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Reading35-1 (dragged) 16

Reading35-1 (dragged) 16 - Reading 35-1 17 The American tea...

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17 Reading 35-1 The American tea merchants 17 were not directly involved in the opium growing, as were the East Indian government of f 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. The Turkish government monopoly was less honest than the Indian one, and the opium was adulterated with grape juice thickened with F our, f g paste, liquorice, half-dried apricots, gum tragacanth, and sometimes even spirits of lead. After these adulterants had been removed, the Turkish opium was graded as shipping, druggist’s, or manufacturing quality. The last was used to make morphia, then, after the 1870s, heroin. 18 The druggist’s opium was used for the ethical trade, and the very best supplies were reserved for smoking or eating. It was this, the f 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. Many a f ne family in New York, Boston, or Salem grew rich on this
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