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Title: A Vindication of England's Policy with Regard to the Opium Trade
Author: Haines, Charles Reginald
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Vindication of England's Policy with Regard to the Opium Trade" ***






  (_All rights reserved._)


_Victrix causa deis placuit sed victa Catoni._


About two years ago I had occasion to go thoroughly into the question of
the opium-trade between India and China. Up to that time, knowing
practically nothing about the matter except what the Anti-Opium Society
and their supporters had to say on the subject, I was as zealous an
opponent of the traffic as any of them could wish. But as soon as I came
to read both sides of the question, and consult original authorities, I
felt myself forced, much against my will at first, to abandon my previous
opinions. And I may as well say at once that I have no personal interest
whatever, direct or indirect, in the maintenance or defence of the
traffic. My only wish has been to treat the question on the broad
principles of practical justice, and not in deference to that cosmopolitan
patriotism which would have us love our neighbour not indeed as ourselves,
but much more than ourselves. The object therefore of this little work is
to clear the fair name of England from the foul aspersions cast upon it by
a comparatively small body of well-meaning but misguided philanthropists.


DOVER, _June 16, 1884_.


  The Anti-Opium Society.--Its Origin.--By whom supported.--How
      far successful.--Its Conclusions not to be accepted.--The
      Indictment against England                                    pp. 1-6

  The original _habitat_ of the Poppy-Plant.--Opium known in
      China from the earliest times.--Not consumed much till
      Eighteenth Century.--First imported by Portuguese.--By
      East India Company in 1773.--Prohibited in 1796.--War in
      1839.--Causes of War.--Treaty of Nankin.--No mention of
      Opium.--Lord Palmerston's instructions on the subject.--
      War of 1856 and 1860.--Treaty of Tientsin.--Opium
      legalized.--Native growth long-established in spite of
      Edicts.--Reason of this.--Chefoo Convention                  pp. 6-37

  Opium a powerful Medicine.--Its Alkaloid constituents.--How
      used.--Distinction between eating and smoking it.--
      Consumed in India, Turkey, Armenia, England                 pp. 37-52

  Indian Opium of two kinds, Bengal and Malwa.--Monopoly in
      1773.--Vacillations in Policy.--Hence fluctuations in
      Revenue.--Reserve Stock.--Land under Cultivation.--Chests
      exported.--Policy towards Native States.--Prices.--
      Quality.--Competition with Chinese Opium                    pp. 52-59

  Abolition of the Traffic.--How far desirable.--
      Difficulties.--England not likely to help with a
      Money-grant.--Charges made by Anti-Opiumists.--1. "Opium
      a poison and Opium-smoking universally baneful."--
      Evidence on this point breaks down.--Not so fatal as
      Spirits with us.--Number of Smokers of Indian drug.--Use
      of Opium in the Straits Settlements                         pp. 59-75

  2. "England responsible for its introduction."--Opium
      certainly known in China previous to foreign
      importation.--The Portuguese before us.--Demand not
      _created_ by us.--Every Nation has its Stimulant or
      Narcotic.--Enumeration of these.--Opium specially suited
      to the Chinese.--Opium and Spirits                          pp. 75-91

  3. "We force Opium on China."--Chinese _not_ forced either to
      admit or smoke Opium--but compelled to keep to their own
      Tariff                                                      pp. 91-95

  4. "Monopoly indefensible."--Monopolies are a part of the
      System of Indian Government.--This particular Monopoly
      limits the export                                           pp. 95-97

  5. "Opium an Obstacle to Missionary effort."--Failure of
      Missionaries not due to Opium.--Real reasons of their
      ill-success.--Exterritorialization of Converts very
      objectionable to Chinese.--Roman Catholic Missionaries
      most detested, but more successful.--Reasons of
      this.--Our Missionaries, how far successful.--Their duty
      and ours                                                   pp. 97-114

  Remedies suggested.--Firstly, Abolition of Monopoly.--
      Objections to this.--Secondly, Prohibition of
      Poppy-culture in all India.--Difficulties with Native
      States.--Legitimate requirements of India.--Financial
      objections.--Curtailment of Expenditure difficult.--
      Increase of Taxation impossible.--Thirdly, England to ask
      for an equivalent from China for giving up the Opium
      Revenue.--No compensation to India.--Fourthly, Li Hung
      Chang's proposal                                          pp. 114-129

  Feasible remedies.--Either, England and China to agree to
      stop the cultivation of the Poppy gradually in _both_
      countries.--A test of Chinese sincerity.--Effect, if
      carried out.--_Or_, to free China from all obligations in
      regard to Opium.--This would cut away the ground from
      under the Agitators.--India would not lose all her
      Revenue.--The Agitation the outcome of mistaken
      Philanthropy.--Their method of propagandism most
      objectionable.--Conclusion                                pp. 129-139


Again there has been a debate in Parliament on the opium traffic:[1] again
has the same weary series of platitudes and misrepresentations been
repeated, and no one has taken the trouble to defend the policy of England
as it should and can be defended. But it is high time that the falsities
and the fallacies of the statements of the Anti-opium Society should be
exposed, and that everyone to the best of his ability should enlighten the
people of England on a subject which so nearly concerns the honour of our
country. Isolated voices have indeed been raised to protest against the
views disseminated by the Society for the Abolition of the Opium Trade;
but these efforts have been too few and far between to reach the mass of
the nation. At present the agitators have it all their own way. The
majority of people, having heard nothing but what the agitators have told
them, denounce the iniquitous traffic with a fervour that varies
proportionately with their ignorance. In contemplating the success of this
misdirected enthusiasm we are irresistibly reminded of a very "judicious"
remark of Hooker's, who says: "Because such as openly reprove supposed
disorders of State are taken for principal friends to the common benefit
of all, and for men that carry singular freedom of mind; under this fair
and plausible colour whatsoever they utter passeth for good and current."

For more than forty years the opium trade between India and China has been
a subject for keen discussion and hostile comment in England. Being as it
was the _immediate_ cause of our first war with China in 1840, the opium
traffic could not fail, in Parliament and elsewhere, to be brought
prominently before the notice of the people of England, and of course
there were not wanting public men to denounce the policy pursued by this
country towards China in that matter. This denunciation, at first of a
vague and desultory character, took a definite shape in the memorial
presented to Her Majesty's Government in the Earl of Shaftesbury's name,
and backed by all his great personal authority. The specific charges
contained in this document will be noticed hereafter, when we come to
sketch the present position of the "Society." Suffice it here to say that
it teemed with misstatements and exaggerations of the grossest and most
palpable kind, which, having been exposed and refuted again and again,
need not detain us now. But so far were those random statements from
furthering the cause which the memorialists had at heart, that they only
served to steel the minds of unprejudiced people against further
representations, however just, from the same quarter.

Since then, however, the agitation has taken a more organized form, and
there is now a society for the suppression of the trade, numbering its
hundreds of supporters, and linked with the names of such men as Lord
Shaftesbury, Cardinal Manning, Sir J. W. Pease, and Sir Wilfrid Lawson.
Nearly the whole of the clergy from the Archbishops downwards, and
ministers of every denomination, have declared for the same side. Add to
this that the Society has a large income, derived from voluntary
subscriptions, which is assiduously employed in the dissemination of its
peculiar doctrines. The country is flooded with tracts, pamphlets, reports
of addresses, speeches, and petitions, all inculcating the same extreme

Under these conditions it is not surprising that the anti-opiumists have
succeeded in enlisting popular sympathy to a certain extent on their side.
But, with the single exception of missionaries, they have against them the
vast majority of those who, from personal knowledge and experience, are
competent to form an opinion on the subject. Sir Rutherford Alcock, for
twenty years Her Majesty's Minister in China, who has had opportunities
for forming a correct judgment on the subject such as have fallen to the
lot of few, and who can have no bias[2] or prejudice in the matter, has
recently before the Society of Arts, in a paper of singular ability and
fairness, vindicated the policy of the British Government. Mr. Brereton,
for fifteen years resident in Hongkong, has challenged and, on the
authority of his own experience, denied _every_ assertion of the
Anti-opiumists. As to the missionaries, from whom the majority of the
arguments against the trade are drawn, no one doubts their good faith, and
everyone gives them credit for the best of motives; but, for reasons to be
afterwards given, their evidence is likely to be biassed, and in any case
cannot be considered worthy to be set against that of all the other
residents in China.

But what are the enormities of which England has been guilty? Here is the
indictment, stated with all the energy of conviction: That England, and
England only, is responsible for the introduction into China of a highly
deleterious, if not wholly poisonous, drug, for which, till India took
upon herself to supply it, there was in China no demand whatever; that she
is responsible, further, for forcing this opium _vi et armis_ upon the
Chinese, contrary to all obligations of international morality, and in
the face of the sincere and determined opposition of the Chinese people;
that, in fine, Christian England, with a single eye to gain, is wilfully
and deliberately compassing the ruin of heathen China. Such is the
indictment brought against England by her own sons; and the tribunal which
they would arraign her before is the public opinion of their own
countrymen and of Europe.

The original habitat of the poppy plant, which is now extensively
cultivated in Asia Minor, Persia, Egypt, India, China, and even in Africa,
was probably Central Asia. It must have made its way very early into
India, as it is mentioned in the _Laws of Manu_. But it was not till the
tenth century that the Hindoos learnt from the Mohammedans the narcotic
qualities of the plant.

In China there can be no doubt that opium has been known from the
_earliest_[3] times; even if the poppy be not indigenous to that country,
as we might be led to suppose from its mention in a Chinese[4] herbal
compiled more than two centuries ago. In the _General History of South
Yünnan_, published in 1736, opium is noted as a common product of
Yung-chang-foo; and it is remarked by Mr. Hobson, Commissioner of Customs
at Hankow,[5] that, "if 134 years ago so much opium was produced as to
deserve notice in such a work, the production could have been no novelty
to the Chinese population at the beginning of the present century, when we
began to import it in small quantities." Moreover, it is well known that
the seeds of the poppy have been used from time immemorial in the
preparation of cakes and confections. Two Court officials were even
appointed specially to superintend the making of these for the Emperors'
use.[6] Dr. Edkins, in a recent pamphlet on the subject of opium-smoking
in China, quotes an edict against the habit published as early as A.D.
1728, and consequently some forty years before the British took any part
in the trade. Dr. Wells Williams is of opinion that opium may have been
introduced into China from Assam, where it has been used time out of mind.
However that may be, the Chinese may be credited with having improved upon
their use of it by smoking instead of swallowing it; though this, too, is
attributed to the Assamese by Don Sinibaldo de Mas, Spanish Consul in

It may, then, be taken for granted that opium-smoking was known to the
Chinese long before European nations took to importing opium into China.
But at the same time no one will deny that the habit has become enormously
more prevalent than it used to be.

The foreign trade in opium is of comparatively recent growth. The
Portuguese were the first European nation to import it into China. For
some years previous to 1767 they imported from Goa some 200 chests of
Turkey opium to Macao. This they would scarcely have done had there been
no demand for the drug. It was not till 1773 that the East India Company
appeared upon the scene as exporters of opium in very small quantities.
In that year the Company assumed the monopoly of the opium culture in
India, and, according to the existing Mongol practice, farmed it out for
an annual payment in advance. In 1781 a cargo of 1,600 chests was found
unsaleable, and re-exported. By 1790, however, the importation into China
amounted to 4,054 chests yearly, at which number it remained nearly
stationary for thirty years. It was in 1793 first that the ships engaged
in the traffic began to be molested, chiefly by pirates, but partly also
through the hostility of the Chinese officials. One ship was then sent to
Whampoa, an island twelve miles from Canton, where she lay for fifteen
months entirely unmolested.

In 1796, however, the first year of Keaking's reign, the importation of
opium was prohibited by the Government at Pekin, under heavy penalties,
for the alleged reason "that it wasted the time and property of the people
of the Inner Land, leading them to exchange their silver and commodities
for the vile dirt of the foreigner."

Up to this time, though opium was being imported for the space of more
than forty years, not a word had been said against it, and now, when
exception _was_ taken to it, it was on the ground of the worthless, not
the poisonous, nature of the drug, for which so much sycee silver was
bartered. This law, like sumptuary laws in general, proved wholly
inoperative as far as the Chinese were concerned. The East India Company,
however, did so far regard it as to forbid their own ships from engaging
in the trade, and their mandate was obeyed. Nevertheless, the trade went
on in private ships, and from Whampoa, the headquarters of the trade, the
smuggling (if what went on under the very eyes of the custom-house
officials can be called smuggling) continued uninterruptedly along the
coast, being carried on openly and in the light of day. For though the
Government might fulminate against it from Pekin, the officials on the
spot, by their undisguised connivance,[8] caused the trade to be
established on something like a regular footing. Under which conditions
the trade continued for the next twenty years or so with little

In 1816 the Bengal drug first began to suffer from competition with Malwa
and Turkey opium, the latter brought from Madeira in American as well as
British ships. In 1821 the exportation of Bengal opium had sunk to 2,320
chests, when the Chinese commenced vigorous proceedings against smugglers,
and drove the contraband trade to Lintin, an island forty miles from
Canton.[9] This seems to have given a fresh impetus to the trade, for the
export rose at once to 6,428 chests, and by 1831 to more than 20,000: at
which number it remained till Lin's raid in 1839, when 20,291 chests were
delivered up and destroyed in the Canton waters.

