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the ease with which cinnamon could be collected, and the facility with which it might be cul tivated. It is impossible to say how far governor North's me. moir contributed to the minister's mistake.
The contracting parties, eager to retain the monopoly, and apparently ignorant that cinnamon was produced in many other parts of the world, as well as Ceylon, adopted the most effectual means to frustrate their own views, by limiting the cultivation of cinnamon, and by restricting its exportation considerably within the annual consumption of the inhabitants of the whole world. By these restrictive measures, a premium was offered to the rice merchants of other countries to endeavour to procure cinnamon at a cheap rate, and consequently to undersell the Ceylon cinnamon. The Ceylon government appears to have entertained serious alarms that the market would be overstocked with cinnamon the produce of Ceylon; and, anxious to prevent a reduction of the price of the article, adopted a most extraordinary measure, which was to employ workmen to root up the cinnamon in many of the plantations.
On Feb. 19, 1802, the chiefsecretary to government addressed a letter (from which the following is an extract) to the President of the Board of Revenue and Commerce.
"It being the intention of his excellency the governor that all the cinnamon gardens belonging to government, except those of the Marandhan, Kaderane, Mo
rotto, and Ekele, should be disposed of, his excellency requests that you would give directions to the agents of revenue and commerce in whose districts there are any cinnamon gardens, to advertise that they will be sold by public outcry on the first of May next : the purchasers to bind the nselves to root out all the cinnamon trees; and destroy them; and all such trees belonging to private persons must likewise be destroyed."
This measure induced the rooting up the cinnamon in many of the plantations. In all those which were doomed to destruction the plants were entirely neglected, and allowed to be overgrown with creepers and brushwood, or browsed upon by cattle. No unusual activity was exerted to promote the cultivation of the four undestroyed plantations. Fortunately, however, the business of uprooting the plants was a work of great labour; and the purchasers of a number of the plantations failed to perform their agreement to its completion. Notwithstanding the unforeseen aid of these plantations, the usual investments became greatly reduced, and were obtained with infinite labour.
In July, 1805, General Maitland assumed the government of Ceylon. One of the first acts of his government was to arrest the progress of the despoliation of the cinnamon plantations. He readily saw the propriety of encouraging and increasing the cultivation of cinnamon, and adopted means which have been followed with great success. During his government the annual investments continued gradually to increase, and
being, on an average of eight years, 318,258 lb.; and the sale amount 95,8251. per annum, or about 6s. per lb. The small quantity retained for home consumption is not included in this calculation.
This statement, when compared with the account of the cinnamon imported and sold at the Dutch East India Company's sales in the years 1785 to 1791 inclusive, proves that the annual quantity of cinnamon imported from Ceylon was considerably reduced, and that the price was diminished to nearly one-half the sum for which it was sold by the Dutch. The large importations of cinnamon which have, under the denomination of casia, for some time past been exported from Canton into Great Britain, America, as well as the British settlements in India, are the chief apparent causes of the diminished demand for Ceylon
cinnamon, as well as of its reduced price.
I have not been able to discover a good reason for supposing that this traffic is of long standing. The Dutch about the year 1787 began to apprehend a formidable rivalship in the monopoly of the cinnamon trade from the Chinese. As the exportation of cinnamon from Canton has increased, the demand from that produced on Ceylon has been on the decay, and the price reduced. The cinnamon exported from Canton, although in general of an inferior quality, can be purchased at a comparatively low rate, and may be sold, even with a large profit, far under the Ceylon cinnamon.
The following are the quantities of casia imported and sold at the company's sales from 1804 to 1808 inclusive, with the sale amount and average price :
Calcutta imported to the value of rupees 19,134
Some part of this casia was exported from Calcutta to London. Bombay supplies the market of Massuah, Judda, Aden, Bushin, &c. and a great part of the consumption of this article in the Arabian Gulph.
In 1810 and 1811 China exported from Canton in country ships to the British settlements casia to the amount of 3019 piquels, or 401,527 lb. in regular ships, 6 peculs 998 lb. In the same season were exported from Canton, in American ships, 1604 peculs, or 199,977 lb.
