Lawrence John Lumley Dundas Zetland.

An Eastern miscellany online

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tobacco," wrote the Government of India, " is
very unfavourably treated in the United King-
dom, being subject to the same specific duty as
the higher valued American article. If the two


were placed on a footing of equality, and still
more, if the Indian article were accorded pre-
ferential treatment, our trade should receive a
considerable stimulus." There are about a
million acres under tobacco in India, but her
export is small, and during the last ten years
has averaged 14,900,000 lb. per annum. So
adversely do the English duties affect Indian-
grown tobacco, that the United Kingdom takes
none of her export surplus of unmanufactured
tobacco, and only a few thousand pounds' worth
of her cigars. There is, however, good reason,
according to the late Sir E. F. Law, to look
upon this as a trade " which, under more favour-
able conditions than those now existing, might
develop great importance."

During the ten years ending 1907 - 8 the
area under coffee in India fell from 148,389 acres
to 99,511 acres, and her exports of the berry
from 270,056 cwt., valued at £1,166,549, to
244,234 cwt., valued at £743,013. The people of
the United Kingdom imported in 1908, 785,824
cwt. of coffee, valued at £2,186,680, of which
amount 653,897 cwt., valued at £1,732,274, came
from foreign sources, and only 131,927 cwt.,
valued at £454,406, from India. ^ It would seem,

^ The importation into the United Kingdom in 1908 was unusually
small. In 1907, the imports of coffee into Great Britain totalled
1,055,643 cwt., valued at £2,437,693, and in 1903— to take an earlier
year— 1,143,526 cwt., valued at £3,134,924.


therefore, that a preference on coffee would have
a stimulating effect upon the Indian industry.

It is also within our power to give another valu-
able Indian industry some much - needed assist-
ance. During the ten years ending 1907-8,
the area under indigo in India fell steadily jfrom
1,013,627 acres to 405,905 acres, and production
of the dye from 139,320 cwt. to 51,400 cwt. Her
exports which at the beginning of the period totalled
135,187 cwt., valued at very nearly £2,000,000,^
fell in the latter year to 32,490 cwt., valued at
£424,849. In the earlier year the United King-
dom took 30,973 cwt., valued at £478,360, and
in the latter year only 9285 cwt., valued at
£126,870. In what way, then, can Great Britain
benefit the Indian indigo industry ? The answer
has been given by the late Sir E. F. Law in his
minute attached to the Memorandum of the
Government of India.

It should be specially noted that if, in accordance with
the general foreign system of tariffs, the United Kingdom
were to impose a reasonable duty on synthetic indigo, as
a chemical compound, whilst admitting natural indigo free,
as raw material, the difficulties of our indigo planters would
disappear as if by magic. And this is, perhaps, not too
much to expect, the competition between the two articles
being so close that the manufacturer could not appreciably
suffer by the exclusion of the one or the other.

^ 111 1895-96 India's exports of indigo reached their high-water
mark, the figures being 187,337 cwt., valued at £3,569,740.


The 576 indigo factories which still fought
against adverse circumstances in 1901 employed
159,000 hands. Five years later only 196 fac-
tories survived, and the number of hands employed
had dropped to 102,000. The decline is steady,
but the policy of laisser-faii^e demands that states-
men (?) look on, whether with satisfaction, regret,
or indifference being immaterial, so long only as
they refrain from doing anything but look on.
Truly a heroic attitude, and one recalling that
policy of which so much was at one time heard in
another sphere, and which was eulogised as the
policy of " masterful inactivity " !

Wheat grown in India would of course receive
the same preferential treatment as wheat grown
in other parts of the Empire. The extent to
which Great Britain has in favourable years
drawn upon India for her supply of bread is not
always realised. In 1904-5, for instance, Great
Britain took nearly twenty-nine million hundred-
weight of wheat from India, valued at approxi-
mately £8,000,000 ; and her total exports of wheat
during that year amounted to forty- three hundred-
weight, valued at little short of £12,000,000. The
supply is, however, largely dependent on climatic
conditions, and it is probable that, at present at
any rate, she already produces as much as she is
in a position to without the stimulus provided by
a preference in the English market.