This violent action of Lin was the outcome of the ascendancy[10] of the
Protective party in China; for there can be no doubt that even in
Conservative China there was at this time a reform party, headed by the
young and accomplished Empress, who advocated enlarged intercourse with
foreign states, and, as a step towards this, a less protective policy in
trade, including a legalization of the importation of opium. A memorial
was even drawn up and presented to the Emperor by Heu Naetze,
Vice-President of the Sacrificial Board, in 1829, advocating the
legalization of opium. But even the influence of the Empress could not
prevail against the prejudices of the Court, and the memorials of Choo
Tsun[11] and Heu Kew, who, like Cleon of old, argued for the dignity of
the Empire and the danger of instability in maintaining the laws, carried
the day. It is not quite clear what grounds of objection to the traffic
were held by the Chinese Government, but the _moral_ ground, now made so
much of, was certainly not one. Between 1836 and 1839 several Imperial
edicts were published prohibiting the importation of opium, in which
"there is little if any reference to the evils of opium, but very clear
language as to the export of bullion."[12] This drain of silver was no
doubt the great reason for the Chinese hostility to the traffic. As late
as 1829 the balance of trade had been in favour of China, and silver had
accumulated; but this state of things had now been reversed, and the
increased export of silver--for opium was a very expensive article and had
to be paid for clandestinely in hard silver--had begun to cause a great
depreciation of cash,[13] the only copper coin of the realm, and to
occasion serious alarm at Pekin. Accordingly the Emperor, in pursuance of
several memorials on the subject, forbad the export of sycee, at the same
time that he took more energetic measures to put a stop to the traffic
which was chiefly responsible for this loss of bullion. In 1836 opium
ships were prohibited from entering the inner waters of Kunsing-moon,
while all foreign ships were detained at Lintin; and the local revenue
officers began to show more vigilance in putting down smuggling. In the
following year an edict was published prohibiting the continuance of
receiving ships in the outer waters, to which Captain Elliott, our
Superintendent of Trade, paid little attention, seeing that the Chinese
themselves openly disregarded it; and it is even stated that the trade was
carried on by four boats under the Viceroy's flag, which paid regular
fees to the custom-house and military stations.[14]

In 1834 the East India Company's monopoly of trade to China came to an
end, and the trade was taken up by Her Majesty's Government, who sent out
a commission with Lord Napier at its head to apprise the Chinese
Government of the change. It had been usual up to this period for all
communications to be addressed to the Viceroy of Canton through the
thirteen "Hong"[15] merchants, in the form of a humble petition. This Lord
Napier naturally refused to do, and the Chinese Viceroy resented what he
considered the insolent presumption of the "outside barbarians." He
declined to receive the Envoy, and ordered a blockade of all the
factories. Lord Napier was forced to surrender at discretion, and was
escorted back to Macao by an insulting guard of Chinese soldiers, where he
died soon after. After this, though the trade was graciously allowed to
proceed in its existing unsatisfactory condition, an open rupture between
the two Governments was clearly only a question of time. It was evident
that the claims of the Chinese to suzerainty over all outside barbarians
could not fail to cause one of two things: either a total cessation of
intercourse between them and other nations, or a war which should bring
them to their senses. Peaceable means to conciliate the Chinese had been
tried more than once and had failed. In 1796 Lord Macartney, and in 1816
Lord Amherst, had been sent on missions to effect a peaceable arrangement
with regard to trade. Both attempts failed in their object, but served to
show the overweening pretensions of the Chinese and their thorough
contempt for foreigners.[16] "In both cases," says Sir Rutherford Alcock,
"the British mission was paraded before the Chinese population, _en route_
from the coast, as tribute-bearers." Lord Amherst was even subjected to
personal indignity and insult for refusing to perform the kotow or
prostration before the Emperor. Meanwhile, as the power of the Empress and
the reform party declined, edicts against opium followed one another in
quick succession, but were completely ineffectual in checking the
corruption and connivance of the Canton officials, until Lin was appointed
Viceroy of Canton, for the avowed purpose of coercing his countrymen and
humiliating the foreigner. It was a congenial task, and accordingly we
find that immediately upon his arrival in February 1839 he executed a
native smuggler opposite the British factories as a menace to his own
people and an insult to the barbarians. Early in the following March he
issued an edict marked with the "vermilion pencil," forbidding, in the
most uncompromising terms, the long-established traffic. With this was
coupled a demand for all the opium in the Canton waters. Captain Elliott,
who had arrived from Macao in the midst of this crisis, at first refused
compliance with this demand, but was starved out, and, like Lord Napier,
compelled to surrender at discretion. Lin's victory was complete, and on
the whole he used it well. All the opium, to the amount of 20,290 chests
was, in the sight of all, sunk in the muddy waters of the estuary. All
foreigners were now graciously permitted to depart in peace. But it was
evident that the matter could not rest here; for Elliott had guaranteed
compensation from the State to those traders who had voluntarily
surrendered their opium (which was otherwise quite beyond Lin's reach) in
order to release from durance vile the European residents whom Lin had
unjustifiably seized. War was now inevitable; but its formal declaration
was preceded by one or two collisions between the Chinese and foreign
ships. One encounter in the Bay of Coalloon led to the total destruction
of a fleet of Chinese junks by the English frigates _Hyacinth_ and
_Volage_. This was the first experience the Chinese had of our shot and
shell, and it should have warned them of what they might have to expect.
But it did not. Lin retaliated by a proclamation, addressed to the Queen
of England, giving out that for the future "principals in the opium
business would be decapitated and accessaries strangled." War followed,
and the Chinese were soon brought to their knees. The terms of peace
signed at Nankin were the cession of Hongkong, the opening of the ports
Canton, Amoy, Foochowfoo, Ningpo, Shanghae, to trade, with consular
officers at each place, and an indemnity of six million dollars as the
value of opium seized in 1839. The old exclusive trading with "Hong"
merchants was abolished, and a fair and regular tariff of import and
export customs and other dues was established at the open ports. In this
tariff opium was not even mentioned.[17] The author of the _Opium Question
Solved_ says: "The negotiators dared not mention it; the Emperor would not
legalize the hated source of all his humiliations." So the same system of
organized smuggling, only carried on now even more openly than before,
went on. This smuggling of opium had been the _immediate_[18] cause of the
late war; and it was evident that a cordial understanding between the two
nations could not be established while this apple of discord remained in
their midst. Yet the English Government was very reluctant even to seem
to force opium upon the Chinese against their will. Lord Palmerston's
instructions to Admiral and Captain Elliott in 1841 on this matter are
very precise. This despatch, indicating as it does our policy in this
question both at that time and subsequently with unmistakable clearness,
may excusably be quoted here.

"In bringing this matter of the trade," he says, "before the Chinese
plenipotentiaries, you will state that the admission of opium is _not_ one
of _demands_ you have been instructed to make upon the Chinese Government,
and you will not enter upon it in such a way as to lead the Chinese
plenipotentiaries to think that it is the intention of Her Majesty's
Government to use any compulsion in regard to this matter. But you will
point out that it is scarcely possible that a permanent good understanding
can be maintained between the two Governments if the opium trade be
allowed to remain upon its present footing. It is evident that no
exertions of the Chinese authorities can put down the trade on the Chinese
coast. It is equally clear that it is wholly out of the power of the
British Government to prevent opium from being carried to China. It would
seem, therefore, that much additional stability would be given to the
friendly relations between the two countries if the Government of China
would make up its mind to legalize the importation of opium upon payment
of a duty sufficiently moderate to take away from the smuggler the
temptation to introduce the commodity without payment of duty. By this
means also it is evident that a considerable increase of revenue might be
obtained by the Chinese Government, because the sums which are now paid as
bribes to the Custom-house officers, would enter the public coffers in the
shape of duty."

In accordance with these instructions, Sir H. Pottinger used every
argument to persuade the Chinese Commissioners to have the trade
legalized. They, while admitting that the suppression of the trade
depended upon the Government of China being able to stop the use of the
drug, said that they could not yet approach the throne on the subject; but
that the Custom-house officers "would not trouble to inquire whether our
ships brought opium or not." They even went so far as to say[19] that "on
the subject of opium the British and Chinese Governments should adopt
their own rules with reference to their own subjects." Sir H. Pottinger
intimated his readiness to prohibit our ships from carrying opium into the
inner waters of the empire, but the Chinese, he added, must enforce the
prohibition. But this was the difficulty; for what could be expected from
our measures while the imperial servants winked at the breach of the
imperial edicts. The Commissioner, Keying, then suggested that the Emperor
might consent to the legalization of the traffic if a large revenue[20]
were _guaranteed_ to him. The answer of the British Commissioner was that
the British Government did not wish to foster or encourage the trade, but
to place it on a less objectionable footing; and, therefore, that Keying's
proposal could not be considered. In commenting on these negotiations, Sir
H. Pottinger said that the principal _public_ reason (bribery and
corruption being the private ones) why the truth was disguised, or said to
be disguised, from the Emperor, was the inability of the Chinese to
prevent opium from entering the rivers and harbours of the empire, or from
being consumed by their subjects. The Chinese Commissioner tried to throw
the blame on the British Government, asserting that _they_ should enforce
the prohibition and prevent their subjects from engaging in the trade, a
position tenable on no principle of international obligations.[21] The
Chinese, then, were unable to stop the traffic and unwilling to legalize
it. The mandarins were driven to all kinds of desperate shifts to cloak
their imbecility; and Sir H. Pottinger, in one of his last despatches,
says: "The mandarins openly give out that they dare not stop the traffic,
else it would lead to the cultivation of the poppy in China to so great an
extent as to cause a scarcity of food, if not a famine." A truly
surprising reason!

However, the arguments of successive British Commissioners seem to have
gradually had their effect, and there were not wanting signs that the
Chinese authorities were coming round. They were beginning to see that the
only way to arrest the hæmorrhage of silver, so alarming to them, which in
fifty-four years had amounted to 12,000 tons, was to legalize the traffic
in opium, so that the drug might be exchanged for other commodities,
instead of, as now, being paid for clandestinely in sterling silver. As a
proof that the Chinese were not now in earnest against the traffic, it may
be mentioned that not a single proclamation was issued against it since
the negotiations between Keying and the English Envoy began. Moreover, as
Sir J. Davis wrote to the Earl of Aberdeen, the Chinese did not wish to
abolish the traffic, as the impoverished state of the finances of the
country did not admit of the servants of the Government being adequately
paid in a legitimate manner. So recognized, indeed, had the traffic
become, that legal duties even were often paid in opium.[22] But that the
smuggling and piracy caused by opium being technically a contraband
article were a "womb of evil," was evident to the Chinese themselves, and
also that they might any moment be made the excuse for a raid against the
foreign community (and there was even a report that Seu, the Imperial
Commissioner, was contemplating this), which could only result in a fresh
war. So we find that, in spite of their protestations to the contrary, the
Chinese Commissioners did refer the matter to the Emperor several times,
and on one occasion a decree legalizing the importation was drawn up by
his ministers for the Emperor's approval. When, however, the imperial
pleasure was finally taken, Taou Kwang forbad any further reference to the
proposal, saying that he could not "change face." So the matter rested for
the present. But the advice pressed upon the Emperor that he should
legalize the trade did not come from the British Envoys only; for in the
_Pekin Gazette_ for January 4th, 1853, there appeared a memorial from a
Censor, Wootingpoo, who, while admitting that the complete abolition of
opium, if that were only possible, would be far the best, points out in
forcible terms that as a help to rendering the national advantages fairly
and openly available for all, and to removing differences with the
barbarians, no measure can compare with that of levying a duty on opium.
Alluding to the mine of wealth which lies unworked by China in the opium
trade, he defends the policy of making it contribute to pay the expenses
of the State, on the principle that of two evils it is always well to
choose the least; and he proceeds to enforce his views by showing the
impossibility of preventing indulgence in such tastes, which no doubt,
when excessive, is pernicious. His estimate of the consumption was £66,666
daily; and he suggested a duty of 11 per cent., which should bring in a
revenue of seven million taels[23] a year, whereby the foundations of
England's greatness would be sapped. Further, he adds, the increase of
native growth will eventually drive out the foreign drug. But this
expression of native opinion was disregarded no less than the friendly
counsels of our Envoys, and matters went on in the old underhand way till
the outbreak of the second war.

On October 8th, 1856, the Chinese officials, in a war-boat, boarded the
lorcha _Arrow_ as it lay, flying the English flag, in the Canton river,
for the alleged reason that it had on board a pirate who was "wanted" by
the Chinese authorities. Of the merits of this question it will not be
necessary to speak here. It is enough to say that, in all probability, the
Chinese were strictly within their right; but, however that may be, it is
quite clear that the dispute had nothing whatever to do with opium. Yeh, a
man of similar character with Lin and Seu, was Viceroy of Canton, and he
promised satisfaction, but withheld it. Admiral Seymour accordingly
proceeded to enforce the British claims, and the second war broke out.
Owing to the Indian Mutiny, vigorous proceedings against China were
deferred till 1858; but when hostilities were resumed Canton was soon
captured, and Yeh made prisoner and banished to India, where he shortly

But the trouble was not at an end yet; for as the English and French
ambassadors,[24] with an escorting squadron, were on their way to Pekin to
ratify the treaty which had been drawn up, they were attacked and
repulsed before the Taku forts. This brought about a renewal of the war,
and Pekin was taken October 1860, and the Treaty of Tientsin was ratified.
Five new ports[25] were opened. A British ambassador was to be established
at Pekin and a Chinese ambassador in London. Consuls were to be stationed
at all the open ports. Not a word was mentioned about opium in the treaty
itself, but, in pursuance of Article 26, an agreement was entered into
five months later concerning the tariff regulations, wherein "the Chinese
Government admitted opium as a legal article of import, not under
constraint, but _of their own free will deliberately_."[26] To a similar
effect is the testimony of Mr. Oliphant, another secretary to the mission,
whose evidence on this point will readily be considered conclusive. He
affirms that he informed the Chinese Commissioner "that he had received
instructions from Lord Elgin[27] not to insist on the insertion of the
drug in the tariff, should the Chinese Government wish to omit it." But
the Commissioner _declined to omit it_. An increase of duty was then
proposed, but this was objected to by the Chinese themselves as affording
a temptation to smugglers.

It is clear, then, that no force came into play at all, except it were the
force of circumstances, and opium--like all other articles except
munitions of war and salt, which remained contraband--was admitted under a
fixed tariff. This in the case of opium was fixed at thirty taels per
picul (133-1/3 lbs.), and it was further agreed that opium should only be
sold at the port; that the likin or transit dues should be regulated as
the Chinese Government thought fit. The terms of this tariff were to be
revisable after the lapse of ten years.

