The following brief remarks on the Agricultural and Commercial Statistics of Ceylon, past and present, may not be without interest to the Members of the Committee of Agriculture and Commerce of the Royal Asiatic Society.
First. In respect to the present great staple of the colony. In 1809, according to the records of the Local Government under the Dutch régime, the production of coffee in the island, both for consumption and export, was about 250,000 Ibs. From that period the production continued steadily to increase; but it was in 1836, when the equalization in England of the duty on East and West India Coffee took place, that European capital and skill were brought to bear, and that to a large extent, in reference to the cultivation of the berry. Prior to the equalization of the duties, the import duty on Ceylon coffee in England had been 9d. per Ib. In 1836 the duty was reduced to 3d. per Ib., or 28s. per cwt.; and as the demand for the article continued undiminished, an equal rise of the price of coffee in bond simultaneously took place, the price to the consumer remaining much as before, and the importer reaping the benefit.