Lieutenant-Governor Spotswood and the Internal Regulation of Tobacco, 29 December 1713

Lieutenant-Governor Spotswood and the Internal Regulation of Tobacco, 29 December 1713

  • I last gave you some of the steps we’ve taken to prevent tobacco fraud.
    • But now we have to talk about why the tobacco industry has been mismanaged.
      • A lot of people are just going into the business to get rid of their own debts & taxes. That’s fine for them but it causes the merchants of the tobacco a lot of trouble abroad when they have to try & convince buyers to buy inferior products.
      • Some have poured salt water on the leaves to preserve it on its long voyage back to England. But once it passes through to market, it’s completely ruined.
    • The passage of this law will require inspectors to examine at various stages of the production & sale of tobacco, seeing what’s being sold & of what quality.
      • We’re hoping this will restore Virginia’s reputation for tobaccos which has taken a beating lately because of the criminals looking to make a quick extra buck.
      • It also seems that the customs agents have been encouraging the production of dodgy tobacco because they get a cut of the taxes on importation. They want to see more product pass through their customs houses to increase their take of the taxes. Therefore, they encourage the planters & shippers to make the good look taxable – hence the salt water trick, amongst others.
    • I’ve tried my best to give the Governor the chance of expressing himself to the House of Burgesses that he will have to have agents to inspect tobacco at several stages of the supply chain to find & correct any abuses.
      • These agents will promote the overall health of the Tobacco Industry by promoting honesty in production by punishing dishonesty.
    • This law might actually receive some criticism in response to its passage. Farmers will not enjoy being told that any percentage of their harvest is “trash”.
      • They might even push for its rejection or repeal. They will press on their representatives to allow them to manufacture their crap.
      • But the fact remains that if a standard is not kept, the industry as a whole will continue to decline especially in the face of competition from abroad.
        • Shippers, merchants & foreign consumers are hurt by these acts of sabotage on the product. Therefore, the industry as a whole slumps.

Author: knowit68

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