« AnkstesnisTęsti »
25 at Chinkiang to 60 p.c. of loss at Hankow, which is a very considerable difference. Excepting these two, the returns from the other ports are also pretty uniform. The Persian drug loses most at Chinkiang, viz., 50 p.c. and least at Tamsui viz., 23 p.c. The native Chinese might naturally be expected to vary more than either of the other sorts. At Chefoo it yields 87 to 90 p.c. of prepared drug; at Canton it yields only 50 p.c. i.e. half its own weight. It is very difficult to understand why there should be such great differences on the same article at different ports. Dealers, merchants and manufacturers may understand these differences, but the general public, especially at home, will be rather puzzled to account for such great variations. Excepting in the Canton and Takow Returns there is not a word of explanation vouchsafed in regard to this point.
An authority in the trade reports to me, through a friend, that Malwa boils ico touch, Bengal only use Chinese method. H.M.'s Government touch is for allowing 25 per cent for the husk, a difference between H.M.'s Government touch and that used by the Chinese here of 19 per cent. The differences are so great that it is apparent that all the analyses are not conducted under the same process. The examination of opium ought to be taken exclusively in the dry state. The amount of water it contains is so uncertain that the drug ought to be reduced to a fixed standard by complete dessication at 100° C. before any given weight is taken. This is done by exposing a known quantity of the drug, divided into small pieces or fragments to the heat of a water-bath until it ceases to lose weight.
(To be continued.)
Number of Opium Smokers in China. MR. EDITOR:
In the notice of the Chinese Customs' pamphlet on opium, in the last number of the Recorder, you very justly say, in regard to Mr. Inspector-General Hart's estimate of the number of opium-smokers in China, that "there is a wide spread feeling that there is a fallacy in the manner of arriving at this number.” I wish to occupy a few pages of the Recorder with some remarks on this subject.
Mr. Hart states the quantity of foreign opium imported into China as 100,000 chests. He estimates the amount of native grown opium at 100,000 chests. He states that each kind yields 7,000,000 catties of prepared opium. On the supposition that each smoker consumes three mace a day, it requires, 1,000,000 of persons to consume this amount of each kind of the drug annually; and therefore gives 2,000,000 as the estimated number of smokers in China at this time. But Mr. Hart takes no account of the refuse which remains after smoking the extract. As this is stated, by reliable persons, to be about the one-third, or one-fourth, we must add, at least, one-fourth to this number as the consumers of the refuse, which will make the number to be 2} millions. What does this mean? Does it show that there are only 2 millions of persons who are habitual smokers of opium in China ? No, it does not show any such thing. It shows simply this, that on the supposition that 200,000 chests of opium, foreign and native, yield 14,000,000 catties of prepared opium, it will require 2} millions of persons, each one consuming three mace every day, to consume that quantity in a year. Mr. Hart does not give any satisfactory reasons for fixing upon three mace as the average amount consumed by the habitual smokers of opium. In the very nature of the case, it is impossible for Mr. Hart, or any one, to furnish any reliable proof that three mace is the arerage amount consumed by smokers. I am free to express my conviction that it is an excessive amount. I hold the opinion that one mace is a much more probable estimate. On the supposition that one mace is the average amount consumed by each smoker daily, then, taking Mr. Hart's calculation as the basis of the estimate, we arrive at the conclusion, that it will require 7} millions of persons, smoking each one mace a day, to consume 200,000 chests of the drug. I do not give this as the number of smokers in China, but I mean simply what I say, it would require that number of persons to consume that amount of drug in a year on the supposition that each one smoked a mace daily. I maintain that one mace daily is a much more reliable estimate than three mace.
