The American tea merchants
were not directly involved in the opium growing, as were the East Indian
cials who controlled the drug culture in Bengal.
The American merchants bought opium
at Constantinople, Salonika, Smyrna, or Beirut, all then part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
government monopoly was less honest than the Indian one, and the opium was adulterated with grape juice
g paste, liquorice, half-dried apricots, gum tragacanth, and sometimes even spirits of
After these adulterants had been removed, the Turkish opium was graded as shipping, druggist’s, or
The last was used to make morphia, then, after the 1870s, heroin.
opium was used for the ethical trade, and the very best supplies were reserved for smoking or eating.
was this, the
nest grade, which the American tea merchants bought, or had bought for them, and which
they shipped direct to Canton or sent via the eastern seaboard of the United States.
These merchants were
anxious to conceal their vital connection with the drug trade, but the opium element was as important in the
American tea trade as in the British.
ne family in New York, Boston, or Salem grew rich on this