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one of the officers of the East India Company—speaks of it in a letter to his company in 1615. In the years 1870, '71, '72 and '73, the imports of tea into Great Britain were about sixty thousand tons per annum, valued at about $55,000,000. Into the United States, in 1871, ’72, '73 and '74, the imports of tea were about 27,500 tons per annum, of an annual value of about $20,000,000.
A valuable indigenous growth of Japan is the camphor tree, one of the laurel family (Lauracca Camphora). It is native to the soil of nearly all the islands of the Eastern Archipelago and the Asiatic coast. The tree grows to a large size, with beautiful, widespreading foliage, and bears a small fruit, not unlike in size and appearance to a black currant. The ordinary camphor of commerce is produced by steeping the twigs, roots, and other portions of the tree in water, and then, by heat, distilling the liquid over into condensors, where it deposits in small white crystals, when it is carefully dried and packed for shipment.
That of Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and some of the Molluccas, is taken from the tree in the form of a gum, which exudes from the limbs, body and roots, drying and crystallizing in masses, sometimes weighing ten or fifteen pounds. This quality is considered to be of great value by the Chinese and Japanese, who readily pay a hundred times more for it than for that produced by distillation.
The wood of the tree is of considerable importance, being worked up in many ways into glove boxes, trunks, chests, and as a veneer for all receptacles requiring protection from the inroads of the insect world.
The system of government of the Japanese Empire is that of an absolute monarchy. The power of the Mikado is absolute and unlimited in legislative, executive and judicial matters. The Great Council (Daijo-Kwan), in which the Emperor himself presides, is the supreme executive, as well as the highest legislative body. It is composed of a Prime Minister, two Junior or Vice Prime Ministers, and a number of Privy Councillors. The latter, as a rule, are either heads of the several executive departments or other important bodies. At present there exists no complete severance between the legislative and executive sections of the Government. The most important body in the Government is the Gen-Roin, or Senate, established in 1875. It deliberates on legislative matters, but its decisions are subject to confirmation by the Great or Cabinet Council, and sanction by the sovereign. The number of Senators is unlimited (thirty-seven in 1883); they are chosen from those who have rendered signal service to the state. Another body, the Sanji-in (Council of State), created in 1881, has the function of initiating and framing bills, and discussing matters transmitted by the executive-departments, subject to deliberations in the Senate. It also hears and decides cases relating to administration.
The religion of nearly the whole of the lower classes is Buddhism, which had 76,275 priests in 1881; Shintoism had 17,851 priests. Christianity is stated to be spreading among the people. School attendance has been made compulsory.
Due east from the island of Luzon, between latitude 13 deg. 50 min. and 20 deg. 50 min. north, and longitude 145 deg. 50 min. and 147 deg. east, are the Ladrone or Marian group. There are in all about twenty islands, of which Guajan is the largest, being about 90 miles in circumference. The area of the group is 1,300 square miles, with a population of 8,000. Discovered by Magellan in 1521, they form a part of the Spanish possessions in the Pacific. The products are similar to the many islands already described, with an abundance of water, and soil of great fertility. North by east from the Ladrones are the Jardines group, and north of these, again, Anson's Archipelago. Still further east and south we come to the Nameless group, Volcano, La Mira, Halcyon, Wakes, Cornwallis, and many other islands dotting the great Pacific Sea. In longitude 162 deg. 60 min. west, and 2 deg. north latitude, there is Christmas Island; and north by west from that, and in the same group, we find America, Fanning, Palmyra, Prospect and Samarang Islands. To the north, again, in latitude 15 deg. 45 min. north, and longitude 169 deg. west, are the Johnston Islands, two in number, and of considerable commercial importance, from the guano found there.
BON IN ISLANIDS.
The Bonin group, between 26 deg. 30 min. and 27 deg. 44 min. north latitude, and 142 deg. and 145