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imperial government through the empire must be two hundred millions of taëls, or upwards of sixty millions sterling, of which only twelve millions are transmitted to Peking. The accuracy of the latter amount seems pretty nearly confirmed by what appeared in a Peking Gazette, dated November, 1833. A Tartar officer therein states that the whole receipts from land-tax, salt monopoly, customs and duties, &c., do not exceed forty millions of taëls. This is twelve or thirteen millions sterling, and can of course mean only the revenue transmitted to Peking, after paying the expenses of the provinces ; for a country eight times the size of France could hardly be governed for that sum. Again, it appears from a statement by Dr. Morrison that the surplus from land-tax transmitted to Peking by two provinces was five millions of taëls, which, taken as an average for eighteen provinces, would give forty-five millions ; but one or two of them supply much below that average, and the true total may therefore be forty millions, as above. · With reference to the grain that is transmitted to the capital, Padre Serra informs us that it is laden in about ten thousand boats, each boat carrying eleven hundred sacks. In addition to the independence of sea-navigation, it was for the express purpose of securing this supply that the Grand Canal was constructed. One of its names is the “Grain-remitting River” (Yun-leang-ho); and the statement extracted by Dr. Morrison from a Chinese account of the Board of Revenue at Peking confirms the foregoing assertion of Padre Serra ; for the actual number of grain-junks is there reckoned at 10,455. On quitting Tien-tsin in 1816, and proceeding towards the capital, the vast number of these vessels ranged along the southern bank of the river drew our attention. From about noon until late at night we sailed rapidly past an
unbroken line of them, anchored in a regular manner with their heads to the shore, and close to each other; the stern of every junk resting upon the side of the one immediately next to it down the stream. Each of them was said to carry above a hundred tons ; but this must probably be beyond the average of their burthen, since it would give the enormous amount of more than a million tons in grain. It is likely that some of them are employed not exclusively in remitting grain, but that the silks, teas, and other tribute from the provinces are likewise laden on board. Tien-tsin is only about fifty miles from the sea : and an invading enemy, by reaching that point, might either take possession of the grain-junks, or destroy them, and thus starve the capital.
It is a rule on the canal that all private vessels should make way for the grain-junks, and the people in the latter sometimes abuse their privilege. “ The late outrageous and violent conduct of those on board the grain-junks (said an edict of the present emperor in 1824), towards private merchants and individuals, has rendered it necessary to enact certain regulations for their future government and control.* The superintendent has reported that it has been the custom for every division of these vessels to employ the people of the province and district whence it came, as being the best skilled in the management of the vessels. This has given occasion to numbers of houseless vagabonds from distant parts to conduct themselves in a disorderly and unlawful manner, relying upon their great number for impunity. Let the headman in each vessel be made responsible, and let him be compelled to return lists of his crew, as a check upon their conduct. Let the returns contain a description of the age, appearance, and other particulars of each person ; and let every man have a badge or mark round his middle, in order that when the vessel comes to an anchor he may be duly registered. When the grain-junks enter any particular district, let the civil and military officers, attended by their soldiers and followers, resort to the spot, and exert themselves in quickening the progress of the vessels, as well as in the preservation of order.” * A portion of the land-tax in grain is reserved, in each province, for the supply of the public granaries, to be sold at a reduced rate to the people in times of scarcity.
* In the year 1848 some disbanded men of the Imperial grain. junks behaved so ill in the neighbourhood of Shanghae as to occasion considerable trouble to the English at that place, and very energetic measures were required on the part of the consul to secure their punishment.
Another principal source of revenue in China, next to the land-tax, is the duty on salt, which yields a very large amount in consequence of the immense consumption of salted fish, as well as other provisions. The trade in salt is a government monopoly, farmed by a certain number of licensed merchants, who in point of wealth vied with those other monopolists, the late Hong merchants of Canton. This necessary of life is chiefly. procured in the eastern and southern provinces on the coast, though they appear to have mines of rock-salt, as well as salt-springs. Large square fields in the marshes adjoining the sea are made perfectly level, with elevated margins. The seawater is then either let in by sluices, or pumped in by the method commonly used in irrigation. The water, which lies on the surface to the depth of a few inches, is then evaporated by the heat of the sun. The huge stacks or rather hills, of salt, observed by our embassies at Tien-tsin, were calculated by Mr. Barrows to contain 600,000,000
· * Royal Asiatic Transactions, 4to. vol. i.
† “ The number of entire stacks was two hundred and twenty-two, besides several others that were incomplete.' A transverse section of
lbs., and occupied the north side of the river, or that opposite to the grain-junks; but these lay above the city, while the heaps of salt-bags lay below it on the river. We find from Marco Polo that a like revenue was derived by the Mongol emperors from this necessary of life.
In China no considerable quantity of salt can ever be removed except by a permit. There appear, from the Penal Code, to be similar restrictions attending certain government monopolies of both tea and alum* for home consumption. “Whoever is guilty of a clandestine sale of these articles shall be liable to the same penalties as in a clandestine sale of salt. f” Ginseng is another monopoly of the emperor. The collection of this root in Manchow Tartary is confined to the weight banners," each division having a portion of territory allotted to it for the search of the medical treasure. That collected at Ningkoota used to be reserved for the sole use of the emperor and his family, the rest being distributed in rewards to officers and courtiers. Tickets or permits are given to those employed in collection, and severe punishments enacted against all such as presume to gather ginseng without licence. The Hong merchants used to be compelled to buy ginseng, whether they wanted it or not, to the extent of 120,000 taëls per annum. Several
each stack was found to contain seventy bags. None of these stacks were less in length than two hundred feet; some extended to six hundred. Supposing the mean, or average, length of those stacks to be four hundred feet, of which each bag occupied a space of two feet, there would then be in each stack two hundred sections, or fourteen thousand bags, and in the two hundred and twenty-two stacks upwards of three million bags of salt. Every bag contained about two hundred pounds weight of salt, and consequently, altogether, six hundred millions of pounds in weight of that article."
* It has been observed before that alum is used as a precipitate in clarifying the water of the rivers for use. + Penal Code, sect. cxli, VOL. IL
mines of metals also afford a revenue. In Yun-nân is a river called Kin-sha, or “golden-sanded,” some part of the produce of which is paid to the government.
Taxes on the transit of goods are another source of income to the emperor, as well as customs on imports and exports. A considerable addition to the prices of teas exported by us from Canton was made by the duties levied by the government at different passes between that port and the countries where it is grown. This was one of their main reasons for confining the European ships to Canton ; for if we obtained the teas nearer to the places of growth and manufacture, all that was saved in the price to the purchasers would have been lost in the transit duty to the revenue. Besides these burthens, and the profits of the Hong merchants, were to be reckoned the regular and irregular charges levied by the Hoppo, or chief commissioners of customs. This officer was always a Tartar favourite of the emperor, selected from one of the three tribes about the court; and as many of them are distinguished by their number and not by their name, a former Hoppo of Canton (in 1828) was styled “ His Excellency Seventy-four.” It was the business of the Hoppo, in addition to amassing an immense private fortune from the European trade in the course of four or five years, to remit to Peking annually 1,470,000 taëls, or Chinese ounces of silver, and to make three presents to the emperor; one in the fifth moon, another on his majesty's birthday, and a third at the end of the year.* The whole amounted to about 800,000 taëls in value, and consisted principally of European articles obtained from the merchants. As the foreigners were those who ultimately paid these charges, the government had none of its ordinary scruples to restrain exaction.
* Padre Serra's Notices, Royal Asiatic Transactions, vol. iii. 4to.