News & Tall Tales. 1800s.
July 21, 1852, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California
USE OF OPIUM. -- The amount of opium entered for home consumption in England in 1850 was 42,325 pounds, and in 1851, 50,368 pounds. It is time the philanthropists were getting up an anti-opium eating movement.
July 20, 1855, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California
Increase of Opium Eating in the Eastern States.
The craving for stimulants seems to be natural and universal, and shutting off its indulgence in one direction uniformly increases it in another. Thus about the year 1839, when all England was jubilant with temperance festivals and societies, and the hearts of philanthropists was gladdened with the hopes of the reign of sobriety, it was suddenly discovered that the poorer classes were becoming frightfully addicted to the use of opium, and that they had forsaken their old vice only to take up one still more destructive.
So also with us, as the use of ardent spirits becomes more and more disreputable, we have constant evidence that the secret use of opium is increasing to an alarming extent. Frequent paragraphs in the newspapers make mention of it. The increased sale of opium makes it manifest. And the personal observation of very many who read this article will confirm the truth of such an increase. Very many will be able to call to mind within the circle of their acquaintance those who are known to be given to the secret use of opium, and some will be able to testify to the destruction of the happiness of families caused by the use of this drug by one of its heads.
The eating of opium is admitted on all hands to be infinitely more destructive and incurable than indulgence in ardent spirits. In China, where incredible sums are expended upon it and immense quantities consumed, despite the prohibition of the government, its effects on the system although very injurious, are far less destructive than with us. There it is prepared and consumed as tobacco is here, by smoking; and this species of indulgence, when not carried to excess, is far less noxious than when it is eaten. It is well to be watchful lest, while so strenuous efforts are being made to suppress intemperance in ardent spirits, a more terrible indulgence in opium may become firmly established in certain classes of society. ~ N. Y. Times
November 25, 1886, Alta California, San Francisco
October 11, 1891, San Francisco Call
An Opium Factory Seized
Inspectors Clapp and Thomas of the Internal Revenue Service found an opium factory in full blast at 623 Jackson street at 5 o'clock yesterday morning.
They seized four pans, some opium and "Yen shee."
October 11, 1900, San Francisco Call
Large Consignment of Opium
Four hundred and twenty-two cases of opium arrived on the steamer America Maru last Tuesday night. The total weight of opium was 17,302 pounds valued, duty paid, at $276,832. The duty is $103,812.
March 23, 1909, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
China Has on Board Record Shipment of Opium
Liner is Due at Sunrise Today
The Pacific Mail liner China, Captain M.T. Bailey, which is due early this morning from the orient, is bringing one of the largest shipments of opium that ever crossed the Pacific. As this may be the last shipment of the drug that travels through the Golden Gate under its own name, unusual interest attaches to the China's 400 cases of the dream producing substance. The duty on this shipment will amount to nearly $200,000, and the customs office will take special precautions to see that all the opium landed from the China pays duty.
The United States some time ago joined with other nations in an attempt to suppress the opium traffic, and orders were issued some months ago forbidding its importation into this country after a certain date. The order was unexpected, and upon representations to Washington that its enforcement would work a hardship on numerous dealers in the drug the time was extended until April 1. As those who use opium for other than medicinal purposes are not likely to abandon its use because of any government ban, the price of the poppy product will soar, and smuggling opium will again become an attractive occupation. The customs officials know this and are keeping a sharp eye on all avenues through which it might be brought in. Under the new law, having opium in one's possession will be a felony.
The China is bringing a large cargo of general merchandise and has on board about 150 cabin passengers. It is expected that the liner will be in quarantine by sunrise.