Patna was the main locality in Bihar for the cultivation of the Poppy. Its cultivation, as well as the manufacture, and the traffic in Opium, were subject to the East India Company .It was a strict monopoly of the british government. For superintending and managing the business, there was an extensive and complicated system of government agency. Large sums of money were advanced to the Ryots, or native cultivators, to meet in part the expense of cultivating the Poppy, and when the crop was come to maturity and the juice was collected, it must all be delivered to government agents at a fixed price. As all engaged in its cultivation and manufacture, were paid for their services, the Opium when prepared was the property of government.
The ryot or farmer was frequently compelled to cultivate the poppy at a fixed rate, when it was discovered that anybody was cultivating poppy , without having entered into such an arrangement with the government, his property was to be immediately attached, or he has to give securities for the faithful delivery of the product. A system was also established, for the preventing the traffic of even a minimum quantity of this valuable drug.
The first opium factories were established by the dutch in early eighteenth centuries. In 1781, the Dutch Factory at Patna was seized on the lOth of July by Major Hardy, commanding the British Militia force.
The factories ofChhapra and Singhia were next seized. On the 4th of July 1781, the Governor-General and Council apprised Mr. Maxwell, the Revenue chief of Patna, of the seizure of the Dutch factory at Chinsurah, and of the appointment of Messrs. Puling, Heatly, Adair and Ramus Commissionaries for the immediate charge of the treasures, effects and concern of the Dutch East India Company.
The Dutch factory received its opium from the English contractor, paying the English Company a nazarana of Rs. 10,000 per annum for this purpose. At the date of the seizure of the factory Mr. Campbell, the opium contractor, had a claim of Rs. 96,900 against the Dutch for opium supplied, which the English Government liquidated on the 29th of November 1781. Mr. Brooke, Revenue chief of Patna, was ordered to make the buildings of the Dutch factory over to the opium contractor.
SMUGGLING OF OPIUM TO CHINA
There was no secret in the opium trade; the quantity exported was well-known, and the prices were always given in the Canton Register, a public newspaper : the opium chests being cumbrous things, were broken up on board the receiving smuggling ships at Lin tin, and the opium placed In bags for delivering to the Chinese, who go alongside the ships in smuggling boats in the open face of day, frequently within view of the Chinese men-of-war boats, and the opium was delivered to them upon their presenting what was called an opium order from the agent at Canton.