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of that imported from Ceylon was 17.26d. per pound in 1884; in 1904 it was 7.20d. Chinese tea in 1884 averaged 10'59d.; in 1904 it averaged 7.16d. It thus appears that, whilst the average value of tea from all these sources has declined to almost the same point, the absolute decline has been greatest in the case of Ceylon and least in the case of China teas. It is of interest, moreover, to compare these landing values in the United Kingdom with the declared values of the tea exported to all destinations from the various producing countries. Thus we find that the exports of tea from British India in 1884 were valued at 13.33d. per pound; in 1904 their value was 6'63d. at the port of export. Similarly, the exports of tea from Ceylon in 1884 were valued at 1163d. per pound; in 1903 at 6·24d. per pound. China tea, in 1884, averaged in value at the port of export 7.26d. per pound; in 1904 5'37d. per pound. It will be observed that the decline in value here shown is (especially in the case of Ceylon and China) noticeably less than the decline in the import values in this country.'

It is only because, in the particular case of the tea trade, we possess the statistics of this trade equally for the country of production and for the country of consumption that it is possible thus clearly and certainly to demonstrate the futility of the cocksure dogmas of the Free Fooders. From these statistics we see that the heavier the tax, the keener the competition of the protected China product, and the more crushing the burden on the planters of India and Ceylon, and all the industries related to them-the railways, shipping, landing, warehousing, importing, distributing, wholesale dealing, and retailing industries that draw revenue from the trade in tea. Of course the time will come-if this outrageous impost, or anything approaching it in severity, be maintained—when the resisting powers of the planters will have been worn down, when their profits, and even their capital, will have disappeared, and they will have to give up the struggle; and then the home consumer will have to pay all the duty. And even before this climax is reached, and

while the industry is becoming more and more a losing concern, as the competition will naturally slacken, so more and more will the tax have to be borne by the home consumer. And thus gradually the trade, which was won from China by British pluck and British capital in India and Ceylon, will be retransferred back again to China, where it will be entrenched behind free silver, sweated labour, and the lowest standard of living known to modern humanity.

With regard to this pleasant prospect of the imports of cheap foreign-grown tea into the United Kingdom once more ousting British-grown tea from the home market, some very pertinent remarks* were addressed to the meeting of the East India Association on July 20, 1904, by Mr. Durant Beighton, one of our Indian civilians (now retired), who has had an unrivalled official acquaintance with the Indian tea industry. Mr. Beighton said that the increased import of foreign teas was largely owing to the increased duty, for "if the bulk of the imports were to consist of very coarse tea, owing to the necessity of tea companies making their profit by quantity instead of quality, China tea would come in in ever-increasing quantities." Mr. Beighton warmly advocated an extra impost on the foreign tea, so as to put it on a fair level with British-grown tea, which seems the most simple act of justice and fair-play towards the Indian planter. Lord George Hamilton, replying as a Free Fooder to this very reasonable proposal, said that "China tea amounted to only 7 per cent. of the whole, and what was the use of taxing that?" But, as a matter of fact, the import of foreign-grown tea in the year 1904 amounted to about 22 million pounds, against about 234 million pounds coming from India and Ceylon; so that if this trade could be captured every Indian and Ceylon planter, on the average, would add to his yearly sales at least 9 per cent. more than he now sells. Would any intelligent business-man scoff at such an addition as that? Why, he would perceive that it would give to the wholesome Indian product the control

See Asiatic Quarterly Review, October, 1904, pp. 396-398.

of the market, to the infinite benefit alike of producer and consumer! And if good Indian and Ceylon tea, relieved from the burden of the duty, were in this way obtainable at the cheap prices now given for the inferior China rubbish, there is every reason to believe that the per capita consumption of tea in the United Kingdom would rise at least to the level which it has attained in Australia, and this would mean a further addition of 50 million pounds per annum, or altogether an addition of something like 30 per cent. to the sales of the Indian or Ceylon planter! Would Lord George Hamilton scoff at that? At the meeting of the Society of Arts on June 3, 1904, Mr. Rutherford, the able President of the Ceylon Association in London, turned the tables on Lord George, by showing how utterly preposterous is the contention that Indian and Ceylon teas in this country have reached the limits of possible consumption, or anything like it. He observed: "As we have been told by Mr. Stanton that this country consumes 6 pounds per head, as against Australia's 7 pounds, then, if we are 'saturated,' what term can be applied to them?"