Leaving for a moment the question of the foreign import as thus settled,
let us turn to the Chinese policy towards their own native growth. The
exact date of the introduction of the culture of the poppy into China is
unknown; but there can be little doubt that the cultivation has existed
for a considerable period. Edicts and proclamations against the
cultivation, some of them published last century, are sufficient evidence
of this. Mr. Watters, Consul at Ichang on the upper Yangtze, speaks of
opium-smoking as having existed _for centuries_ in Western China, where,
as we know, Indian opium never finds its way. The policy of the Government
with regard to this native growth has all along been of a piece with that
pursued towards the foreign import. While prohibited by the Government it
has been connived at and sanctioned by the local authorities. The reason
of this conflict between the local and imperial authorities is clearly
pointed out in the recent Parliamentary paper on opium, where a statement
of the Consul at Chefoo is quoted to the effect that "the authorities at
Pekin have always been hostile to the cultivation of native opium, on the
ground of its interfering with the revenue derived from the import of the
foreign drug. On the other hand, the local authorities steadily connive at
the growth, both from indolence and from the fact that they find it very
lucrative themselves, the growers being able and willing to pay largely
for the privilege of evading the prohibitions." Under these circumstances
it is not surprising that the sanction of the local officials has in most
cases prevailed over the prohibition of the Imperial Court; and it is
certain that the cultivation had attained considerable proportions by the
middle of the present century, for Wootingpoo, in the memorial quoted
above, speaks of "gangs of smugglers of _native_ opium, numbering hundreds
and even thousands, entering walled cities in the west and setting the
local governments at defiance." He would have had the prohibition against
the native growth withdrawn, as well as that against the foreign import.
He answered the chief objection to the native culture, that it took the
place of food crops, by pointing out that the poppy was grown in the
winter months, and rice in the summer on the same ground. But his
representations were of no effect, and the prohibition continued, and was
even enforced by a fresh edict, at the instigation of Sheu-kueo-feû,[28]
in 1865. How far this edict was effectual it is impossible to say;
certain it is that it was flagrantly set at nought by the highest
officials. Li Hung Chang, who has lately taken a high moral tone in his
correspondence with the Anti-Opium League, actively busied himself in
promoting the cultivation of the poppy in the provinces over which he was
appointed, alleging, in a memorial to the throne, the importance of the
native growth as a source of revenue and as a check on the importation of
foreign opium.[29] A fresh edict prohibiting the cultivation was, however,
published in the _Pekin Gazette_, January 29, 1869, in answer to a fresh
memorial by the Censor Yu Po Chuan; and to this day this prohibition
remains unrepealed but obsolete, like the law against infanticide. The
poppy is now grown in every province of the Chinese Empire, but the
cultivation is far more extensive in the western than the eastern
provinces. The two provinces of Yünnan and Szechuen produce by far the
largest portion of the drug. Two-thirds of the available land of those two
provinces may be said to be under poppy cultivation. The amount of native
opium thus produced may be taken to be at least four times as much as the
whole amount imported, and the native growth is even encouraged by the
duty levied upon it being 50 per cent. less than that levied upon the
foreign drug. Such being the case, it is quite impossible to believe that
the authorities were ever unanimous or really earnest in their wish to
prohibit either the foreign import or the native growth. While the Emperor
denounced the foreign traffic from Pekin, and sent Lin to make an example
of offenders, the Governor of Canton dealt in opium, and the Emperor's own
son was an opium-smoker. Whilst edict followed edict forbidding the growth
of the poppy, the Governor-General of a large province openly fostered the
cultivation, and the poppy plant flaunted itself in red and white over the
half of China. It is useless to assert, as is so often asserted, that the
legalization of the foreign trade tied the hands of the Government with
regard to the home production. The native growth was well established
long before the legalization was effected, and the admission of Indian
opium never affected the western provinces of the Empire. Had the
Government been in earnest they could have suppressed the cultivation,
just as the Taeping rebels did in 1860 in Yünnan.

But to return to the history of the foreign trade. As was mentioned above,
the Chinese Commissioners of their own accord fixed the tariff duty upon
opium at thirty taels. But, though bound, as they were by their own act,
to admit opium at this rate, as soon as it passed into native hands they
had power to tax it as they pleased, and they did not fail to profit by
their power, though this likin tax varied considerably at the different
ports[30] in accordance with the necessities of the provincial
governments. It is difficult to estimate the revenue obtained by China
from the foreign opium trade, but it is probably close upon two millions
sterling. That the Chinese Government were not satisfied with this amount,
compared with the profits gained by India, is quite clear; and we find
accordingly that various efforts were made by them, subsequent to 1869,
to have the tariff agreed upon in the Treaty of Tientsin revised. But it
was not till 1876 that any definite agreement was come to between the two
Governments. In September of that year Sir Thomas Wade, Secretary Li, and
Prince Kung concluded a convention, by which China opened four new
ports[31] and six places of call on the great river, while Sir Thomas Wade
agreed to recommend to his own Government, and through it to all the
Treaty Powers, the limitation of the area, within which imports should be
exempt from likin, to the actual space occupied by the foreign
settlements. As the treaty regulations then stood, imports, except opium,
after paying their regular import duty, were not liable to likin or
transit dues till they reached a certain barrier at some distance inland.
Opium could be taxed as soon as it left the importer's hands. But this
right, which applied to opium only, had been used by the Chinese against
all imports, a clear infraction of treaty which the German Consul, among
others, had protested against. But as some doubt existed as to where the
first inland barrier really stood, Sir Thomas Wade proposed to make the
circuit of the foreign settlement the limit of exemption from duty. But
foreseeing that, if the likin Collectorate were banished from the
port-areas, opium would evade paying the likin tax, he proposed also to
recommend that the likin, as well as the import duty, on opium should be
collected by the foreign Inspectorate, and that for this purpose the opium
should be bonded in a warehouse or receiving hulk till such time as the
importer had paid the import due and the purchaser had paid the likin. He
further proposed as a fair likin tax forty taels per picul (though certain
that the Chinese did not get more than 30) on all Indian opium, that
brought to Hongkong included. Thus the whole duty (import and likin) on
opium would be seventy taels a picul, which would yield 6,117,930 taels,
or a million more than under the old system. But the Chinese Commissioner,
Prince Kung, objected to a uniform duty of forty taels, as too low, and
suggested sixty taels a picul, or an adherence to the different rates
prevailing in different ports. Sir Thomas Wade, though averse to the
higher uniform rate, was willing to consider the other alternative,
provided that he were informed of the exact position of the next inland
Collectorate, and the amount of rates levied. Further, the Chinese
Government must guarantee that no second Collectorate should be
established between the port Collectorate and the first of the present
inland Collectorates. It was agreed by the Chefoo Convention[32] that this
collection of the dues on opium by the foreign customs under these
conditions should be tried for five years at Shanghae.

Neither the Indian nor the English Government have raised any serious
objection to this convention, and the only reason why it is not ratified
yet is that the other Treaty Powers will not join in the Shanghae
agreement, unless China consents to abolish likin on goods other than
opium. Until these other Powers do give in their adhesion, our
arrangements must necessarily be inoperative, as opium will be imported
under the flag of Powers not parties to it. Pending the ratification of
this convention, Sir Thomas Wade offered to give up the concessions
granted by the Chinese, and have the ports recently opened closed again;
but this the Chinese would not agree to. There now seems every reason to
suppose that the difficulties with the other Powers will be got over, and
the Chefoo Convention finally ratified.

Before closing this historical survey, we may record the words of the
Chinese Commissioner in 1881 to Sir Thomas Wade, when the latter suggested
a yearly diminution of the opium sale, that the Chinese _would_ have the
drug, and that any serious attempt to check the trade must originate with
the people themselves. With this sentiment we shall all agree.

It will be necessary now briefly to describe the nature of opium, and its
use among, and effect upon, different races.

As a powerful medicine, then, opium, or its principal ingredient morphia,
has been known in all ages of the world to all civilized nations, and it
may confidently be stated that in the whole range of the Pharmacopoeia
there is no remedy so unique in its effects, and so indispensable to the
efficiency of the healing art as this "much abused drug." As a
febrifuge[33] it is invaluable; and, indeed, till the discovery of
quinine, stood alone in that respect; while it is of incalculable service
in relieving cholera and dysentery[34], and other diseases incidental to a
hot climate. It has also a wonderful power of checking consumption, and
mitigating its more distressing symptoms.[35] Its efficacy in this
respect, though recently denied by Dr. Shearer, is surely beyond all
reasonable doubt.

The three chief alkaloid constituents of opium are morphine, narcotine,
thebaine, of which the first is the principle peculiar to the poppy, and
gives it its stupefying power. The second, narcotine, which in spite of
its name has nothing narcotic in it, is a febrifuge and stimulant like
quinine; the third, thebaine, affects the nervous system, and is credited
by the Chinese with having certain aphrodisiac qualities. Needless to say,
however, it is not as a medicine that the opponents of opium find fault
with its use, but as a luxury that ensnares the appetite, and enfeebles
the mind and body of its hapless votaries. We shall have occasion to show
that in the case of the Chinese at least there is an intimate relation
between its use as a luxury and as a medicine.

There are three ways in which opium may be consumed: it may be eaten in
the shape of pills, drunk as a solution, or smoked as a
highly-concentrated extract. And it may here be remarked at once that
opium smoked is a quite different thing from opium swallowed, so that
arguments proving the pernicious effects of the latter will not of
necessity apply to the former at all; while, on the other hand, arguments
tending to show the harmlessness of opium eaten or drunk will _a fortiori_
prove the innocuousness of opium smoked. The opponents of opium have
disregarded this important distinction. Hence much of their evidence
against opium-smoking is wholly irrelevant. Sir George Birdwood,[36]
relying on the authority of Sir Robert Christison, and on the knowledge
derived from personal experience, asserts that opium-smoking _must_ be
absolutely harmless, as the active principles contained in opium are not
volatizable. Theoretically this may be sound enough, but its practical
effect upon Asiatics at least can scarcely be reconciled with this
supposition. However this may be, opium-smoking is probably not much worse
than tobacco-smoking, and far less injurious than dram-drinking; while
opium smoked, whatever be its effect upon the system, certainly has not
one-tenth part the potency of opium swallowed. And it is obvious that this
must be so, for, when swallowed, all the various constituents of opium
are admitted into, and retained by, the stomach; whereas, when smoked,
only the narcotizing agent, which is volatizable, finds its way into the
system, and that merely momentarily. No doubt opium smoked produces its
effect _sooner_ than opium swallowed, for it is brought at once into
contact with the blood in the lungs, and thus quickly permeates the whole
system. The Chinese are generally credited with being the first people to
smoke the drug, and the practice is almost confined to them now.

Before, however, speaking of the introduction and spread of the habit in
China, we will briefly notice those countries where some form of
opium-consumption is prevalent, and endeavour to point out the general
effects observable therefrom. And we are in a position to form a correct
judgment in this matter, for there is a considerable consumption of opium
in British India, so to speak, under our own eyes. The districts in which
this consumption is most prevalent are Rajpootana, parts of the Punjaub,
Orissa, Assam, and Burmah. In Rajpootana, among the Sikhs, the drinking of
"umal pawnee," a solution of opium, is a common custom extending to women
and even children as well as men. They take their glass of laudanum as we
take our glass of wine. And though this habit is of long standing, and
indulged in by at least 12 per cent. of the inhabitants of the country, no
such wholesale ruin and demoralization has been caused as the declamations
of the anti-opiumists would lead us to expect.[37] Indeed, the Sikhs are
physically the finest race in India,[38] and show as yet no signs of
degeneration. Dr. Moore, for some time Superintendent-General of
Dispensaries in Rajpootana, assures us that he has known individuals who
had consumed opium all their lives, and at forty, fifty, sixty, and even
older, were as hale and hearty as any of their fellows. Opium, then, even
when swallowed, cannot, as it appears, do the Rajpoots much harm. In some
cases it is undoubtedly highly beneficial. "When taken," says Dr.
Moore,[39] "by the camel-feeders in the sandy deserts of Western
Rajpootana, it is used to enable the men, far away from towns or even from
desert villages, to subsist on scanty food, and to bear without injury the
excessive cold of the desert winter night, and the scorching rays of the
desert sun. When used by the impoverished ryot, it occupies the void
resulting from insufficient food or from food deficient in nourishment;
and it not only affords the ill-nourished cultivator, unable to procure or
store liquor, a taste of that exhilaration of spirits which arises from
good wine, but also enables him to undergo his daily fatigue with far less
waste of tissue than would otherwise occur. To the 'kossid,' or
runner,[40] obliged to travel a long distance, it is invaluable." It may
be added that opium _smoking_ is almost entirely unknown in Rajpootana.

Passing on to the Punjaub, it appears from the recent report on the Excise
in that province, that, though a large part of the rural population have a
preference for opium above spirits, a preference derived from custom and
religious prejudice; yet they are compelled to take to the latter, and the
yet more deleterious "bhang,"[41] owing to a growing disinclination among
the cultivators to cultivate opium under such strict Government
supervision as is enforced, combined with a diminution in the amount
imported. This state of things is deplored by the Excise officers, who
recommend an increased importation to meet the demand which undoubtedly
exists. In this province opium is smoked to a considerable extent under
the name of kossúmba.

In Orissa the consumption of the drug is very general, and has much
increased since the famine of 1866. According to Dr. Vincent Richards,[42]
who instituted a statistical inquiry for the purpose of eliciting
trustworthy information, from 8 to 10 per cent. of the adult population
of Balasore take opium, those living in unhealthy localities being much
more addicted to it than others. Moderation is the rule, but even
excessive doses of the drug are taken without any very serious
ill-effects, while its efficacy in cases of fever, elephantiasis, and
rheumatism, is undoubted.

In Assam, as might be expected from the unhealthy and malarious character
of its soil, opium is freely resorted to, and Assam has been singled out
by Dr. Christlieb--one of the most strenuous, and we may add misinformed,
supporters of the anti-opium league--as affording the most striking
evidence of the disastrous use of opium in India. Among other things that
pernicious drug is credited with producing barrenness; a result which, as
Dr. Moore has conclusively shown, is due entirely to the unhealthy nature
of the soil, and may even be counteracted by a moderate use of opium.
Residence in low, swampy districts creates a natural craving for opium, as
the statistics of our own islands will abundantly testify. Throughout the
British islands, the only districts where the consumption of opium can be
said to be at all common are in the fen country of Cambridgeshire,
Lincolnshire, and Norfolk.

