The Sassoon Family

description of the Sassoons
"Sassoon's had specialized in the export of raw cotton to Britain and China for many years and from the founding of the firm in the late eighteenth century, had also been in opium through loans to producers in the Native States of India, loans which were recovered with interest at the sales of Malwa in Bombay. Jardine's manifests show that Sassoon's was also shipping opium to China on its own account from 1834 or perhaps earlier and shortly after Hong Kong had become a colony, David Sassoon opened a branch which concentrated upon opium business. Since his firm was already established in Calcutta and Singapore, he had a branch at that time at every link in the India-China opium chain except in the coastal system. This link was provided by the extension of Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company's services on the coast in the early fifties ... Early in 1871, the Sassoon group was acknowledged to be the major holder of opium stocks in India and in China; they were owners and controllers of 70 per cent of the total of all kinds..." - Edward LeFevour in Western Enterprise in Late Ch'ing China