The Chinese government regarding the use of opium as one of the most acute moral and economic questions which.as a nation they have to face, representing an annual loss to the country of 856,250,000 taels, decided in 1906 to put an end to the use of the drug within ten years, and issued an edict on the 10th of September 1906, forbidding the consumption of opium and the cultivation of the poppy.
In 1907 the imports amounted to 79,500,000 taels (a tael in 1907 averaged 3s.
Foreign imports 61,200,000, native imports 18,317,000 taels; the exports in the same year amounted to 17,253,000.
A violent rebellion is mentioned in 1788, put down only after the loss, it is said, of ioo,000 men by disease and sword, and the expenditure of 2,000,000 taels of silver.
During his tenancy of office the system adopted at Shanghai was applied to the other treaty ports, so that when on Mr Lay's resignation Mr Hart was appointed inspector-general of foreign customs, he found himself at the head of an organization which collected a revenue of upwards of eight million taels per annum at fourteen treaty ports.