Lastly, we come to British Burmah; and here undoubtedly the case against
opium _seems_, at first sight, overwhelming. But those who have only read
what the anti-opiumists have said about it, will have formed a very
one-sided notion of the facts of the case. Till 1870 a comparatively small
quantity of opium was imported into that country, but in the succeeding
decade the amount rose from 15,000 to 46,000 sears.[43] This was
apparently owing to the direct encouragement of the Government. The habit
of _eating_[44] or smoking opium (for--and this is an important
point--both are practised) spread with fearful rapidity even among the
population of the villages, especially among the rising generation. The
physical and mental deterioration in those who contracted the evil habit,
and the consequent increase of misery and crime brought about a strong
expression of native feeling against the practice. "To put away the
accursed thing entirely was the only advice that appeared to the native
elders of any value at all."[45] The Government, as a recent writer in the
_Times_[46] says, promptly took advantage of this feeling to close forty
out of the sixty-eight opium shops, and raise the price of opium 30 per
cent., at a loss to the provincial revenues of from. £50,000 to £70,000.
No one will question the wisdom of these measures; but there can be little
doubt that on the one hand the demoralization caused by the spread of the
vice was exaggerated,[47] while on the other the guilt of the Government
is not so flagrantly evident, for there never were more than sixty-eight
shops in 87,000 square miles of country. No one could lawfully possess
more than one ounce of opium outside a licensed shop, and the law, if
broken, was promptly vindicated. "The Government sales, when highest,
were only enough to satisfy 3 per cent. of the adult male population."[48]

We are tempted to ask what was the cause of this sudden increase in the
consumption of opium. Increased facilities for its purchase was
undoubtedly one cause, but Sir Charles Aitchison supplies us with another
important one. "The people,"[49] he says, "are becoming emancipated from
many restrictions of their old creed. The inevitable tendency of the
education we give, and of the new sense of personal liberty which our
Government creates among an Oriental people, is to weaken the sanctions of
religious belief, and break down the restraints of social customs."[50] So
far, and this is all that a perusal of anti-opium publications will tell
us, the contention that opium is wholly pernicious seems fully borne out.
But, as before pointed out, a proof of the injuriousness of opium-_eating_
is no proof that opium-smoking is injurious; and the zealous denouncers of
the drug have omitted to mention all in the Report which tells strongly
against their own case. At the very beginning of the memorandum the
Commissioner says: "The Chinese population in British Burmah, and to some
extent also the immigrants from India, especially Chittagonians and
Bengalese, habitually consume opium without any apparent ill-effects;
those of them who have acquired the habit do not regularly indulge to
excess. With the Burmese and other indigenous races the case is different.
The Burmese seem quite incapable of using the drug in moderation."[51] So
that if there were no other difference between the Chinese and Burmans in
their appetite for opium, there would be this, that the one habitually
smokes in moderation, the other habitually indulges to excess. Further,
one of the arguments brought forward by the Commissioner against the total
closing of all shops, a step clamoured for by the anti-opiumists, not to
mention the obvious difficulty of preventing smuggling, is that "the
_legitimate requirements_ of the 200,000 Chinese and natives of Bengal,
resident in British Burmah, must be considered and provided for. These,
to whom the drug is a _necessary of life_, constitute perhaps the most
thriving and industrious section of the population."[52] It will be seen,
then, that we cannot argue from the effect of opium on the Burmese to its
effect upon the Chinese.

The greater part of the opium consumed in India is supplied from the
Government stores under the name of "abkari," or excise opium.[53] Four
thousand chests are issued yearly for this purpose from the reserve stock
of Bengal opium; but this year it has been decided to allow Malwa opium,
for which the market is at present very slack, to supply this. Besides
this excise opium, which is never sold at a rate low enough to encourage
export, some little opium is imported from the Hill states, and a small
quantity is grown in Rajpootana, the Punjaub, and the Central Provinces,
under strict Government supervision and for local consumption only.

Besides in India opium is eaten in Turkey, where its virtues are so much
appreciated that the legend stamped on the opium lozenges is
"Mash-Allah," the "Gift of God"; and the habit is prevalent in Persia
also. Among the Malays and Siamese, and in Java and Sumatra and the
neighbouring islands, it is mostly smoked; and, of course, the Chinese
carry the habit with them wherever they go. Even America has caught the
infection, and the rapid progress of the habit, especially among the lower
orders, called forth vigorous coercive measures. It may be that these will
have the desired effect; but that will only be because the Americans have
no natural craving for the drug, and prefer their national taste for gin
and whiskey and rum. Some of the more violent opio-phobists, pointing to
the spread of this "horrid and infectious vice" among the Americans, hint
in almost triumphant tones that the secret use of opium in England is
already considerable, and still increasing, as though it were a Nemesis,
too long delayed, for her crimes.[54] If we may believe De Quincey,[55]
opium-eating was by no means an uncommon thing among the upper classes,
even in his day; and Dickens, in his description of an opium-den in
_Edwin Drood_, draws no doubt upon his stores of personal knowledge
acquired in his youthful rambles among the streets of London. However, we
cannot think there is any real danger of the English people deliberately
taking to opium. Tobacco answers every purpose. But it is an undoubted
fact that the mortality among children in large towns like Bradford and
Manchester is due, in a great measure, to their being unwittingly dosed
with opium, which enters largely into the composition of soothing syrups,
cordials, and elixirs of all kinds.[56] It has been estimated that 300,000
lbs. of opium are imported annually into the United Kingdom, only a part
of which can be used medicinally.[57]

Before speaking more particularly of the political agitation against our
policy with regard to opium, it will be necessary to state shortly what
that policy has been in the case of India. The opium from which India
derives her revenue is of two kinds, called respectively Bengal and Malwa
opium. The former is that grown by the Government agencies at Patna and
Benares; the latter, that grown by the native states of Scindia and
Holkar, which has to pay a heavy duty in passing through our territory.
With regard to the Government monopoly of Bengal opium, our policy has
been very vacillating in past time; and mainly to this cause may be
ascribed the fluctuations in the revenue derived from this source. The
opium revenue amounted in 1838 to £1,586,445 net, which by 1857 had risen
to £5,918,375. In 1871 the large total of £7,657,213 was reached, and this
has been still further increased in the last decade to eight and a half
millions. The constancy of increase noticeable in the revenue for the last
few years has been due in great measure to the adoption of a plan proposed
by Sir Cecil Beadon in 1867 that a reserve stock of opium should be formed
from the abundance of fruitful years to supply the deficiencies of lean
ones; so that a certain fixed amount of the drug might be brought into the
market every year. This reserve stock, which amounted in 1878 to 48,500
chests, by constant demands upon it has diminished to 12,000 chests. The
amount sold yearly has, in consequence, been lowered from 56,400 to
53,700 chests, and a further reduction to 50,000 chests is
contemplated.[58] The revenue, therefore, is not likely to be in excess of
the amount received 1881-2, which was eight and a half millions (net), of
which three and a half millions are due to the export duty on Malwa, the
other five millions to the direct profit on the Bengal drug.

The amount of land at present under opium cultivation in British India is
about 500,000 acres,[59] and this amount does not admit of any
considerable extension.

It was in 1826 first that the East India Company made an agreement with
Holkar and other native chiefs that the former should have the exclusive
right to purchase all opium grown in the table-land of Malwa.[60] But, in
spite of this agreement, opium grown in these estates found its way to the
Portuguese ports of Damaum and Diu on the Persian Gulf, for export to
China. Consequently, after an unsuccessful attempt to limit the
production in the native states, which almost occasioned a civil war, the
existing system was abandoned, and a tax upon opium exported through
Bombay substituted.

The number of chests annually exported out of India is about 45,000, which
gives the Indian Government a revenue of £3,150,000; whereas a similar
amount of Bengal would bring in five and a half millions sterling. It is
difficult to estimate the exact revenue that accrues to the native princes
from the culture of the poppy, but in any case it must form a main portion
of their whole income, amounting in some cases to as much as half, in
spite of the enormous duty we can lay upon its export. The cultivation is
very popular in the native states, and the people, we may be sure, have no
scruple in supplying China or any other nation that will buy their
produce. "No rajah," says Dr. Christlieb, "under a purely native system,
would administer the opium revenue as we do; the Brahmins would soon
starve him out." What this remark precisely means, it is difficult,
perhaps impossible, to discover; but the general meaning desired to be
conveyed, no doubt, is that a native ruler would not be allowed to engage
in so iniquitous a traffic by the superior sense of justice and morality
inherent in his Brahmin councillors. Credat Judæus! Whether it would be
possible[61] or in accordance with justice, or consistent with the policy
hitherto pursued towards the native states, to prevent opium from being
grown by the native princes (if so be that the doctrines of the anti-opium
league find favour in the sight of Englishmen), is a question which will
be more fully dealt with when we come to discuss the remedial measures
proposed by the denouncers of our opium policy. We only know that our last
attempt at interference in this matter well-nigh caused a civil war.

Allowing, then, for all deductions on the score of "abkari" opium, and for
a certain amount which the French colony of Chandernagore have a right to
purchase at existing rates, we may say that about 95,000 chests of
provision opium are exported from India every year: 45,000 chests of Malwa
from Bombay, and 50,000 of Bengal opium from Calcutta. But it is a
mistake to suppose that all this goes directly to China proper. About
1,000 chests a month, or more than one-fifth part of the whole annual
amount sold at Calcutta, goes to supply the needs of the Chinese in the
Straits Settlements and thereabouts, in Cochin China and Cambogia, and of
the Siamese and Malays. Moreover, a considerable quantity is deflected at
Hongkong for the use of the Chinese in California[62] and in the
Philippine, Fiji, and other islands. The exact amount so deflected it is
impossible to estimate;[63] but we may feel pretty sure that not much more
than 80,000 chests of Indian opium are sold in China itself. The Bengal
opium finds a better sale than the Malwa, partly from its inherent
superiority and partly from the Government guarantee being affixed. Its
price is very high, being 460 taels per picul or chest,[64] while native
opium is only 350 taels, including transit dues.

The use of Indian opium is consequently restricted to the richer classes,
and the poorer classes have to put up with the native drug. At present
there is little fear that the native drug will drive out Indian opium, as
there seems to be some peculiarity of soil or preparation which makes
Bengal opium superior to all other kinds.

The present import tariff paid by Indian opium varies at the different
ports, but is about thirty taels in most; and this brings in to the
Chinese Government (including likin or transit dues),[65] about £2,000,000
a year. This they seek to increase by being allowed to levy a higher duty
on the imported article than they themselves suggested after the Treaty of
Tientsin. The negotiations on this subject have been already described, so
we need not dwell upon them here. The English Government are naturally
unwilling to agree to any large increase of duty, such as would afford a
temptation to smugglers and restore the former unsatisfactory condition of
things, while in all probability just as much Indian opium would find its
way into China, the duty being at the same time evaded. But it is a
mistake to say that the Chinese are powerless to tax opium, for they can
place any transit duty they please upon it as soon as it has left the
importer's hands, and they have not failed to avail themselves of this
privilege, thereby causing in their own borders much successful smuggling.
If the Chinese were allowed to double the import duty on Indian opium as
they proposed to Sir Thomas Wade, and if they were able, as they formerly
were distinctly unable, to prevent smuggling, our profits on the drug
would no doubt be diminished in proportion to the increase of duty, and
this rivalry would presumably lead to a compromise. But apart from this
contingency there are two ways in which the opium revenue might be lost
to India. On the one hand, by natural competition with other kinds of
opium the Indian drug might be driven from the field. This, for many
reasons, is unlikely. On the other hand, the political agitation against
the trade, if successful, would have the effect of putting a sudden and
complete stop to the traffic; and it behoves us to consider, in a calm and
dispassionate manner, how far such a consummation is desirable, and, if
desirable, how far it is practicable.

First, how far is it desirable? And here let us premise, with Major (now
Sir Evelyn) Baring,[66] "that facts cannot be altered or their
significance attenuated by any enunciation of abstract principles."
Violent denunciations from platform and pulpit, combined with a persistent
ignoring of the exigencies of the case, as though they were irrelevant
matters, are not likely to commend themselves to those responsible
ministers, either in England or India, who have to face the financial and
political problems connected inseparably with any attempt to abolish the
opium trade. It is really no answer to the financial difficulty to say, as
the Lord Mayor[67] said at a meeting held at the Mansion House, "that the
financial difficulty would be got over if the Government would only deal
with the question and do what is right." Nor is it easy to believe that
the English taxpayers will come forward with five millions a year as
compensation to India. Those who seem to advocate this step do not fail
to remind us of the £20,000,000 spent for the emancipation of slaves as a
"glorious precedent." But the difference between the two cases need not be
pointed out: they must be obvious to all. What the exact remedies proposed
by the opponents of the traffic are, it is difficult to define; for,
united as is their condemnation of the present policy with regard to the
trade, they are by no means as unanimous in suggesting a policy of their

The various objections to the trade were first formulated in Lord
Shaftesbury's memorial to Lord Clarendon in 1855. The challenge thus
thrown down was at once taken up by Sir John Bowring, our Superintendent
of Trade in China, who, as might be expected, knew somewhat more about the
matter than the enthusiastic memorialists at home. He may be taken to have
disproved all the most important allegations contained in that document,
namely, that the trade was exclusively British; that the annual death-rate
from opium rose to the "appalling" figure of more than a million; that the
Chinese were really in earnest about prohibiting the traffic. Some of
these points have been abandoned; others are considered irrelevant to the
question really at issue, which is held to be whether any interference
with the fiscal policy of a foreign state be in itself justifiable--
whether, that is, we are warranted in keeping China to her
treaty-obligations to admit opium at a certain rate. It is quite natural
that they should wish to confine the discussion to this their strongest
point, but we are not disposed to allow that this is the real or only
point at issue; and we will therefore take the main charges levelled
against the opium trade separately, and endeavour to do them full justice.

These are: 1st. Opium is a poison, and _therefore_ opium-smoking as
practised by the Chinese is poisoning the people. 2nd. We are responsible
for the introduction of this habit into China. "We have held the poisoned
chalice," an eloquent Bishop has said, "to the lips of the Chinese and
forced them to drink it." 3rd. We have even forced it upon them, and are
still forcing it. 4th. We hold a monopoly in the manufacture of opium, but
a monopoly is always economically wrong, and the monopoly of a poison is
morally indefensible. 5. This traffic is an insurmountable barrier to the
labours of our missionaries. Let us take them in this order.