In support of this estimate I can give the names of Sir Rutherford Alcock, Dr. Lockhart, formerly medical missionary at Shanghai, the late Dr. Hobson, late medical missionary at Canton, afterwards at Shanghai, and the late Rev. Dr. Medhurst-all of these gentlemen have published the opinion that one mace is an approximate estimate of the average amount consumed daily by smokers in China. For Sir R. Alcock's opinion (see Report East Indian Finance, 1871, p. 275). For Dr. Lockhart and Rev. Dr. Medhurst's opinions (seo Papers presented to Parliament relating to the Opium Trade in China, 1812–1856, p. 52); and for Dr. Hobson's opinion (see the same Papers, p. 44). In the letter of Dr. Hobson to Sir John Bowring, then Governor of Hongkong, he says that two others agreed with him in the statements he makes. He says, it would require two million of persons, each using one mace daily, to consume the prepared extract from 68,000 chests; and then adds, “ As a portion of the opium, say onefourth, is resmoked by a second and poorer class of consumers, the actual number of opium-smokers, allowing for every loss on 68,000 chests, at one mace a day, will not exceed 2,500,000." Drs. Lockhart and Medhurst, in their letter to Sir John Bowring say, “ Proceeding upon the statement of the China Mail that 67,000 chests were delivered in China last year (1854), and that each chest contains 70 catties of smokable extract allowing to each smoker one mace per day, we have
little more than 2,000,000 of smokers for the whole Empire." As they do not make any estimate for the refuse from the first smoking, if we add one-fourth to the number to consume that, as Dr. Hobson does, we have the same number, 24 millions, to consume 67,000 chests, the same as Dr. Hobson gives. As 200,000 chests are three times as much as 67,000, if we multiply 2 millions by three it will give the number of persons necessary to consume the 200,000 chests, as given by Mr. Hart. Two and a half millions multiplied by three make 7} millions. Thus we find that, when we fix the average amount consumed by each smoker at one mace per day, the calculations made by Mr. Hart, Drs. Hobson, Lockhart and Medhurst lead to the same result, that it requires 7 millions of persons to consume the whole amount which is contained in 200,000 chests of opium in a year. I do not present this as the number of opium-smokers in China. The statement means that, in the estimates thus stated, it requires that number of persons to consume that amount of opium in a year.
When so many writers have used this method to arrive at an estimate of the number of smokers in China, it will be expected that I should give some reason for distrusting its reliability. These reasons are at hand. But before stating them I will copy from Chambers' Encyclopedia what is meant by the word average in such connection, and what are the calculations to be made in order to arrive at the average sum or quantity :
"If any number of unequal quantities are given, another quantity may be found of a mean or intermediate magnitude, some of the given quantities being greater, and others less, than the one found, which is called the average. The exact relation is this: that the sum of the excesses of the greater above the A. is equal to the sum of the defects of the less below it. If there are, say, 7 vessels unequally filled with sand, and if we take handfuls from the greater, and add these to the less, until the sand is equally distributed, then any one of the equalised measures of sand is the A. of the 7 unequal measures. If the quantities of sand in the several vessels are stated in numbers, as 5, 10, 12, 8, 11, 14, 3 ounces, the A. is found by adding together the numbers, and dividing by how many there are of them-viz. 7. The sum being 63, this, divided by 7, gives 9 ounces as the average. The system of averaging is a very important and time-saving one. By averages, the farmer calculates the value of his crops; the grazier, the value of his cattle, and the forester, the value of his trees. Reflection, however, requires to be exercised in striking averages; otherwise, serious errors may be committed. If a farmer, for instance, has three lots of cattle, the first of which he averages at £25 a head, the second at £15, and the third at £9, it might be thought that the A. of the whole stock made up of the three lots would be got by taking the mean of £25, £15, and £9-viz. 25 × 15 × 0 x = £16}. But this would be correct only if there were an equal number of cattle in each of the lots. To get the real A. in case of the lots being unequal, he must multiply the A. of each lot by the number of cattle in it, add the three products together, and divide by the whole number of cattle in all three lots taken together. If we suppose 9 head in the first lot, 20 in the second, and 15 in the third, the A. is 25 x x 15 X 20 × 9 × 15—£15.”
9 X 20 X 15
The state of the question to be solved in regard to opium-smokers. is this: The quantity of the yearly supply of the foreign and native
drug is considered to be known. It is known that habitual smokers vary in the quantity used daily from two candareens to sixty—or to six mace.
And this is all that is known. From this it is seen that some of the conditions, which are necessary to enable us to calculate the average quantity are wanting. In order to do so accurately, according to the plan laid down by Chambers, it would be necessary to multiply the quantity smoked by each several class by the number who smoke that quantity, then add all these sums together, and divide the aggregate thus obtained by the sum obtained by ailding the number of smokers in each several class, and the quotient would be the average quantity smoked by the smokers per day. It must be evident to all that, when the calculation is so complicated, any supposed average a mcre surmise.
