Back to 100 years ago, with not a lot having happened in 1959.
Opium Consumption (Eastern Bengal and Assam) or 'God damn the Pusher Man':
Sir HERBERT ROBERTS asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the quantity of opium consumed in the Assam districts of the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam rose from 1,299 maunds in 1904–5 to 1,417 maunds in 1906–7, or an increase of about 9 per cent. in three years; whether the revenue derived by the Government from the sale of opium in these districts in 1906–7 represented 62 per cent. of the total Excise revenue
The MASTER of ELIBANK And someone who does not have the best interests of the revenue at heart:
The Secretary of State is aware that the consumption of opium in the Assam Valley districts has increased of recent years. The figures in maunds are: 1,825 in 1904–5, 1,330 in 1905–6, 1,431 in 1906–7, 1,560 in 1907–8. Later figures are not available. In 1906–7 71 per cent. of the gross Excise revenue in these districts was derived from opium, and in 1907–8 70 per cent. With a view to restrict consumption the number of shops has been reduced from 690 in 1904–5 to 445 in 1908–9, and the price of opium has been raised from 1st April, 1909.
Sir H Cotton - Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the preceding six years, when I had the honour of administering the Province, there was practically no increase in consumption at all?
As to maunds, well I've heard of dime bags, 8ths, wraps and so forth, but that is new to me. It is about 82.28 pounds, apparently
Some rather grim stats:
Mauritius and Federated Malay States (Indentured Labourers).
Sir HENRY COTTON asked the Under-Secretary if he could state the rate per thousand of mortality among Indian indentured labourers in Ceylon, Mauritius, the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States, British Guiana, Jamaica, the Fiji Islands, and Natal during the year 1908; and whether the attention of the Commission inquiring into the conditions of Indian indentured labour in the Colonies has been drawn to this question, with special reference to the death rate in the Federated Malay States and other places?
Colonel SEELY There are no indentured labourers in Ceylon. As to Mauritius, where the death rate on estates (presumably including indentured immigrants) is said to be 37.6 per 1,000...British Guiana 19.5 per 1,000, Jamaica 16.4 per 1,000, Fiji 20.5 per 1,000, Natal 16.82 per 1,000.
So a circa 4% fatality rate, presumably per year in Mauritius.
Gratuitous plug o' the day
, in a question about tarrifs on imported chocolate:
Mr. ROWLAND HUNT (Ludlow, Con) Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Messrs. Cadbury have boasted for years that their workpeople work under the very best conditions of labour?
Mr. CHURCHILL I have heard that frequently asserted, and I believe it is perfectly true.
History does not record whether Hunt was taking the chocolate baron's (chocolate?) silver.
Liberals for corporate punishment:
Mr. J. WARD Are we to understand from the answer of the right hon. Gentleman that guardians can indiscriminately flog boys under their control?
Mr. BURNS Guardians cannot indiscriminately punish boys under their control, but they stand in almost parental relationship to some of these children. There are some children who, in the judgment of the guardians, want correcting. I know I did when I was a boy.
Burns was not pining for his public school, by the way, as he 'declar[ed] to the Commons in a speech in 1901: "I am not ashamed to say that I am the son of a washerwoman". Source.
Unless she was a very successful washerwoman, of course.
Those scoundrels in Jersey
Mr. MOLTENO asked the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether representations have been made to the States of Jersey in connection with the embargo placed upon potatoes coming from the United Kingdom with a view to its removal?
Sir E. STRACHEY Yes, we are in communication with the States of Jersey on this subject.
The Pusher Man re-appears:
Sir HENRY COTTON asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what were the exports of Indian opium to China during each of the years 1904–5, 1905–6, 1906–7, 1907–8, and 1908–9; and what were the exports to the Straits Settlements and to the Federated Malay States during the same periods?....
1908-9 52,758 chests to China, 11,174 Straits Settlements.
Let's say China and Malaysia have seen population rise in lock step, China had a population some 47 times that of the SS, so that's a lot of opium pipes per head in the latter.
More fun with stats: Motor Cars Imported into the United Kingdom.
Mr. TYSON WILSON asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can give the number and value of the motor cars imported into this country from France during the years 1906, 1907, and 1908?
Mr. CHURCHILL The following statement gives the information desired by my hon. Friend:—
Statement showing the number and value of complete motor cars imported into the United Kingdom consigned to this country from France in 1906, 1907, and 1908 - 4,174, 3,613, 3,175.
And here's a 1907 Panhard-Levassor. Nice, eh:
Labels: 1909, Parliament