1. It is stated that opium in any form is a poison pure and simple, and
has been declared to be so by Act of Parliament: that, moreover, its
pleasures are so seductive that the habit of taking it, once established,
can never be forgone, so that the moderate smoker glides almost
imperceptibly, but no less certainly, into the excessive smoker: that this
immoderate indulgence impoverishes the fortunes, mars the morality, and
ruins the health of the victim himself, and plants the seeds of disease
and vice in his children. This count in the indictment will not be quite
complete unless we add, on the authority of the missionaries, that
opium-smoking is all but universal, and the annual mortality due to it one
million at least. As to the latter estimate, we may say with the late Dr.
Medhurst, himself a zealous and enlightened medical missionary, that it
"has not even the semblance of truth, but is an outrageous exaggeration."
What the exact number of deaths from this cause may be is by no means so
easy to discover;[68] for, apart from the fact that there is no register
of deaths to appeal to, it would be impossible to decide how many even of
the deaths caused by opium could be attributed to the habit of smoking
opium as a luxury, for many of them, as has been pointed out, might be due
to suicide,[69] for self-destruction by opium[70] seems as common a
practice with the Chinese as suicide by drowning is with us. But there is
another and more fertile element of error; for many, and probably the vast
majority of cases so pathetically described by missionaries, of
victims[71] to the vice in hospitals and dying by the roadside, are cases
of men afflicted with some painful or incurable disorder who have taken to
opium-smoking, as De Quincey did to opium-eating, as a relief and a
solace. To such, indeed, it is a priceless boon, and it may well be
doubted whether it is not oftener the means of prolonging life than of
shortening it.[72] Much has been made of the evidence of T. T. Cooper
before the Parliamentary Commission in 1871, where he says that he
frequently saw men dying by the roadside, _simply from want of opium_. Yet
it is difficult to see how he ascertained the cause of death in each case.
He seems rather to have jumped at a conclusion, as he certainly did in
another part of his evidence, where he gravely affirms that, in his
opinion, were the opium supply to be suddenly cut off, _one-third_ of the
adult population of China would die! Why, to begin with, one-third of the
adult population do not even now, after the lapse of ten years, in which
the spread of the habit has been unchecked, smoke opium; no, nor any
number approaching it. Secondly, it has been proved in the case of
prisoners, whose supply of opium is always stopped when they enter the
jail,[73] that a sudden deprivation of the drug does not cause death.
Again, opium is held accountable for pauperism, dishonesty, crime, and
depravity of all sorts. That indulgence of any kind is a sign of moral
weakness, and likely further to deprave the moral nature, is undeniable,
but (and here we have Dr. Myers with us) "though excessive opium may
hasten the effects of a general moral depravity, we are inclined to think
that it is much more often rather a sequence than a cause." "In China,"
says Mr. Lay, "the spendthrift, the man of lewd habits, the drunkard, and
a large assortment of bad characters slide into the opium-smoker: hence
the drug seems chargeable with all the vices of the country." There will
be no need to point out that opium is not the cause of all the pauperism
and vice that exists among the Chinese people; for a vast amount of
pauperism is common to all Eastern races, and dishonesty, untruthfulness,
cruelty, and vice of the most revolting kind, were characteristic of the
Chinese long before opium was so common as it now is.

What, then, are the effects of opium-smoking on the Chinese individually
and as a nation? Had they been anything like what the anti-opiumists
assert they must be, surely the effect would be visible after all these
years in an increased death-rate or a decreased birth-rate. Needless to
say, no such aggregate result is observable. Where opium is most smoked,
there the population is most thriving and industrious,[74] and increases
the fastest. "No China resident," says Dr. Ayres, colonial surgeon at
Hongkong, "believes in the terrible frequency of the dull, sodden-witted,
debilitated opium-smoker, met with in print." Mr. Gregory, H.M.'s Consul
at Swatow, says: "I have _never_ seen a single case of opium intoxication,
although living with and travelling for months and hundreds of miles with
opium-smokers."[75] Dr. Myers, after ten years' medical practice in
different parts of China, confesses that his "preconceived prejudices with
reference to the universally baneful effects of the drug had been severely
shaken." Again, it was estimated by the colonial surgeon at Hongkong, in
1855, that there were more deaths from drunkenness in Hongkong among the
600 Europeans than from opium among the 60,000 Chinamen. Similar testimony
is borne by a recent medical report of the Straits Settlements,[76]
wherein, under the head "poisons," it appears that there were from
alcoholic poisoning thirty-nine deaths, of which twenty-six were
Europeans, three Chinese, one Malay, nine Indians; while from opium only
five in all--a result all the more significant as there are at least
300,000 Chinese in the Straits Settlements,[77] and only about 4,000
Europeans, including the military. Dr. Hobson, another medical missionary,
and as such entirely averse to the trade, says: "Opium-smoking is not
nearly so fatal to life as spirit-drinking is with us; its use is even
compatible with longevity." It is very common to hear Chinese acknowledge
that they have smoked opium for ten, twenty, or thirty years. Dr. Hobson
mentions one case in which the smoker began at nineteen, and smoked for
fifty-one years.[78] Further evidence is surely unnecessary to prove that
opium-smoking is not necessarily, nor even commonly, destructive of life.
Even opium-eating, _a far worse vice_, for it "sets up an incessant and
cumulative craving, so that a rapid increase of dose is necessary"--not
even opium-eating is inevitably fatal, as the case of the Rajpoots proves.
De Quincey, as is well known, took 8,000 drops of laudanum a day for some
time, which is equivalent to thirty-two grains, and two grains of opium
swallowed are equal in effects to fifty-eight grains (one mace) smoked,
three mace being a smoker's usual allowance.[79]

Though we cannot state for certain the number of deaths from opium, we can
form a rough estimate of the number of smokers supplied by the Indian
drug; and this has been done by Mr. Hart, Inspector-General of Chinese
Customs. But his figures need some modification, inasmuch as he puts the
number of chests imported at 100,000, whereas the number, for reasons
given above, certainly does not exceed 85,000 all told. Moreover, he
reckons the population of China at 300,000,000--surely a low estimate. We
may safely assume it to be 350,000,000. Again, in his estimate of the
native drug he errs on the other side, for the amount of the native drug
produced is probably much more than 100,000 chests, and may be even four
times as much.[80] Mr. Hart's figures, then, thus amended, give the
following results:--Indian opium imported to China amounts to 85,000[81]
chests at most = 8,500,000 catties (1-1/3 lb.). Provision opium, when
boiled down and converted into prepared opium, loses at least 30 per cent.
of its weight; consequently 8,500,000 catties of provision opium are
equivalent to 5,950,000 catties of prepared drug, which = 952,000,000 mace
(58 grains). This is sold at 800 taels per 100 catties, so that the whole
quantity imported costs 47,600,000 taels, or £14,280,000, the price per
mace being a little more than 3-1/2d. English. Average smokers take three
mace of prepared opium a day, and spend 11d. Dividing the number of mace
smoked by the days in the year, we get 2,608,219 mace as the amount smoked
daily, at the cost of £39,123. As the average smoker takes three mace a
day, there must be 869,406 smokers of the Indian drug, _i.e._ one person
in every 400, or 1/4 per cent. The smokers of the native drug may be
taken--a large estimate--to be four times as numerous. Still the two
together will only form 1-1/4 per cent. of the population. The native drug
costs only half as much as the Indian, so that the whole native crop,
being four times as much, will only cost twice as much, or £28,560,000.
The whole amount, then, spent by China on native and Indian opium will be
£42,840,000 a year, and the number of smokers 4,347,000, of whom India is
responsible for 870,000.[82] Not that we are to suppose these 4-1/3
millions of smokers to be all indulgers to excess. That is no more the
case than that all who drink wine and spirits in this country are habitual
drunkards. There is, indeed, in the case of each individual a well-defined
limit, of which he knows that so far he can go with safety, and no
further. This curious fact we owe to Dr. Myers,[83] who also gives it as
his experience that opium-smokers may be divided into two classes:[84]
"1st. The minority, who, from being rich, can afford to gratify their
tastes. Of these the official class are less prone to excess than those
well-to-do persons who suffer from idleness and ennui. 2nd. The majority,
consisting of persons who have to work hard for their livings, among whom
moderation is the rule." For, that opium does not destroy a capacity for
hard physical[85] and intellectual[86] work, nay, even enhances it, has
been abundantly proved, and that not only when taken on emergencies, but
also when habitually indulged in.

In a recent letter to the _Times_[87] from a correspondent at the Straits
Settlements, some interesting facts are recorded with regard to the use of
opium there. The Chinese population of the Straits Settlements and the
neighbourhood cannot be much more than one million souls. About 12,000
chests of Bengal opium are imported yearly, being more than one-seventh of
the total amount of Indian opium exported. It appears, then, that the
Chinese of the Straits Settlements, who are the finest specimens[88] of
their race in existence, consume one-seventh part of the opium consumed by
175,000,000 Chinese, the other 175,000,000 being held to consume the
native drug. Or, if the Straits scale of consumption prevails in China,
then the quantity of opium imported is only enough to reach one-fiftieth
part of the Chinese population, leaving the remaining forty-nine fiftieths
to consume the home-grown article. The correspondent goes on to say:
"According to the descriptions circulated by the Anti-Opium Society of
decimation, emaciation, &c., the Straits Chinamen ought to be all dead
men. But they live to disprove the anti-opium theory. Nay more, they are
robust, energetic, and hearty beyond all other Eastern races."

It has, we think, been sufficiently proved that, though opium is strictly
a poison, and if you take too much of it you must probably, as De Quincey
says, "do what is particularly disagreeable to any man of regular habits,
viz. die," yet taken in moderation it is, for the most part, harmless, if
not beneficial.

We will now advert to the second charge, and endeavour to point out that
we are not responsible for the introduction of opium into China, either as
having first brought it to the notice of the Chinese, or as having planted
in them a craving for it, which is really due partly to climatic causes,
partly to constitutional characteristics.

From the history of the traffic given above, it will abundantly appear
that the poppy was known and cultivated in China--to what extent it is
impossible to define, but certainly to some extent--_long_ before any
foreign opium found its way into the empire. But even if this were not so,
the English would not be responsible for the first importation of foreign
opium, since the Portuguese preceded them by some years. Not that the
Portuguese or any other nation can be said to have created a craving for
the drug among the Chinese by the mere fact of supplying it, as Mr.
Storrs Turner insists, for such a view of the conditions of supply and
demand is, we take it, untenable. We may be sure that in those early days,
before the haughty Celestial had felt the power of the outside barbarians,
whom he thoroughly despised and consistently ill-treated, he would have
laughed to scorn the idea that a few foreign traders could force upon him
anything he was determined not to have. But the truth is that the Chinese
people, _literati_, gentry and all, did ardently covet this foreign drug;
and there are surely weighty reasons--if we will only condescend to
investigate them--to justify their preference.

Every nation, as has been repeatedly pointed out,[89] whether civilized or
barbarous, in all ages of the world, has been addicted to the use of some
stimulant or narcotic.[90] Of these there are more than fifty kinds in use
in different regions of the globe, ranging from alcohol in Europe, to
"pombe," a fermentation from millet, in Africa, and from bhang or hemp in
India to coca and tobacco in America. Samshoo, a fiery distillation from
rice, is the intoxicant of Japan, and was that of China before opium took
its place.[91] The West Indians extract a strong spirit-rum from
sugar-cane. Even the Kamschatkans draw an intoxicating liquor from
mushrooms; even the Siberians express the juice of the crab-apple for the
same purpose.[92] What but the natural craving of mankind for some
intoxicant or narcotic "to make glad the heart of man" can have brought
about the independent discovery and use of so many stimulants? For what
purpose but to satisfy such a craving can Nature have scattered in such
profusion the materials for its gratification? It has been said, and all
known facts bear out the assertion, that "the craving for such indulgence,
and the habit of gratifying it, are little less universal than the desire
for, and the practice of, consuming the necessary materials of our common
food." Not but that there are gradations in the wholesomeness of these
several stimulants. Perhaps the most purely beneficial is coca, which has,
in some unexplained way, the power of retarding waste of tissue, and at
the same time increasing nerve-power. Next to it in value undoubtedly
comes opium, both because it also, to a great extent, has this effect upon
the tissues and on the nervous system, and also owing to its curative and
sanative powers. Of the three principles of which it consists--morphine,
narcotine, thebaine--the first supplies the intoxicating and
nerve-affecting element; while the second base, the narcotine, is the
tonic and febrifuge which makes the drug so valuable in the treatment of
bowel complaints, and as a safeguard against ague and malaria. This
naturally brings us to the reasons which have made opium-smoking so
prevalent in China. These are, as before stated, partly climatic, partly
constitutional. Taking the former first, we may note that China over
one-third of its surface is a vast ill-drained marsh, and covered to a
large extent with rice-fields, the cultivation of which is productive of
much unhealthiness.[93] To counteract this unhealthiness, nothing is so
efficacious or so handy as opium; for, though quinine is even more useful
as a febrifuge, opium has the additional advantage, peculiar to itself, of
checking blood-spitting and consumption, a disease fatally prevalent in
these unwholesome localities. As a general rule, the unhealthier the
locality is, the more opium is consumed there, not in China only, but in
India (_e.g._ in Orissa and Assam), and in our own fen districts. But
besides being a safeguard against malaria and its attendant ailments,
opium is also a valuable agent in counteracting the effect of the putrid
and unwholesome food which, by its piquancy, pleases the Celestial palate.
But over and above these special reasons, there are general causes which
predispose the Chinese to _some_ lazy habit. Their home life is not one
which affords them many attractions. They have no books, except the
everlasting _Confucius_, and no periodical literature to engage their
thoughts. The domestic life of the Chinese has none of the charms implied
by our word "home"; and it is this blankness, this want of home
attractions, which no doubt causes much of the drunkenness of the poorer
classes here in England. The gin-shop is the poor man's club. Lastly,
opium is specially suited to the lethargic Turanian nature,[94] for while
by the delightful dreamy sensations which it produces it supplies the
place of an imagination which the Chinaman lacks, it does not rob him of
that dignified repose, that impassive acquiescence, which is so marked a
characteristic of the Oriental mind.[95]

And here it will not be amiss to institute a short comparison between the
use of opium by the Chinese and the use of ardent spirits by ourselves.
Those who agitate for a suppression of the opium trade demur to any such
comparison being made; and naturally, for it tells entirely against them.

Dr. Hobson,[96] a member of the London Missionary Society, and for many
years medical officer at Canton, says: "I place alcohol (the bane of Great
Britain) and opium (the bane of China) in the same category, and on the
same level, as to the general injurious influence upon society: what may
be said against the latter may be said with equal truth against the
former.... Opium is probably more seductive and tenacious than alcohol;
and I should certainly affirm that it was not so frequently fatal to life,
nor so fruitful of disease and crime, as is the case with intoxicating
drinks in Great Britain."