It is seen, then, that the United Kingdom is


in a position to offer India advantages in return
for any preference which that country is able to
accord to her. In other words, there is ample
material out of which to fashion a scheme of
reciprocity between the two most important
portions — from a trade point of view — of the
Empire. That India would be more than willing
to discuss the matter, provided that she was
guaranteed unrestricted facilities for stating her
case, can scarcely be doubted. But it must not
be forgotten that if Indian sentiment is taken
fully into account in the discussion of any pro-
posals affecting the trade and industry of the
two countries, the abolition of the excise duty
upon the Indian cotton industry will be the first
concession asked for by India in return for advan-
tages granted by her. The history of the duty
has already been dealt with, but it is, perhaps,
pertinent to ask, at this stage of our inquiry, on
what principle is it defended? Ninety-nine Free
Traders out of every hundred will probably quote
parrot-like some text-book formula and assume
that they have answered the question. But have
they done so ? If it is laid down as an axiom of
free trade that the protective effect of any import
duty must be counteracted by an equivalent excise
duty levied upon the otherwise protected home
industry, and that the policy of free trade being
the policy of Great Britain, India must conform
to it, the answer, whatever may be thought of


the merits of the policy, is at least intelligible.
But no such answer can be given to the question
here asked, for the simple reason that the policy-
predicated in the answer is not the policy which
is pursued by the Government. A higher import
duty than that levied on cotton goods is levied
on almost every other manufactured article that
is imported into India. Boots are imported from
Northampton, and are subject to a five per cent
duty on entering India. Boots are also made at
Cawnpore, but are not subject to any excise. In
1908-9 paper to the value of £617,560 was
imported into India and paid duty at the rate of
five per cent, and on page 59 of a Government
publication entitled " A statement exhibiting the
moral and material progress and condition of India
during the year 1908-9," we are told that "at the
end of 1908 there were nine paper-mills at work,
producing during the year about 57,000,000 lb.
of paper, valued at £506,000." An admirable ex-
ample of the material progress of India ; but how
can it be that the immutable principles of free
trade do not demand the imposition of an excise
duty on this £506,000 worth of paper equivalent
to the five per cent import duty levied on the
£617,560 worth of paper imported? In like
manner, the 550,000 tons of sugar imported in
1907-8 paid duty at the rate of five per cent,
whereas the 2,000,000 produced in India paid
no duty. Why ? Perhaps an even more striking


example Is provided by the case of mineral oil,
since a free trade Government have, during the
past year (1910), increased the existing import
duty upon this commodity by fifty per cent — i.e.,
from a penny to a penny half-penny per gallon.
Now the consumption of mineral oil in India is
officially estimated at 157,000,000 gallons. Of
this amount 84,000,000 gallons are imported and
pay duty, and 73,000,000 gallons are produced
in Burma and pay no duty ; and these facts are
not in the least affected by the assurance of the
finance member, repeated with unnecessary fre-
quency and emphasis, that in his proposals there
was " not the slightest inclination towards a pro-
tective customs tariff." There were other official
members who did not find it necessary, apparently,
to lay stress upon the orthodoxy of the new
duties, for Mr Gates, with a cynical indifference
to the probable effect of his speech upon Lord
Morley's free trade nerves, actually suggested as
a possible result of the enhanced duty that in the
long-run Burma oil might drive the foreign oil
out of the market ! What a horrible consumma-
tion of a fiscal expedient adopted by a free trade
Government ! Mr Gates, however, appears to
have lost his awe — if he ever had any — of the
great doctrine of free trade, for in answer to
suggestions from Indian members that the duty
upon sugar should be increased rather than that
upon petroleum, he said, " The Burma petroleum


industry is surely as worthy of encouragement,
or even protection, if you like to call it so, as the
sugar industry."