But there is another very great source of doubt in regard to the accuracy of any estimate of the number of smokers obtained, by dividing the quantity of smokable extract by any supposed average per day for each smoker. It is this, that the prepared extract is largely adulterated with other substances. The grounds for supposing that the prepared opium is largely adulterated are many. (a.) In the report of the Commissioner of Customs at Ningpo, he says that the prepared opium is sold in the smoking rooms at a price “considerably less than the price of pure unprepareil drug,” (see pamphlet p. 32). The price at which it is said to be sold in smoking rooms, at some of the Ports, is less than what is given as the price of the extract at wholesale. This fact alone shows that it is largely adulterated with some less costly substances before it is retailed for smoking. (6.) It is a very common opinion among old smokers that it requires a larger quantity of the extract as now prepared to produce the effect, which a less quantity of the extract as prepared thirty years ago produced. Old smokers say that it was a common saying then that tio candareens of opium per day was a supply that caused rejoicing to a habitual smoker. A writer in the Chinese Repository, of December, 1837, Vol. VI., p. 303, gives three candareons of the pure extract as the average per day. In 1855, Drs. Hobson, Lockhart and Medhurst fixed upon one mace as the average. In 1881, Mr. Inspector-General IIart fixes upon three mace as the average. How can it be accounted for, that at different periods such different quantities should be fixed upon by careful observers as the average quantity consumed daily by smokers? It is very probable that the quantity consumed at these several periods was different. But why so widely varying? It is not to be supposed that the human system could consume so much more at one time than at another, if the extract was of the same strength at the respective periods. The most probable way of accounting for these different estimates is to suppose that the extract was in 1855 of a different strength from what it was in 1837; and again in 1881 from what it was in 1855; and hence a greater quantity was actually smoked at the time of each successive estimate. (c.) Personal inquiries of those engaged in preparing opium in wealthy families, where it is not adulterated, gives me the information, that the prepared extract as commonly prorored aud sold at the smoking rooms is largely adulterated
with the following named substances. The boilers, besides using the refuse left after smoking the extract, use a refuse which is obtained by burning a jelly made from the red jujube plum. They also use a refuse from a jelly which is made from some kinds of rice. These jellies when burnt leave a refuse which can hardly be distinguished from the refuse from the opium pipe. As this kind of refuse can be obtained cheap, it is largely used to adulterate the prepared opium; some say to the extent of one
ne-third. A substance very like the smokable extract is obtained from the sediment and settlings that remain after boiling when preparing the extract. As in preparing it from Malwa only 70 per cent in weight is obtained, and only 50 per cent from Patna and Benares, there is a large residue of black earthy matter. This is taken and soaked in water and then the water drawn off and strained and boiled ; and thus an extract is obtained of very much the same appearance as the pure extract. This is largely used by the retailers to mix with the smokable extract. Some say it is used to the extent of one-third. These two methods of adulteration would increase the quantity of the prepared opium by two-thirds. It may be adulterated with other things and to a greater extent than I suppose it to be. It may also be taken for granted that both those who prepare the extract and those who sell it are willing to adulterate it as much as they can without interfering with the sale of it, because the more it is adulterated by themselves the greater are their profits. The statements made above show how futile is the effort to surmise what quantity is the average daily used by smokers. And the evidence now presented shows that the extract as prepared for smoking is largely adulterated. When considered together they must convince most persons that the method hitherto persued to arrive at the number of opium-smokers in China is utterly unreliable.
Some persons may inquire, is there any other way of forming an estimate of the number? I answer that there does not appear to me to be any very satisfactory way of solving the question. There are some considerations which force the conviction upon my mind that the number is very much greater than that presented by Mr. Hart. I will present these consideration to the readers of the Recorder. If we accept the statement that the population of China is 300,000,000 it will, according to the usage of estimating the number of adult male in any given population as one-fifth of the whole, give the male population over twenty years of age as 60,000,000. The number of smokers as given by Mr. Hart is 2,000,000 which would be one in thirty of the adult males. It will be evident to every one that if only that proportion of adult males smoked opium, the matter would not attract the attention which it does. Residents at the various ports open to trude, and at other places more inland, and recent travellers in all the different provinces remark upon the general prevalence of opium smoking all through the country. Some persons state, from what they see, ond half of the adult males use the drug. Others say four-tenths, other again say three-tenths, and some two-tenths. Some persons will at once say—these observations apply to the cities, on the sea board, where the use of opium has existed a long time, and along the