Dr. Eatwell says: "Proofs are still wanting to show that the moderate use
of opium produces more pernicious effects than the moderate use of
spirituous liquors; while it is certain that the consequences of the abuse
of the former are less appalling in their effects upon the victims, and
less disastrous to society, than the consequences of the abuse of the

Sir Henry Pottinger says:[97] "I believe that not one-hundredth part of
the evils spring from it that arise in England from the use of spirituous

These witnesses, and they might be indefinitely multiplied, will be enough
to show that there is no intrinsic difference between opium and alcohol
such as to justify exceptional legislation in the case of the one which is
not afforded to the other. What difference there is is wholly to the
advantage of opium. We may go further than Dr. Eatwell, and say that there
_is_ ample evidence to prove that the moderate use of opium--and
nine-tenths of those who smoke it use it in moderation--is _not_ more
injurious than the common use of wine and beer with us. Taken to excess,
its effects, even if the worst accounts of its opponents be literally
accepted, are no whit worse than, if they can be as bad as, the delirium
tremens of the confirmed drunkard. "Physically," says Sirr,[98] "the
effect of opium on the enslaved victim is almost beyond the power of
language to pourtray." "It is impossible," writes another author,
speaking of drink, "to exaggerate--impossible even truthfully to
paint--the effects of this evil, either on those who are addicted to it,
or on those who suffer from it." It would be easy, were it necessary, to
quote descriptions of the visible physical effects of opium and alcohol
upon their victims--so much alike that they could with very little verbal
and no essential alteration be applied to either indifferently. It will be
enough to point out where opium has the decided advantage over alcohol.
One point in which this advantage is manifest will be obvious to all, and
indeed is conceded by the bitterest opponents of the drug. Alcohol makes
men noisy and quarrelsome, and maddens them till they are ready to commit
any crime and perpetrate any outrage; opium lulls its votary into a dreamy
rest quite incompatible with any violent or passionate action. Our gaols
are filled with prisoners who, under the influence of drink, have
committed horrible crimes.[99] Indeed, nine-tenths of all our prisoners
owe their incarceration to their fatal propensity for drink. Everyone is
familiar with the terrible accounts of wives beaten and kicked to death by
husbands infuriated with drink. By far the largest proportion of murders
of any kind are due to the same cause. Convictions for drunkenness and
disorderly conduct number 170,000 every year. Our lunatic asylums owe at
least thirty per cent.[100] of their patients to the "stuff that steals
away men's brains." Nothing so bad as this has been, or can be, said of
opium. But opium has another incalculable advantage over alcohol, for the
disorders which it occasions are _functional_ only, whereas alcohol causes
_organic_ disease--a most important difference surely; for once get the
opium-smoker or eater to forgo his luxury, though the wrench may be severe
at first, he will shortly be restored to _complete_ health. This, we need
not say, is not the case with the confirmed drunkard. He may, indeed, give
up his fatal indulgence; but he has planted the seeds of disease in his
body, and no art can eradicate them. His very blood has assimilated the
"flowing poison," and the heart is no longer the centre of life, but of
death. The dipsomaniac, even if he escape the horrors of a death by
delirium tremens, falls a victim to paralysis or heart disease. Happy
indeed would it be if our drunkards could be converted into opium-smokers,
and the desirability of effecting this has even been pointed out by
medical men.[101]

But there is one point in which alcohol is considered very generally to
have the distinct advantage over opium. The opponents of the latter say
that it is much more seductive in its temptation than alcohol, as well as
more tenacious in its grip; in fact, they roundly assert that while the
use of alcohol _can_ be forgone, even by a confirmed dipsomaniac, opium
grows more and more necessary the longer it is indulged in, and can only
be resigned with life itself. Facts seem to have no force with these
champions of a theory, or we might remind them that the Emperor Taou Kwang
was himself a slave to the habit, but emancipated himself, as many others
have done, among them our own De Quincey, for whom the task was so much
the harder inasmuch as he drank the poison to the extent, for some time,
of 8,000 drops of laudanum a day.[102] A Chinaman, writing to the _Times_
in 1875, says: "I have not yet seen or heard of a case where a confirmed
opium-smoker could not reform himself if he had been compelled to leave
off his vicious habit by necessity or from determined resolution." So much
for the tenacity of the habit; but we are not disposed to admit even that
it is more seductive than alcohol, for have we not Dr. Myers' opinion that
"his experience both in Formosa and in other parts of China would go to
support the statement that the use of opium through the medium of the
pipe does not, at least up to a certain point, irresistibly and inherently
tend to provoke excess, as is very often the case with the stimulants
indulged in by foreigners."

Sufficient evidence has been produced to show that alcohol is productive
of far more evil than opium, inasmuch as the former, though beneficial to
most people when taken in moderation, yet with others acts as a virulent
poison, even in the smallest quantities; while taken in excess its
immediate effect is to make the drunkard like a "beast with lower
pleasures," to bring out, in fact, the lower side of our nature, and to
incite to deeds of violence and crime; and its certain subsequent result
is disease, madness, and death. Opium, however, like alcohol, when taken
in moderation is a comfort and a solace to thousands, and, while soothing
and relieving the body, acts[103] in such a way on the brain as to quicken
the intellectual faculties, and not in the manner of alcohol to deaden
them. The opposite effects of opium and alcohol, the one in
quickening,[104] the other in deadening the faculties, may be gathered
from the fact that the Chinese indulge in the pipe _before_ entering upon
business matters, while we reserve our wine till the matter in hand has
been fully discussed. At the same time it may be admitted that excessive
indulgence in opium impairs the fortune and health, and, like every other
self-indulgence, weakens the moral nature of the victims to its
"bewitching influence." This being so, the unprejudiced observer will ask
with wonder why those who are so indignant about the opium traffic, do not
turn their attention with the same zeal to the suppression of the traffic
in spirits at home. The Chinese Emperor was reported to have said, and
the sentiment has been extolled to the skies by the anti-opiumists: "I
will not consent to derive a revenue from the misery and vice of my
people." The English people, however, are not so fastidious, and our
annual revenue from the duty on spirituous liquors is £27,000,000, and on
tobacco £8,500,000, while our partiality to alcohol costs us £145,000,000.
The Chinese, with a population ten times as great, only spend £42,000,000
on their luxury, opium, and derive a revenue therefrom, in spite of the
Emperor's disclaimer, of more than three millions sterling. India exports
to China about 5,300 tons of crude opium, which together with four times
the amount of native-grown drug gives 2-1/2 oz. (avoird.) to each
individual. We in England, with a population of thirty-three millions,
consume 200,000 tons of alcohol, not to mention more than a billion
gallons of wine and beer.[105] And the annual mortality resulting from
this terrible indulgence in spirituous liquors is 128,000, while the
number of habitual drunkards is 600,000;[106] that is, one in every 260
persons dies from over-indulgence in alcohol! What an appaling fact! we
might say, echoing Lord Shaftesbury's words. Terrible as it is, it has
been accepted by our countrymen as a deplorable necessity which cannot be
altered by any legislative enactments against the importation of alcoholic
drinks from abroad. All, or all except a few visionary enthusiasts, have
come to see that the only way to check this widespread vice is by bringing
the opinion of the people to bear upon it, to drive it out from among the
lower classes as it has been driven out from the upper by the force of
public example and public opinion. It is obvious that the same reasoning
will apply to China[107], and accordingly we find that the drinking of
samshoo, a deletrious extract from rice, was common among the people, and
all prohibitions were powerless to prevent it till the religious influence
of Buddhism was brought to bear upon it and had great success in
diminishing the vice; so that samshoo-drinking is now comparatively rare
in a great part of China, its place being taken by opium, which is allowed
by Buddhist and Mohammedan laws.

But, say the anti-opiumists, if we have not introduced opium into China,
we have certainly forced it upon the Chinese when they showed a sincere
desire to have none of it; first by a system of armed smuggling; secondly,
by open armed intervention in the wars of 1840 and 1857; and thirdly, by
the imperious logic of Lord Elgin and others. Now, as to the armed
smugglers, the answer is easy. They were armed to resist pirates, who
swarm in the bays and creeks so abundant in the Chinese coast-line of
3,500 miles; and by no means, as implied, to fall foul of the Custom House
officials. These were always amenable enough, and a recognized bribe paid
in due time freed all opium vessels from farther molestation in that
quarter. The second assumption, that the wars were opium wars, false as it
is in reality when thus stated, is a most plausible one; for opium was
certainly the _immediate_ cause of the first war. But it was not the real
cause. European ideas of the equality of nations could not be reconciled
with the insolent pretensions of the Chinese with regard to all
foreigners. This, and much more to the same effect, has already been dwelt
upon in the historical survey, and so need not detain us any longer now.
We may, however, add that no mention whatever of opium was made in the
Nankin Treaty, so that the edicts against the drug remained in force,
though they were no more regarded now than before the war. And this was
certainly not because the Chinese were exhausted by the war and afraid of
a fresh conflict with the English. It is doubtful whether the authorities
at Pekin really considered themselves beaten at all, and the reason why
their edicts were disregarded was not that defeat had weakened the hands
of the executive, but, as before, simply the corruption of the officials,
and the imperious desire of the people for the drug. With regard to the
second war, it is absurd to call that an opium war. Opium had nothing to
do with its commencement, renewal, or end; nor was it even alluded to in
the Treaty of Tientsin. It was only some months after the ratification of
that treaty that in arranging the tariff of imports the Chinese
Commissioner himself suggested that opium should pay a fixed tariff and be
admitted as a legal import. No doubt Lord Elgin, and here he was seconded
by the American Minister, as Sir Henry Pottinger and Sir J. Davis before
the war, pointed out to the Chinese how eminently desirable it was that
this "stone of offence" should be removed, but in reality it was the
persuasive logic of facts which induced the Chinese to propose the
legalization of the import. This second war, like the former one, was
undertaken by the English[108] to exact compensation for injury to British
subjects, and to make the Chinese understand that foreign nations were
entitled to, and would exact fair and respectful usage. The French waged
war to avenge the murder of a missionary, M. Chapdelaine, in 1856, so that
we may in strict justice call this a missionary war; and certainly that
part of the Treaty of Tientsin which may be said to have been wrung from
the Chinese most against their wills is that which gives
missionaries--Protestant as well as Roman Catholic--an entrance into any
part of China, and extends to them while there, and to their converts, the
protection of their respective Governments.[109]

So far, then, the evidence as to force breaks down entirely, but it cannot
be denied that in a certain sense the Chinese are coerced in respect of
the tariff on opium. This was fixed in the convention following the Treaty
of Tientsin, with the condition attached that the tariff could be revised
after ten years. And the Chinese have expressed a desire to alter the
tariff by raising the dues on opium. The negotiations between Sir Thomas
Wade and Prince Kung have been given at length above,[110] so it will only
be necessary here to repeat that the Home Government have not seen their
way yet to accept Sir Thomas' proposal;[111] and consequently (and here
lies the one strong plea of the anti-opiumists) as the matter now stands,
the Chinese are prevented from raising the import duty on opium, though
they can alter the likin as much as they please. This may be fully
conceded. What would be the result of allowing China free liberty in this
matter will be discussed hereafter; but we may be allowed to remark here,
that in this hasty denunciation of force applied to China, the eloquent
advocates for the suppression of the opium trade forget that we are guilty
of forcing not only opium and missionaries, but ourselves as a nation, our
commerce, our civilization in their entirety, on an unwilling and
exclusive people. On the abstract justice of such a course we need not
dwell. It is enough to say that it has been pursued by the stronger
towards the weaker in all ages of the world, and no treaty has ever been
imposed upon an Asiatic by an European Power except by force.

The next objection refers to our _monopoly_ of the drug, some finding
fault with it as economically wrong, others as morally indefensible. To
the former, who like Sir Charles Trevelyan and Sir William Muir wish to
substitute a "pass" system for the monopoly, it may be answered, as it has
been answered before and always with success, that monopolies are a part
of the system of Indian Government inherited from their Mohammedan
predecessors; and any argument against the opium monopoly applies with
tenfold force to the salt tax. Moreover, the Indian Government, it must be
remembered, is the great landowner in India, and consequently the only
undertaker of great enterprises, such as irrigation works and railways.
Still it cannot be denied that, technically, the objection is sound
enough, because monopolies tend to restrict labour and capital, and entail
considerable cost in the production of the article monopolized. But it
must not be forgotten that "in direct proportion to the removal of the
economic objections, the moral objections would be intensified in
degree."[112] For if the Government abandoned the manufacture of opium to
private enterprise, contenting itself with placing a duty on its export,
there can be no doubt that more opium would be manufactured and imported
into China, while the revenue would be less. Moreover, if it be wrong to
grow opium for Chinese consumption we shall not get out of the
responsibility of it by placing a duty on all opium exported instead of
growing and selling it ourselves.

Lastly, there is the objection that our introduction of opium into China
paralyses the efforts of our missionaries. We have reserved this charge
till the last, both because it has done more than any other with certain
classes of people to bring discredit on the traffic, and also because it
has been least adequately met by other writers on the subject. And the
question is a very delicate one to discuss. It may seem presumptuous to
call in question a statement of fact lying so entirely within the scope of
a missionary's observation; and it certainly will seem invidious to point
out, as we shall be obliged to do, the real causes of failure in our
missionary efforts, presuming them to have failed.

Our missionaries, then, almost unanimously assert that "opium has been
the means of closing millions of Chinese hearts to the influence of
Christian preaching," partly by setting the Chinese against foreigners in
general and Englishmen in particular, but chiefly by supplying them with a
ready-made argument against the Christian religion as one that tolerates
so iniquitous a traffic to the ruin of a friendly nation. Dr.
Medhurst[113] supplies us with a sufficient answer to this. "If we do
supply the opium, why do you smoke it? Why do you even grow it?" But, in
truth, whatever ingenious arguments the astute Chinaman may use to justify
his rejection of the new doctrine, the reason of the ill success of our
missionaries is not to be found here. For why, if opium be the only
obstacle to conversion, are we not more successful in India? There are in
the whole of British India only 900,000 converted Christians, of whom far
the largest number are Roman Catholic "hereditary" Christians, about a
quarter of a million being Protestants of various denominations. "Of
course there are some," says a correspondent to the _Times_, "perhaps
even a considerable number, whose views of life are really elevated by
their Christianity; but it is a fact worthy of all attention that really
devout Indians who have, under the influence of Christian teaching, cast
off Hindooism, have preferred to create a new and, as they say, a purer
religion for themselves, rather than accept Christianity in the form in
which it is presented to them by the missionaries." The "Brama Somaj" is
indeed worthy of all consideration, but obviously cannot be discussed
here. Missionaries in India impute their failure to the advantages given
by Government to secular education. The Japanese again,[114] though their
orators confess that they are no bigoted adherents of any creed, that
their minds are like blank paper, fitted to receive new characters from
the pen of any ready writer, decline to embrace Christianity because they
do not consider it a good religion; for they see that it does not prevent
the English from being licentious and brutal to their coolies, and from
having no reverence for old age. Such excuses, and they are mere excuses,
are fatally easy; and while Christian practice differs so much from
Christian profession, will always remain a weapon of offence against the
followers of Christ in the hands of unbelievers. But so far from opium
being a barrier to the acceptance of the Christian religion, it has been
the means[115] indirectly of opening the gate of the empire for the
admission of Western ideas, and, among them, for the introduction of the
Gospel of Christ.