In view of these facts it is surely impossible
to justify the Indian cotton excise, and I have
no hesitation in saying that it ought to be re-
scinded. If Free Traders really believed in their
doctrine, the cotton magnates of Lancashire —
who as a class are Free Traders — would scarcely
be likely to offer opposition to India retaining
a protective duty on cottons, for has not so wise
a Free Trader as Mr Haldane said that " foreign
protective tariffs at least do us no harm " ; and as
has already been shown, the ground of opposition
in the past has been based on the assumed ad-
verse effect of the duty upon the Lancashire
industry. But it is useless to shut our eyes to
hard facts, and when we descend from the lofty
heights of the Professor's chair to the drudgery
of everyday business, the Professor's theories are
found to weigh very light when balanced against
experience. And in spite of the theories of the
Professors and the Cobden Club there is no reason
to suppose that Lancashire has changed its
opinion as to the stimulating effect of a pro-
tective duty upon the Indian cotton industry,
and no reason, therefore, to suppose that the
" powerful manufacturing interests in England "
which were so successful in imposing their will
upon the Government in 1896 would consent to


the abolition of the excise now. " While India
is our Dependency," wrote Mr Tattersall,
the protagonist of the Lancashire Cobdenites,
in January 1908, "she will continue to be
governed by our traditional policy of Free
Trade," a challenge which was promptly inter-
preted by one of the most influential of the
Indian journals as being "only a euphemistic
way of stating . . . that the infant industries
[of India] shall be strangled in their birth if
there is the remotest suspicion of their com-
peting with English manufactures." ^

Under the circumstances the practical man
will aim at the gradual reduction of the duties
on both English and Indian cottons, while re-
taining, and if necessary increasing, those on
foreign importations. Unfortunately, the huge
surpluses which for nearly ten years fell with
accommodating regularity into the lap of the
Finance Member have ceased to be a feature
of the Indian budget, and remission of taxation
is, for the present at any rate, out of the ques-
tion.^ In the year 1908-9 the import duty
on cotton brought in £787,000, out of a gross
revenue from the Custom's tariff of a trifle

^ ' The Wednesday Review of Trichinopoly.' See an article
by Sir Roper Lethbridge, K.C.I.E., in the January (1910) number
of the ' Imperial and Asiatic Quarterly Review.'

^ During the nine years ending 1906-7, the surpluses of revenue
over expenditure in nine consecutive Indian budgets aggregated
25^ million pounds.


under £4,000,000 ; ^ and in the preceding year
£1,012,600, out of a gross revenue from the
same source of rather over £4,000,000. There
would be no difficulty in making good the loss
of revenue incurred by the abolition of the excise
duty vi^hich has never been defended on financial
grounds, and which brought in during the year
1908-9 only £236,000. A small export duty
of five per cent on the raw jute taken by
foreign countries alone during the same period
would have brought in £384,791. But with
every prospect of the present tendency towards
increased expenditure continuing, it might not
be so easy to find a satisfactory substitute for
the whole of the import duty on cotton goods.
Nevertheless, the difficulty is one which must
sooner or later be overcome if only those who
are responsible for the conduct of afiairs will
bear in mind the admirable words — was it the
sprite of irony that introduced them into the
mouth of a Free Trader? — which found a place
in Lord George Hamilton's reply to the Lanca-
shire Deputation of December 1905: "Except-
ing, perhaps, the ties which race and religion
may weave, the bonds of commerce are the
most powerful instruments known for knitting
together the interests of scattered communities
and of welding them together in an Empire."

^ Exclusive of the duty on salt, and of the export duty on rice,
which latter brought in a net amount of £664,900 in 1907-8, and
536,000 in 1908-9.




The old and the new in Japan jostle one
another crudely and incongruously in every
corner of the country. Religion, the great con-
servative force in every land, swears undying
allegiance to old Japan, and in many a tomb
and stately monument rears imperishable altars
to a majestic past ; while modern industrial
enterprise, at all times and in all places
superbly indifferent to sentiment, erects hideous
if necessary chimneys in painful proximity to
temple and tomb. The ninety -nine visitors out
of every hundred who travel to Japan to enjoy
new scenes and to admire the ingenuity of
Japanese art are consequently brought face to
face from time to time with material manifesta-
tions of the temper of new Japan ; and, con-
versely, the traveller who may be bent upon
unravelling political skeins or fishing in com-
mercial and industrial waters cannot fail every



now and then to fall under the spell of her

So it happened that, with thoughts fixed un-
romantically upon mundane matters, I chanced
upon the great Buddha of Kamakura. Who
does not know of the Buddha of Kamakura ?
Here indeed is a glimpse of the East that is
dreamed about. All thoughts of factories, mills,
and workshops, the toys and vanities of men,
vanish like chaff before the wind, and some
things in the complex character of a people
which before appeared inexplicable become, to
some extent at any rate, intelligible. As Kipling
sang —

" And whoso will, from pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura."