Mr. Stanton, of the world-renowned tea firm of Gow, Wilson, and Stanton, gave a masterly exposition of the whole subject in the paper which he read before the Society of Arts on June 3, 1904. And these were the striking words which he used about our taxation of British-grown teas: "It is quite intelligible that as long as tea was not grown by our fellow-subjects, but by foreigners, it should have been taxed, but when its production was so largely in the hands of our countrymen, as has been the case for the last twenty to thirty years, it is somewhat strange that the taxation should have still continued so heavy, and that it should have been impossible to find some other product upon which an impost could be levied which was not so largely grown by our fellow-subjects. With the duty raised to 6d., tea was taxed to the extent of not far short of 80 per cent. of its value, a burden which is admittedly a very heavy one." And now it is more like 120 per cent.

Mr. Stanton showed that the result of our unpatriotic and unsympathetic taxation of our own kith and kin is, and must be (1) the reduction, at any rate for the time, of the consumption in the United Kingdom of the wholesome temperance beverage afforded by our Indian and Ceylon teas; (2) the substitution, in the food of our poorer classes, of the rubbishy, worthless foreign tea, in some cases the rejections of other countries; and (3), if persisted in, the crippling of an industry of immense value to India and Ceylon, as well as to the Mother Country. Now, the practical question is, Wherein lies our hope of averting these evils?

Well, it is clearly shown, both by the official papers I have been quoting, and by the general sense of the discussions at the Society of Arts and the East India Association, that a new era of prosperity for the tea industries of India and Ceylon may be hoped for by the reduction or abolition of the existing import duties; and that it will be secured, with almost boundless additions, by the establishment of preferential trading within the Empire, with the retention. (for revenue purposes) of the existing duties on China, Java, Japanese, and other foreign teas. The returns show what advantages have already been obtained from the generous preferences spontaneously accorded by New Zealand to British-grown teas, by Canada to British productions in general. The virile common-sense and the sympathetic loyalty of all our Colonies are already manifesting themselves in these spontaneous preferences, not only mutually towards each other, where their infinite value is well understood, but also towards India and the United Kingdom, a silent and dignified reproach for our selfish and short-sighted "insular" prejudices.

The practical question I have asked, then, becomes narrowed to this further question, What hope is there of the adoption by the United Kingdom of a more reasonable fiscal system, adapted to the commercial and industrial conditions, not of the "hungry forties" of our grandmothers' time, but of the twentieth century?

I think that Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Balfour have brought us within sight of this great deliverance from fanaticism. From the point of view of the tea industry, quite the most hopeful words that have yet been uttered were those of Mr. Bonar Law at Aberdeen in October last. The Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Trade is, by common consent one of the ablest, most popular, and most trusted, of the members of Mr. Balfour's Government. Himself a level-headed, sagacious, and successful man of business, he speaks to business men with an authority that belongs to hardly any other of our front-rank politicians. His words are clear and to the point, and even the dullest and most prejudiced Free Fooder is compelled to admit that he knows what he is talking about. With some of his sensible and logical words, addressed to shrewd and longheaded brither Scots at Aberdeen, I will conclude this article with a real gleam of hope for the planters of India and Ceylon :

"What," he asked, "were our chief sources of indirect taxation now?" Alcohol, tea, tobacco. He did not suggest that any change should be made in regard to alcohol, because he would approve of deriving as large a revenue from that trade as the trade could pay; but what about the other two? Tobacco was largely used by the working classes. Of course there were people who said that they should not smoke. He noticed, for instance, that Mr. Carnegie made that statement strongly the other day. He would himself rather any day go with a meal less than go without his tobacco; and did they wish really that workmen should cease to use tobacco? Had they so many pleasures that we grudged them this one? Tea was still more important. It was not, of course, absolutely a necessary of life; but, as a matter of fact, statistics and experience showed that tea was largely used by the working classes, and that the poorer they were the more they used of it, so that in reality it was just as much as corn the food of the people, and the food of the poorest of the people.

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