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A brief 1909 Hansard trawl - featuring stamps, opium and beef.

Great defunct (presumably) international organisations, number 62 in a series:

Mr. REES (Lib) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether the Consul-General at Szechuen informed the International Opium Commission that no trustworthy statistics exist as to the acreage under the poppy in China; and whether, if so, the British Government intend to adhere literally to engagements, the fulfilment of which by China, in the absence of trustworthy statistics, cannot be ascertained or assumed.

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. Grey) We have no information to this effect, but the reports recently received from our Consular officers in China tend to show that the Chinese Government are both energetic and sincere in their attempts to suppress the cultivation of the poppy in China. Full reports of the proceedings of the International Opium Commission are now on their way home, and will shortly be laid on the Table of the House.

I envy anyone who could saunter around with a business card with International Opium Commission printed thereon. One might note that the original Gladstone was somewhat unimpressed with our prosecuting of the 1839 Opium war, commenting "I am not competent to judge how long this war may last, or how protracted may be its operations, but this I can say, that a war more unjust in its origin, a war more calculated in its progress to cover this country with permanent disgrace, I do not know, and I have not read of".

Plague in the Punjab

Mr. REES asked the Under-Secretary of State for India, whether the returns of plague mortality in the Punjab during the preceding years indicate that the disease is gradually disappearing; and how last year's death-rate on this account compares with that from small-pox?

The UNDER-SECRETARY for INDIA (The Master of Elibank) the plague mortality in the Punjab in 1908, excluding native States, is given in the most recent returns as 30,708, against 608,685 in 1907. 1076 The death-rate from plague in that province in 1908 was 1.53 per thousand; that for small-pox was 1.42 per thousand.

For the sake of comparison, when the Plague hit London in 1666, an estimated 100,000 died.

Those Americans:

Mr. HUNT asked the hon. Member for South Somerset whether, in view of the fact that only one-fifth or less of the beef now sold in the principal London market is British or Irish, and that the amount has been rapidly decreasing of late years and is still decreasing, he proposes to take any action to prevent British and Irish beef from being squeezed out altogether from Smithfield Market by the operations of the American Beef Trust?

Mr. HUNTIs the hon. Baronet aware that since the Committee sat it has been' publicly stated in the Press, including the Radical papers, that the City Corporation, after consultation with the Board of Agriculture, has been obliged to recognise that the American Meat Trust does control the Smithfield Market? Is he going to do nothing to prevent that?

Sir E. STRACHEY Certainly not.

Well, they do say that brevity is the soul of wit.

Sticking with meat, how about this for the direct approach:

Mr. HUNT Is the hon. Baronet aware that the fraudulent sale of foreign beef is continually going on, and that it causes enormous loss, and is very unfair to both producer and consumer in this country?

Sir E. STRACHEY Of course there is a continued sale of foreign beef, because people are able to buy it cheaper.


The cost of sending a postcard to the folks in Trebizond, or come to that, Tirana:

Mr. HENNIKER HEATON (Con) May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is penny postage with Shanghai, a distance of 12,500 miles, while the charge to Turkey, a distance of 1,200 miles, is 2½d.; and whether he has obtained statistics showing that at a small cost there could be established penny postage with Turkey?

Mr. BUXTON I am aware of the obvious anomalies between the penny and the 2½d. postage. Personally, I hope that at some time or other we may have universal penny postage. In regard to the question about Turkey, it must be quite obvious to my hon. Friend that if I were to extend penny postage to Turkey other Continental nations would be entitled to ask it also, and in the present state of our finance we are unable to afford the cost, which would be about £350,000 a year.

I would think that folk should bear the cost of sending letters themselves, but there is something vaguely comic about £350,000 being a sum too much for the nation to bear. Apparently HH was something of a postal obsessive.

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Blogger James Higham said... 4:46 pm

By any standards, that's quite some disparity though.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 4:57 pm

Re the plague stats? Yes, good news, relatively speaking.  

Blogger All Seeing Eye said... 5:23 pm

Much as I'd love an International Opium Commission business card (if only for the freebies) it was only a single meeting in Shanghai.

The Yanks wanted to call is a Convention but that would have given it rights to make international law which we weren't keen on. It took them until 1912 to get their Convention meeting which was in The Hague and made drug use much legally trickier.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:01 pm

ASE - Ah well...  

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