You pass through an ornamental gateway and
on along an avenue of stately trees, then sud-
denly halt involuntarily as the first view of
the great image bursts upon your gaze, and
you realise instinctively that there stands before
you in all its beauty of form and symmetry of
outline the very apotheosis of the artistic genius
of Japan. The great bronze image stands in
the open, in grounds of exquisite charm — a
charm which it is impossible to ignore. Twice
I came when the blossom was on the cherry-
tree and the camellia was in flower, when the


fresh green feathery leaf of the maple showed
bright against the sombre-hued outline of cypress
and fir. Men and women in bright kimonos
passed up the steps, halting at the top to bow
and breathe a hurried prayer, and all round elf-
like children made quaint and incomprehensible
progression upon high and hopelessly incon-
venient-looking clogs of wood. And because of
the beauty of the scene, or for some other
reason, perhaps, which did not admit of
analysis, I came again, not once nor twice but
many times, when clouds scudded angrily across
a lowering sky, and again when the heat of a
summer midday filled the wooded glens and
hollows with billows of soft blue haze, and
each time the beauty of the scene appeared to
me to grow. Yet amid all the charm of chang-
ing scene the idea that rushes irresistibly upper-
most in the mind is that of absolute immutability.
In the infinite peace which seems to find material-
isation in the expression of divine calm on the
face of the Buddha is a mute and inexorable
challenge to change and time. The setting
varies with the season, but the great image
remains the same, untouched by the passing of
time, heedless of summer and winter, spring-
time and autumn, unconscious of the men that
come and the generations that are gone, wholly
absorbed in sublime meditation and that perfect


peace which only comes with the final annihil-
ation of passion and desire. All else falls into
insignificance before that expression of unearthly
calm — of complete and immense repose.

Perhaps nothing bears stronger testimony to
the prosaic, phlegmatic character of the sturdy
adventurers of the seventeenth century than
their callous indifference to the charm and
beauty of what they regarded, doubtless, merely
as a heathenish idol. " The image," wrote
Captain John Saris in his diary of 12th Sept-
ember 1613, "is much reverenced by travellers
as they pass there," — a form of weakness, how-
ever, which, he was careful to show, was little
affected either by himself or his followers, for
he adds, " Some of our people went into the
body of it and hooped and holloaed, which made
an exceeding great noyse. We found many
characters and marks made upon it by pas-
sengers, whom some of my followers imitated,
and made theirs in like manner." The ravages
perpetrated by the travelling vandals of the
present day have, indeed, called forth a pathetic
appeal from the Prior of the Order charged
with the custody of the image, which greets
one at the entrance to the grounds : " Stranger,
whosoever thou art, and whatsoever be thy
creed, when thou enterest this sanctuary re-
member thou treadest upon ground hallowed


by the worship of ages. This is the temple of
Buddha and the gate of the eternal, and should
therefore be entered with reverence."

But the great Buddha was to submit to a
crowning insult. A fierce and hungry collector
came along, a man of a world where nothing is
reverenced except gold, and he proposed — at a
price — to transfer the great image from its
temple grounds to a private museum of his
own. Verily, it is satisfactory to reflect upon
the fact that St Paul's Cathedral still stands
east of the Atlantic !

A few minutes' journey by train whisks one
from this place of hallowed calm to a scene of
bustling activity in the naval dockyards of
Yokosuka. Nowhere, perhaps, is the effect of
the recent war upon Japan more patent than
in her great naval yards ; nowhere does the
strength and magnitude of her ambitions find
more cogent demonstration. The possessors of
an island empire, the statesmen of Japan have
not been slow to recognise the value of a strong
navy and a powerful and numerous mercantile
marine. Under a system of shipbuilding and
ship - running bounties, her merchant shipping
has made huge strides ; and the advocates of
State aid, in return under certain circumstances
for State control, may point confidently to the
successful transportation of troops in time of


war in justification of their policy. During the
late war a single company, the Nippon Yusen
Kaisha, were able to place at the disposal of
the Government 250,000 tons of shipping, with
which they successfully carried to and from the
seat of war upwards of a million and a quarter
men, 124,000 horses, and close upon two million
tons of stores. Under the same paternal en-
couragement, the displacement of the steamers
of her mercantile marine aggregated by April
last (1906) 951,000 tons — an increase in less
than three years of 335 ships, with a displace-
ment of 203,783 tons.i

