13Reading 35-1for many hundreds of years before the “clever” Europeans discovered how to compete. When competi-tion came, it was not exactly on equal terms. The Europeans altered the rules, cheapened the process, and changed the product. In 1800 the European pottery industry was only about 5% involved with porcelain; the rest consisted of coarse, heavy wares. This represented a regression in the 50 years since 1750. Before heavy, factory-made earthenware, the European bourgeoisie drank tea in the finest porcelain people of rela-tively modest means would ever use. Earthenware may or may not have been an improvement over tinware, pewter, and wood in the kitchen, but it was certainly a regression in Victorian parlors.The tea trade was in crisis in the last 3rdof the 18thcentury. All tea came from China and was imported, legally by the East India Companies of the European countries, illegally by smugglers. Over 200 heavy ships were involved in voyages from Canton: two-thirds of them reached Europe each year. (The other third traded in the Orient.) The tea tonnage they brought was probably 12,000 In 1770. English duty amounted to more than half the cost of the tea. It is probable that the illegal trade amounted to an additional 6000 tons.
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