"The passion of the Chinese for opium," says one writer, "was the first
link in the chain which was destined to connect them at some future day
with all the other families of mankind." Again, it may reasonably be asked
with Sir John Bowring, "whether the greater proportionate number of native
professing Christians is not to be found in those districts where opium is
most consumed, and how the undoubted fact is to be explained that in
Siam, where the Siamese do not smoke the drug, there is scarcely a
solitary instance of conversion among the native population, while among
the Chinese and other foreign settlers in Siam who habitually employ it,
conversions are many." What, then, are the causes of our failure? Dr.
Hobson, himself a medical missionary, and by no means an apologist for the
traffic, says, "Our chief obstacle at Canton is the unfriendly character
of the people." And there can be no doubt that this inveterate hostility
exists all over China against foreigners in general and missionaries in
particular, and has repeatedly shown itself in outbreaks of brutal
violence against foreign residents, culminating in the murder of M.
Chapdelaine in 1856, and the massacre of the French Mission together with
the Consul and several Russian residents at Tientsin in 1870. Later still,
we have had the murder of Mr. Margary in Yünnan. This hatred is
intensified in the case of missionaries by their civil[116] and political
action, and by the fact of Roman Catholic Governments exterritorializing
all their converts, _i.e._ making them for all intents and purposes their
own subjects, and releasing them from all subjection to Chinese authority.
This establishment of an "_imperium in imperio_" cannot fail to be
intolerable to an independent State, even if it be consistent with the
idea of a State at all. Moreover, the admission of missionaries no less
than of opium is a permanent badge of their defeat in several wars, and
the sense of humiliation aggravates their dislike for the "outer
barbarians." So that we can believe Prince Kung's wish, expressed to Sir
Rutherford Alcock, to have been a heart-felt one: "Take away," he said,
"your opium and your missionaries, and we need have no more trouble in
China." Of the two, indeed, they hate missionaries most, for did not their
most powerful mandarins, Li Hung Chang[117] and Tso Tsung Taang, say to
Sir Thomas Wade, "_Of the two evils we would prefer to have your opium, if
you will take away all your missionaries_." Sir Rutherford Alcock gave
similar evidence before the Commission in 1871: "The Chinese," he said,
"if at liberty to do so, would exterminate every missionary and their
converts."[118] But cordially as they detest all missionaries, who, backed
by their respective Governments,[119] assume a protectorate over their
converts, their bitterest hate is reserved for the Romanists. These
penetrate into the interior, and aggregate property, own land, and houses,
and pagodas, and are now some of the largest landed proprietors in the
different localities. They have even gained the right, by the French
Treaty, of reclaiming whatever lands and houses belonged to the Christian
communities when the persecution and expulsion of the Jesuits took place
in the seventeenth century. But besides the hostility of the _literati_
and gentry, other causes are at work to render the labours of our
missionaries abortive. Chief among these is one mentioned in a publication
by the Church Missionary Society itself, called the _Story of the Fuh-kien
Mission_. "Christianity," says Mr. Wolfe, a missionary at Foochow, "would
be tolerated too, and the Chinese would be easily induced to accept
Christ among the number of their gods, if it could be content with the
same terms on which all the other systems are willing to be received, viz.
that no one of them claims to be absolute and exclusive truth. Now, as
Christianity does claim this, and openly avows its determination to expel
by moral force every rival system from the altars of this nation, it
naturally at first appears strange and presumptuous to this people."[120]
Very similar in old times was the attitude of the Roman polytheism towards
the various religions with which it was brought into contact. It was
tolerant of all religions and non-religions except (_a_) exclusive and
aggressive ones, like Christianity and Judaism; (_b_) national ones, like
Druidism; and (_c_) extravagant and mystic ones, like the worship of Isis.
So now the Buddhists and Taouists would be ready enough to associate the
religion of Christ with that of Buddha or Laoutze, seeing indeed, as they
say, little difference between the doctrines of Buddha and of Christ.

Buddhism was introduced into China at the very time when in the West the
Fall of Jerusalem had set Christianity free from its dependence on
Judaism, and enabled it to go forth in its own might, conquering and to
conquer, till it became the religion of the whole Roman world. The name of
Christ was not heard in China till 600 years later; and it was not till
1575 A.D. that a permanent Jesuit mission was established in that distant
land. This being the case, it is not to be wondered at that the Chinese
are unwilling to renounce a religion in many respects as pure and as moral
a one as the pagan world has ever seen, and one which they have held for
eighteen centuries, in favour of a creed, as it would seem to them, of
yesterday, and one which the hated foreigner seeks to force upon them at
the point of the bayonet; for the war of 1857 _was_ a missionary war,
though not by any means an opium war; and it is only by the Treaty of
Tientsin that missionaries have any right to preach Christianity in China.
Previously to this Christianity had been forbidden by King Yoong-t-ching
in 1723, and that edict had never been repealed.

But though these two causes, the hostility of the people and the assumed
intellectual superiority of the Buddhists and Confucianists, render the
path of our missionaries unusually difficult, and fully account for their
ill success, yet it may be asked why the Roman Catholic missionaries are
more successful than ours. Both the above reasons apply to them as
strongly, or even more strongly, than to Protestant missionaries. They
have even an additional disadvantage in their confessional with women, a
proceeding which is looked upon with the greatest suspicion by the Chinese
who, as far as possible, seclude their women from the sight of all men.
Perhaps, as has been hinted at by a correspondent to the _Times_, the
celibacy of the Roman Catholic priesthood, an institution which they hold
in common with the priests of Buddha, impresses the people with a
favourable view of the religion. But there are other reasons.

As mentioned already, the Jesuits established themselves in China at the
latter part of the sixteenth century. They first landed at Ningpo, and
thence made their way to Pekin,[121] where, "by good policy, scientific
acquirements, and conciliatory demeanour, they won the good-will of the
people and the toleration of the Government." In 1692, Kang Hi published
an edict permitting the propagation of Christianity. From the success of
these Jesuits, sanguine expectations were entertained in Europe of the
speedy evangelization of China--hopes that were not destined to be
realized. Various causes conspired to effect their downfall in China,
principally connected with the political state of Europe at that time. In
1723 Christianity was prohibited, and the Jesuits expelled. "The
extinction of the Order of Jesuits," says Sir George Staunton, in the
preface to his _Penal Code of China_, "caused the adoption of a plan of
conversion more _strict_, and probably more orthodox, but, in the same
proportion, more unaccommodating to the prejudices of the people, and more
alarming to the jealousies of the Government. Generally speaking, it threw
the profession _into less able hands_, and the cause of Christianity and
of Europe lost much of its lustre and influence. The Jesuits were
generally _artists_ and men of science, as well as religious teachers."
There can be no doubt that this was the main secret of their success; and
in order to ensure like success, we must send out missionaries of like
stamp, men of high genius and refined education, who have grasped the
theory of Aryan civilization; who can meet the Buddhist, and the Hindoo,
and the Confucianist on their own ground; who, going forth in the spirit
of Our Lord's words, "I come not to destroy, but to fulfil," can, if
necessary, graft the law of Christ on the doctrines of Buddha. Let them
treat Vishnoo and Buddha as St. Paul treated Venus and Mars, and say to a
people given up to idolatry, "Whom ye ignorantly worship, Him declare we
unto you." Not that we would counsel them to make any sacrifice of
principle in order to secure converts, as the Romanists seem to have done;
such a course must be fatal: and, indeed, "these unworthy concessions to
the habits of vice and superstition so prevalent in China" have already
been a serious obstacle to the spread of the true doctrine;[122] for
enquirers have expressed their readiness to join the Church if, like the
people belonging to the religion of the "Lord of Heaven" (_i.e._
Romanism), they may continue opium-smoking, and work as usual upon the
Lord's Day. So successful in one sense have these tactics been, that the
Roman Catholic missionaries claim to have 30,000 converts in the province
of Fuh-kien alone, mostly hereditary Christians of the fifth generation.
These so-called Christians are, however, very ignorant of Scripture, and
in most respects indistinguishable from heathens. For instance, they
identify the Virgin Mary with one of their deities called Seng Mu, or Holy
Mother, and pay idolatrous worship to her. Such success need not be envied
by our missionaries.

The two points, then, in which the Roman Catholic missions have had the
advantage over Protestant ones are--1st. Their missionaries, especially
the earlier ones, were far more able men than the generality of our
mission clergy. "You may get men," says a writer to the _Times_,[123] "of
average attainments to go abroad as missionaries, just as you get clerks
and engineers. But they who adopt propagandism as a means of living--and
it is no disparagement to the missionaries that they do so--are not
exactly the men to impart a living impulse to the hearts of masses of
people. Xaviers and Bishop Pattesons, indeed, appear at intervals to prove
that the apostolic spirit is not yet extinct among men; but such
exceptional phenomena fail to redeem the common-place character of the
ordinary missionary field-force." 2nd. The Roman Catholic faith, by its
very oneness, by its remarkable similarity to the institutions of
Buddhism, and by its concessions to some of the grosser instincts of the
human mind, no less than by having a united and organized Church behind
it, cannot fail to commend itself more readily to the minds of the heathen
than the more spiritual and independent, but at the same time more narrow
and sectarian, beliefs which are all ranked as branches of the Reformed
Church. "Thinking[124] they are invading a country as soldiers of the
Cross, these young missionaries go forth, denouncing the beliefs, the
traditions, the worship of the people, calling on them to curse all that
they have ever held sacred, and to accept, on pain of eternal perdition,
the peculiar arrangements of beliefs which the missionary has compounded
for them, and of which Christianity is one, but not always a very
perceptible ingredient; and so the poor heathen, hungering, however
unconsciously, for the bread of life, is offered instead the shibboleths
of a very Babel of sects." But though they have failed as yet in the
higher aim which they have set before themselves, the efforts of the
missionaries have been wonderfully successful, though they care not for
this success, in raising the social standard of the people with whom they
are brought into contact. "They deserve infinite praise for the way they
have created written languages where none existed, and for their assiduity
in educating and civilizing thousands of savages."[125]

Our missionaries, then, who deserve every credit for their noble and
self-sacrificing efforts in the cause of Christ, who in the face of
difficulties such as few can appreciate, do their Master's work with
cheerfulness and zeal, in spite of danger and privation, comparing their
own failure with the success of missionaries elsewhere, as, for instance,
in Madagascar, and seeking to account for it before their countrymen at
home, miss the true causes which we have been compelled, however
ungraciously, to point out, and, taking the nominal objection from the
mouths of their opponents, with heedless confidence assert that opium is
the great obstacle to the propagation of the Gospel, forgetting that it
was the difficulties connected with opium that first opened a way for them
into the heart of China; that it was the second opium war, as they love to
call it, which gave them a _locus standi_ in the country. But, in truth,
in comparing their work with that of their fellow-workers in Africa and
elsewhere, they are placing themselves at an enormous disadvantage; for we
must not forget that in China and India we are dealing with races[126]
immeasurably superior to the North American Indians and the savages of
Africa; that we are confronted by civilizations which were in their prime
when England was inhabited by naked savages, and was indeed, as the
Chinese still believe it to be, but as "an anthill in the ocean," and by a
race of men who were "learned," as Cobden said in the House of Commons,
"when our Plantagenet kings could not write, and who had a system of logic
before Aristotle, and a code of morals before Socrates." It would be
surprising indeed if we could persuade such intellectual and civilised
races to give up in a moment beliefs which have taken centuries to mature;
and the difficulty is the greater in the case of the Buddhists from the
striking similarity which exists between the general principles professed
by followers of Buddha and disciples of Christ. "Conversion to
Christianity," as Dr. Moore says, "involves the belief in certain
statements the counterparts of which, when found in Buddhism, are regarded
as impossible and untrue by Christians."

What, then, should a missionary do in the face of all these difficulties?
Let him follow Dr. Medhurst's advice, and remember that "the effectual
fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"; let him exhort the
Chinese to abandon the habit of opium-smoking, and compel their converts
to give up the drug; and, above all, let him be careful not to make
exaggerated statements about the opium traffic, which merely tend to
disquiet the minds of his countrymen at home, and, when the falsity of his
statements becomes apparent, to throw discredit on the cause which he has
at heart. But if the missionary's duty is clear, no less clearly is it
_our_ duty who remain at home to make the most strenuous efforts to aid
the good cause by subscribing more largely to the missionary fund (instead
of expending our money for the purpose of raising an agitation against
opium in England), and so, by increasing the remuneration offered to
workers in this large field (for the labourer is worthy of his hire), to
induce the ablest and most intellectual of our clergy to go out to
encounter Buddhism and Taouism--opponents quite worthy of our
steel--feeling sure that success, though delayed, is certain in the end,
and that the Chinese only need to become Christians in order to be one of
the greatest nations upon earth.

It remains now only to mention the remedies proposed by the supporters of
the Anti-Opium Society for the evils of the opium traffic, pointing out
such objections as may occur to us; and finally to state the alternative
course which we ourselves propose. We may premise, however, before dealing
with this part of the subject, that there is a considerable divergence of
opinion manifest in the ranks of the Anti-Opium Society with regard to the
nature of the remedies suggested. Some are for merely washing our hands of
the monopoly, so that the Government would have no direct participation in
the _manufacture_ of the drug, but would, by means of an export duty,
retain more or less of the revenue therefrom. This course, it must be
said, does not find favour with the majority, who demand, consistently
enough, the total abandonment by India of the manufacture of opium _and_
the revenue from it.

Let us consider the less radical proposal first.

As long ago as 1832, the question of abolishing the opium monopoly
suggested itself to the East India Company; and the same course was
proposed by Sir Charles Trevelyan in 1864.[127] If the opium revenue is
to be retained while the monopoly is abolished, there is only one
practicable course to be pursued. A Customs duty must be laid on the
export of all opium. And this method has obtained the support of many able
men who, objecting to the opium traffic as at present conducted, and at
the same time seeing the difficulties in the way of its total abolition,
propose this compromise. Such are Sir Bartle Frere,[128] Sir Richard
Temple, the Marquis of Hartington, and others. But there are many serious
drawbacks even to this solution of the difficulty, and such as have always
prevailed against it when it has been proposed, as it often has, in
Council. On the one hand, the revenue derived from this system would be
much less. Sir Evelyn Baring, who is studiously moderate in his figures,
informed us in his financial statement for 1882 how much loss would
actually in this way ensue. For whereas a chest of Bengal opium costs us
to manufacture it 421 Rs., we can sell it for 1,280 Rs. (average of ten
years), thus making a clear profit per chest of 859 Rs.; but if we
decided to introduce the excise system, the opium would not bear more than
600 Rs. a chest as export duty.[129] The average number of chests exported
may be taken as likely to be 45,000. Duty on these would give £2,700,000.
But our net revenue from Bengal opium is at least £5,000,000, so that our
loss would be nearly two millions and a half; and besides the loss to the
Imperial exchequer, the Provincial Governments would lose a part of their
income. Moreover, the cost of preventive establishments would be great,
and still some part of the produce would evade duty. Again, the
cultivators would suffer in every way. Their actual profits would be less,
and the zemindars would take the opportunity of squeezing them by
rack-renting and other recognized means of oppression, as has been the
case in indigo-cultivation, where great disturbances have been caused
among the ryots. Add to this that vested interests would be created which
would render any return to the old system very difficult, if not
impossible. On the other hand--and this must be clear even to the
anti-opiumists--India would not release herself from the responsibility of
the traffic, whatever that may be, by this means. Direct participation in
the manufacture may be more undignified for an Imperial Government than
merely a share in the profits; but it cannot affect its moral
responsibility. Nor would an ounce less opium enter China because of this
measure. "The monopoly," says Sir Henry Pottinger, "has rather tended to
check than otherwise the production, as it certainly has the exportation,
of the drug."

