more than Fifty per Cent; it amounts to Seventyfive per Cent. on a Middling Quality of Tea.
Do not the Americans occasionally buy Green Teas at the highest Price?
I believe they buy the highest Quality of Green Tea generally.
Are you aware that they give high Prices which the Company would not think themselves justified in going to?
I believe they pay very high Prices for Green Tea, the Supply being probably short.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned 'till To-morrow, One o'Clock.