VIDEO: Sir Jardine Matheson and The Case for Free Trade

By Paul Anderson

Some years ago did Good Queen Bess
A trade monopoly decree:
For Brits to trade from east to west,
From 1600, there was just
The East India Company.

We were the agents of imperialist expansion
And ran much of India in true business fashion:
For here were the goodies we could sell back in Blighty
And here was a market that was really quite mighty.
We bought up the spices, the cotton and silk,
And sold watches and trinkets and things of that ilk.

But India is only a part of our tale:
Our interests required us to maximise sales.
China, which had an immense population,
Was an obvious target for benign exploitation.

The problem was this. The wily Chinese
Wanted to sell us nothing but tea;
They wouldn’t accept any quid pro quo:
When we offered them baubles, they just said no.

So the East India Company hit on a scheme;
It was a wee bit cunning and a wee bit mean.
After market research we worked out a plan:
Sell opium in Canton and run the main man.

The rich kids had become serious dopers
But it wasn’t a habit of the mass of no-hopers.
The company changed that in a matter of years,
Creating millions of addicts by supplying cheap gear.

We all had to be just a tiny bit careful:
The deals that we did were the grey side of legal.
But the problem was simply the rules of the game;
Deregulation would make it all plain.

Now the monopoly’s a thing of the past;
It’s a free-for-all, and we can’t be the last
To get stuck in, and create more jobs
To stave off uncouth Chartist mobs.

I’ve never had qualms in this line of business:
If the punters want it, the market suffices
To satisfy demand – and, meanwhile,
Let them get high while I make my pile.

The Steampunk Opium Wars pages:
The Steampunk Opium Wars Home Page
The Company: who we are and how to find us.
Gallery: debut performance at the National Maritime Museum.
VIDEO: Lin Zexu Just Says No!
VIDEO: Sir Jardine-Matheson “The Case for Free Trade”
VIDEO: Lord Palmerston declares war on China
VIDEO: Britannia sings “Money”
VIDEO: Gary Lammin presents the Hackney Tea Ceremony
VIDEO: Anna Chen sings Anna May Wong Must Die!
VIDEO: Anna Chen sings The Camellia & the Poppy
What they said …

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