This quantity of casia is im
ported into Canton from the Sooloo, Archipelago, and other islands in these seas, and the different ports of Cochin China. We have no good authority for believing that any of it is produced in China.
The following is a statement of the quantity of cinnamon prepared in Ceylon, the quantity rejected on inspection, and the number of pounds exported annually on account of the East India Company, from the year 1804 to 1814 inclusive, with the annual expense of the cinnamon department from 1807 to 1814 inclusive :
Rix-Dollars. 122,270.. 13,042
132,021. 14,082 4 10
155,845.. 16,623 9 4
13,944 6 5
14,444 6 11 145,443. 15,513 18 5 179,978.... 15,748 8 2 157,771....13,387 9 3
merchants purchase it with the avowed purpose of supplying the Indian markets: great part of it, however, eventually reaches Eng. land under the denomination of casia.
Cinnamon oil to the amount of about 3,000 oz. has within these few months been prepared; a part of which has been forwarded to England.
By the foregoing statement, it will appear that the Ceylon government gain very considerably by the cultivation and preparation of cinnamon. Cinnamon being a staple commodity on Ceylon and the Malabar coast, and as these situations possess many peculiar and natural advantages for extending the commerce in this article of trade, it appears to be a great want of foresight or industry to look with an eye of indifference upon the rapidly increasing trade of China in cinnamon. The cu! tivation of cinnamon might be carried to any extent on Ceylon, and with every prospect of profit.
The cheapness of labour, in consequence
sequence of the degree of servitude under which the chalias are held, and the universal prepossession in favour of the Ceylon cinnamon, are peculiar and powerful advantages, which, if judiciously improved, may greatly contribute to repress the China cinnamon trade, and to make it a profitable enterprise for the possessors of Ceylon.
Captain Melborn mentions a circumstance which renders it almost unaccountable why the Malabar cinnamon is not a more powerful rival to the China trade in this article. He tells us that the Canton price current of casia in 1809 and 1810 was 20 Spanish dollars per pecul, or about 9d. per lb.; and that casia is exported from Mangalore at from eight to nine pagodas per candy, or about 2d. per lb.
In addition to the China cinnamon trade, we may now expect to have to combat with the Dutch in the commerce of this article. This people are intimately acquainted with the spice trade, and particularly with that of cinnamon. The enterprising and persevering character of the Dutch is proverbially known; and the possessors of Java have powerful means in their hands; so that we have no mean antagonist to oppose. Batavia may become the depôt of the cinnamon produced in Sumatra, the extensive island of Borneo, the Philippine and Sooloo islands; and should these islands not afford a sufficient quantity to supply all demands, cinnamon can be furnished to a very great extent from Tonquin and Cochin China. The English at one time cut consider
able quantities of cinnamon in Sumatra, and had chalias, whom they enticed from Ceylon, to prepare the bark. The quality of the cinnamon prepared by these people is stated to be equal to the finest in Ceylon. The Dutch, even when they had possession of the coasts of Ceylon, purchased the cinnamon produced in Sumatra, which they exported to foreign countries as Ceylon cinnamon.
To rival the excellence of the cultivated cinnamon of Ceylon, the Dutch will, in all probability, adopt measures for cultivating it in the island of Java, or in some of its immediate dependencies. A productive cultivation must be a work of time; and a period of 20 years will elapse before their exertions in cultivating cinnamon can greatly interfere with our present monopoly of that of the finest quality, for which we are chiefly indebted to the unwearied and judicious exertions of the Dutch.
It is very evident that our interest strongly points out that we should exert the powerful means which circumstances have placed in our power to cultivate, collect, and export, a greatly increased quantity of cinnamon, with the view of supplying the markets of both Europe and America; so as to render the trade less immediately profitable to our rivals, and less encouraging for them to attempt eventually to monopolize the commerce of this very important article.
This plan is evidently more laudable, and promises to be as successful as measures of restraint. The conduct of the Dutch in their attempts