But striking as are these figures, and loud as
is the tale of the destructive competition of
Japanese bottoms in Chinese waters, the tale of
the great naval arsenals and dockyards is even
more significant. A visit to Kure is indeed
little less than a revelation. Armed with an
official permit which read, "Kure arsenal and
dockyards, except the armour works," I
approached the main entrance in the wall sur-
rounding the entire works, and gained immediate
admittance from the sentinel on guard. The
first glance tells you that you are in the
presence of a spirit of imperious energy and

1 By the end of 1908 the Japanese Mercantile Marine consisted of
1618 steamers, with a gross tonnage of 1,160,372, and upwards of
4000 sailing vessels, with a displacement of 383,455 tons.


indomitable will. The man of " blood and iron "
would have smiled approval here. You are
brought abruptly face to face with one of the
startlinti: contrasts of the East. Outside the
wall fragile houses, old - world courtesy, laugh-
ing children, sleepy temples, leisurely priests, and
smiling women — all the recognised ingredients of
quaint, fantastic, orthodox Japan. Inside the
clash and clang of iron upon steel, the roar of
machinery, and the hiss of steam, all the be-
wildering equipment for the forging of engines
designed for the destruction of human life, vast
piles of ugly scaffolding, toiling masses, and a
ten hours' day ! In the early nineties the naval
yards at Kur^ came into existence, the offspring
of the war with China ; to - day they provide
employment for 30,000 men, and are capable of
building battleships the equals of any now afloat.
They are complete and self-sufficing in every
detail. They turn out everything connected
with the construction of battleships, from a rivet
to a 12-inch gun.

Prior to the late war, nothing bigger than a
third-class cruiser of 3000 or 4000 tons had been
attempted ; but the war gave great impetus to
Japanese naval construction, and in January 1905
the keel of the first large cruiser, the Tsukuha,
was laid down. To-day I saw her all but com-
pleted in her dock at Kur^, a powerful first-class


cruiser of 13,750 tons. A little way off lay her
sister ship, the Ikoma, though not quite so
far advanced. But Japanese ambition has not
stopped here. Two vast battleships, the Sat-
suma and the Aki, are now under construction
at Yokosuka and Kure respectively. Not even
the Dreadnought, the latest pet of the British
navy, will boast superiority to these monster
engines of war. With a displacement of 19,000
tons, a speed of 19 knots, and an offensive arma-
ment of four 12 -inch and twelve 10 -inch guns,
they will meet with but few equals upon the sea.-^

^ The enormous increase of the Japanese fleet during the years
immediately following the late war was not perhaps generally appre-
ciated in England. The following is a list of the larger vessels
actually under construction in Japanese yards at the time of my
visit in 1906 :—

The ATci .
The Satsuma
The Kurama
The Tsukuha
The Ihoma
The IhuU
The Mogami
The Yodo
The Tone .


first-class battleships . . 19,060

( 14,600

first-class armoured cruisers . J lo,/ou

^ 13,750

' 13,000
small cruisers .... 2,500

In addition to the above, the Kashima (16,430 tons) and the Katori
(15,980 tons) had arrived recently from England, and the following
captured Russian ships were being made ready for sea : 6 battle-
ships, 4 cruisers, 2 coast-defence ships, 3 destroyers, and 2 gunboats.
The aggregate increase in tonnage represented by the above vessels
is 226,483 tons.

By the end of 1908 the Japanese fleet consisted of 210 vessels of
all sorts, with a displacement of approximately 520,000 tons.


And while poor, impoverished, heavily -burdened
Japan is adding ships to her navy and regiments
to her army, the plausible pundits who mismanage
the affairs of rich, luxurious, affluent England
preach pious platitudes from the Treasury front

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Online LibraryLawrence John Lumley Dundas ZetlandAn Eastern miscellany → online text (page 17 of 24)