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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Indigo of medium and good quality


We

complain a great deal that the Russian protective tariff is high, but it is mild when compared with the murderous protectionism of the United States or of our beloved friend Germany. And, after all, does this protection keep out our goods from those countries? By no means. Russia's industries are indeed fast developing, but they are far from sufficient to supply her own wants. English, German, and American goods find their way even to the most remote spots of Siberia. It is, then, a problem worth considering whether "free trade Persia," with her English and Indian imports amounting to one million four hundred thousand pounds sterling (L1,400,000), is a customer so well worth cultivating as protectionist Russia, which buys from us nearly twenty-two millions' (L21,974,952) worth yearly.

In regard to the Quetta-Meshed route, it would strike a casual observer that from our geographical situation we might, without much difficulty, kill two birds with one stone by a happy combination--Persia being dealt with _en passant_, as it were, while aiming for quicker, sounder, and more extensive markets further north.

Persia is a good market for Indian indigo, which has, so far, commanded a ready sale.

In Sistan itself--which, it cannot be too emphatically repeated, is to-day only a comparatively poor and sparsely-populated district--the articles which have, so far, found a quick retail sale,

have been Indian assorted spices, second-hand apparel, sugar, tea, boots, cheap cotton cloths, matches, kerosene oil, thread, needles, cheap cutlery, scissors, small looking glasses.

The Amir and the Sardars have at different times made purchases of boots, shoes, saddlery, silk, woollen and cotton cloths, rugs, shawls, crockery, and enamel ware, watches, chains, and knives, and have also bought a considerable number of English-made fancy goods, furniture, stationery, cigarettes, cigars and tobacco, &c. The humbler Sistanis purchase very freely from the Indian British shops, but cannot afford to pay very high prices; but the high officials pay cash and give a good price for all they buy.

Speaking generally, the articles which are mostly wanted at present are those mentioned in the official report. For these commodities there is a steady demand in the markets of Sistan and Khorassan, but the supply, it should be remembered, should be in proportion to the size of the population. Sistan, Birjand, Meshed, are not London nor Paris nor Berlin.

The articles wanted are:--

Woollen stuffs, flannels, muslins, mulls, sheetings, chintzes, cottons, &c. Velvets, satins, silks, brocades. Indigo of medium and good quality. (Oudh indigo is principally in demand in Bushire.) Iron, brass and copper sheets. Sulphur matches. Spices, including cinnamon, cardamums, cloves, pepper, turmeric, &c. Rice (for Sistan). Tea, black for Persia, and green for Afghanistan and Transcaspia. Coffee (in berry). Refined sugar, loaf. Ginger preserve (in jars). Sal-ammoniac. Baizes (specially of high class), Khinkhabs and gold cloth. Cotton turbans (lungis) of all qualities, including those with pure gold fringes. Leather goods. Boots (Cawnpore and English). Saddlery (Cawnpore, as the English is too expensive). Glass-ware. Enamel-ware. Cutlery. Ironmongery of every description. Cheap padlocks find a ready sale. Watches (cheap). Jewellery. Kalai (for tinning copper vessels).


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