Dismissing, then, this possibility as one perforce abandoned by the
opponents of monopolies, no less than by the opponents of opium, the only
other alternative left to us is the total abolition of the growth and
manufacture of opium in India. But we are confronted with a difficulty to
start with. Do the supporters of this theory mean that the cultivation of
opium should be forbidden throughout _all_ India? If so, how are we to
deal with the native States which cultivate the poppy, and derive a
considerable, in some cases a principal, part of their revenue from this
source? A previous attempt to interfere with this cultivation occasioned
serious disturbances, and almost a civil war. Are we ready to go to that
length to enforce our advanced ideas of total abstinence on the
independent States of Holkar and Scindia? If they do not mean this, how
are we to prevent the cultivators in Malwa taking up the trade abandoned
by us, and instead of 45,000 chests, sending 90,000 to China yearly?
Again, if the poppy culture be strictly forbidden in _all_ India, how are
the legitimate wants of the Rajpoots and the Sikhs in the Punjaub, and the
inhabitants of Orissa and Assam, to be supplied? Shall we go to China for
our opium, thereby getting a more deleterious drug at higher prices, and
inducing our subjects to substitute for the comparatively beneficial opium
the maddening stimulus of bhang and the poisonous mixtures imported under
the name of "French brandies," but composed of such deleterious
ingredients as potato spirit and fusel oil? It would, indeed, be a strange
finale if the success of this agitation should cause China to export opium
into India as she already does into Burmah.

Apart from these contingent possibilities the financial objections to
this measure are overwhelming in the opinion of all who are or have been
responsible for the financial administration of India. The immediate
effect of the cessation of the culture of the poppy would be the
disturbance of the cultivation of land amounting to 500,000 acres in
British India alone, the readjustment of which would be a difficult and
troublesome business. But, of course, the point to be chiefly considered
is the immense loss of revenue that must unavoidably ensue. Some, no
doubt, of this loss might be made good by the cultivation of other crops
on the poppy lands, which comprise some of the best land in the
presidency; but how much would thus be recouped is uncertain. In any case
it would not amount to a tithe of the loss, and would, moreover, go mostly
into the pockets of the zemindars, or middlemen. Again, the present staff
employed in the manufacture would have to be pensioned, which would be
another item of expense. Practically we may assume, then, that the Indian
Exchequer would lose some six millions a year; and this loss would have to
be met at once. The importance of this opium revenue to India can
scarcely be over-estimated. It is, next to the land tax, the largest item
in the revenue. It forms one-seventh of all the revenue of India. It is
the most easily collected and the most productive tax ever known. It, and
it only, by its marvellous increase, has enabled a series of Chancellors
of the Indian Exchequer to tide over the difficulties occasioned by
unexpected wars and disastrous famines. It has given the Indian Government
the power to carry out innumerable sorely-needed reforms in the
administration of justice, in the promotion of education, in the
organization of the police and the post-office, in the reduction of the
salt tax, and in the furtherance generally of public works; and this will
seem no exaggeration when it is stated that in the last twenty years opium
has poured into the Indian treasury the colossal revenue of £134,000,000

Do away with this revenue and we sacrifice all chance of carrying out
these reforms to a successful conclusion, and cripple our whole
administration in India. But it behoves us to consider how the deficit
_could_ be met, if it became necessary. And we may here again remark that
it is to the utmost degree unlikely that the British tax-payer will put
his hand into his own pocket in order to help India out of her
difficulties. Nor, if England _did_ offer to meet the deficit, would that
be a good precedent to establish. A gift of £20,000,000, which the
anti-opiumists speak of, would not nearly cover India's loss. It would
cost three times that sum in ten years, _i.e._ if the present rate of
revenue be maintained, as there is good reason to suppose that it
will.[130] How, then, could the loss be made good?

The expenditure, civil and military, might be curtailed by doing away with
the separate establishments of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies and
centralizing the whole in Bengal. But this curtailment of the civil
expenditure could not bring much relief, as it only amounts to £10,000,000
as it is. A reduction of the military establishments, besides being a
danger in the face of Russia's advance towards India, would necessitate a
corresponding diminution of the independent native armies, a step which
would be unpopular if demanded by our Government. However, this will be
necessary if the opium revenue be cut off.

Among other possible expedients for increasing the revenue or lowering the
expenditure are a cessation of ordinary, as distinguished from
_productive_, public works, such as roads, railways; a reimposition of
abandoned taxes like the customs duties, the salt tax (lately partially
remitted), the tobacco tax, and the income tax--but there are grave
objections to all these; or the land tax could be augmented, as the
periods for new settlements came round, and these, perhaps, afford the
best prospect of an increase of revenue.

Such are the principal heads under which an increase of revenue might on
an emergency be secured. But the increase would not in any case be large;
and it must not be forgotten that Sir Evelyn Baring, in his Budget
statement for 1882, has given it as his opinion (and who is more able to
give an opinion on the subject?) that an _aggregate_ increase of taxation
is not possible, even reduction in some branches absolutely necessary;
_while any essential decrease of expenditure is quite out of the
question_. So far from the expenditure showing a tendency to decrease, or
even to remain stationary, it has increased last year by a million and a
half, this year[131] by three millions and more--under a Liberal

Apart from these direct means for making good the loss of the opium
revenue, there is the prospective one of a general increase from
reproductive public works, and from a prosperous condition of the country;
but it must be borne in mind that this would be greatly lessened and
impeded by any increase of taxation.

"_It cannot be too clearly understood_," says Sir Evelyn Baring (sect.
59), "_that neither by any measure tending to develop the resources of the
country, nor by any increase of taxation which is practically within the
range of possibility, nor by any reduction of expenditure, could the
Government of India in any adequate way at present hope to recoup the loss
which would accrue from the suppression of the poppy cultivation in

On the whole, then, we may conclude with Sir Evelyn Baring that without
the revenue which she derives from opium India would be insolvent; that
is, her expenditure would be permanently in excess of her income. India is
by no means a rich country except in the language of poetry, and her
inhabitants are perhaps the poorest in the world, the average income of
the ryot being twenty-seven rupees a year! On the other hand, the
financial prospects of India are not at present so gloomy as Mr. Fawcett
and others would have us believe, but under a succession of able
financiers, like Sir John Strachey and Sir Evelyn Baring, a wonderful
improvement has been effected; but their efforts would have been crippled
and their far-sighted policy paralyzed, if it had not been for the
magnificent revenue derived from the sale of opium, which has indeed
proved, as it has been called, "the sheet anchor" of Indian finance. And
if this revenue _be_ badly acquired, there is no question but that it has
been splendidly applied; and if the Chinese will have opium, as there is
no doubt they will, the superfluity of their wealth cannot be better spent
than in the amelioration of the lot of the Indian ryot. This is the very
class which would suffer most severely from any increase of taxation,
and, as Sir Evelyn Baring says, "to tax India in order to provide a
cure--which would almost certainly be ineffectual--for the vices of the
Chinese would be wholly unjustifiable." In doing a little right to China,
let us beware lest we do a great wrong to India.

As to the effects upon Indian commerce of a large diminution of the opium
trade, India would lose her present large profits on a product of which
she owns a natural monopoly. She would also be obliged to increase her
exports largely, the value of which would consequently be depreciated;
except that the Indian tea-trade would be benefited by a disturbance of
the China trade. Further, India would be forced to reduce her imports,
however necessary these may be. Lastly, there is a prospect of a fall in
the rate of exchange, and a further depreciation of silver, which would
increase her liabilities and imperil her financial position.

Such, then, are the difficulties which are inseparably connected with any
sudden cessation of the opium trade; but it remains for us still to notice
one proposal emanating from the supporters of the anti-opium policy, which
is remarkable for its naïveté. It recommends that England should demand
from China other privileges as an equivalent for the renunciation of a
formal right, and as an indemnification of a great loss sustained. This
equivalent would no doubt take the shape of commercial concessions, such
as the opening up of the interior of China to foreign intercourse, the
working of the mines in China, which are numerous and valuable, and the
construction and working of railways by English engineers. There is no
doubt that China offers a large and virgin field to the commercial
activity of England, and the result that followed the opening of ports
after our two wars with China are sufficiently remarkable. By the first
treaty we gained a trade of £2,000,000; by the second of £3,500,000
annually. In our commercial dealings with the Chinese we have to deal not
only with "the obstructive policy of the mandarins, but also the passive
and unconscious resistance of a people of stagnant ideas, of very limited
enterprise, and possessing only primitive means of
inter-communication."[132] For a further development of our commercial
intercourse, Medhurst goes on to say, two things are wanting:--1st,
access to new markets by having new ports opened and by procuring a right
to navigate inland waters, and to improve the means of communication; 2nd,
a full and frank acknowledgment by the Chinese at all the ports of the
right of foreign goods to be covered and protected from inland dues by
transit passes. Some such concessions the anti-opiumists would have us
demand; but these benevolent protestors against forcing the Chinese forget
that concessions of this kind, wrung from an unwilling people, would be
far more galling than any importation of opium, which it is quite clear,
even to them, that they need not buy if they do not wish it. Moreover, the
important point seems to have been overlooked, that _India_ would lose her
revenue, while the gain from increased intercourse would be wholly on the
side of _England_. As it is, the native community in India can hardly
believe that there is not a selfish motive at the bottom of this agitation
in England, and, should this last proposal be carried out, we could hardly
blame them if they pointed to this as a proof that their suspicions were
well founded.

We may here briefly notice[133] Li Hung Chang's latest proposal, that he
should farm or purchase the monopoly of all the Indian opium; with the
intention, he would no doubt himself say, of getting the control of the
trade into his own hands, and limiting the import, just as on a previous
occasion, in a communication to the Anglo-Opium Society, he asserted that
the only object of the Chinese authorities in taxing opium was in the
past, as it would be in the future, the desire to repress the traffic.

Considering, then, the sudden abolition of the opium traffic as
practically out of the question, and leaving out of sight the undoubtedly
possible, though not likely, gradual cessation of the trade between India
and China owing to the competition of the native drug, it only remains for
us to propose some practical solution of the difficulty, some less heroic
method of removing this rock of offence that has so divided the current of
English feeling. If we reject the total suppression theory, there are, as
it seems, two alternatives, and two only, left to us. We may on the one
hand follow the sensible and statesman-like recommendation of Sir
Rutherford Alcock in 1869. With a view to test the sincerity of the
Chinese Government, and their power to prohibit the growth of the poppy in
their own dominions, that experienced Minister proposed, in a Convention
which the Chinese seem disposed to ratify, that they should receive an
increased duty on opium imported, "and moreover be allowed to test their
power and will to limit or diminish the hitherto unchecked production of
opium in their own provinces by an understanding with the Indian
Government during a certain period not to extend the production in India;
and if the Chinese Government kept faith and showed the power greatly to
diminish, and more or less rapidly stop, the culture of the poppy
altogether, the Indian Government would then, _pari passu_, consider how
far they could further co-operate by diminishing their own area of
culture, having time to substitute other crops and industries to take its

The effects of this arrangement, if carried out, would be clearly the
same as those arising from a gradual cessation of the trade through
competition with native opium. The cultivation in India would have time to
change without serious injury to the growers of the poppy, and trade would
by degrees adapt itself to the altered conditions; but the same results
would follow, as in the other case, though not to anything like the same
extent. The loss of revenue would still be great, but the general growth
of other branches of income would be more likely, if any sudden
displacement of industry or capital were avoided. But we can hardly escape
the conviction that the Chinese would show themselves as unable or as
unwilling to stop the cultivation in China, no less than the import from
India, as they have ever been. In fact, the lofty utterance of Taou Kwang
notwithstanding, the Chinese authorities are very glad to draw a revenue
even from the vices of their people, and they would be very reluctant, not
to say quite averse, to sacrifice a revenue now amounting to more than two
millions. What they _do_ want is to obtain a larger share in the profits
arising from the sale of the Indian drug. Let those who believe in the
"child-like simplicity"[134] of the Chinese pin their faith to such
assertions as that of Li Hung Chang quoted above, that the only aim of the
Chinese Government in taxing opium is to limit the import, and that their
only object in allowing and even encouraging the native growth is to drive
out the foreign drug, and, when they have in this way obtained the command
of the market, to suppress the cultivation altogether. This air of injured
innocence is remarkably effective with some people; but the exquisite
plausibility and adroitness of these and other similar pleas must not
blind us to their inherent falsity. Li Hung Chang can no more prevent the
Chinese from consuming opium than we can prevent our countrymen from
drinking wine and spirits and smoking tobacco by mere legislative
enactments, and it would be considered a remarkable method for attaining
this desirable end if the distillation of spirits were made as free and
unrestrained as the brewing of beer.

Lastly--and this would have the advantage of satisfying the only just plea
urged by the "Society,"--we might proclaim to China in unmistakeable
terms that she was free to carry out her own fiscal policy as suited her
best, with regard to opium as well as all other imports. Not that we are
disposed to allow that this is an international _duty_, unless it be an
international duty also to free China from _all_ the conditions we have
forced upon her: unless we are ready, for example, to cede Hongkong, to
let the Chinese close their ports if they feel inclined, to give up our
missionaries to the tender mercies of Chinese fanaticism, or forbid them
to set foot within the Celestial Empire.

The ratification of the Chefoo Convention would be a step in this
direction, and may well be tried as a temporary measure, though it is
manifestly unfair to say that we are guilty of any breach of faith in
regard to this convention.[135]

We have now to consider what would be the result of such a policy to
India. China would no doubt take advantage of her freedom, and tax Indian
opium as heavily as it would bear, and in this way transfer to herself
some of the profits which now go to India; but, on the other hand, she
would be unwilling to place a prohibitive tariff upon it, knowing, as she
well does, that none the less would it enter China by being smuggled in,
and the revenue which should go into the imperial coffers would be paid,
as before, to the officials in the shape of bribes. India would certainly
not lose _all_ its revenue; for a considerable part, one-seventh at least,
goes to the Straits Settlements and the neighbouring islands, to the
Netherlands of India, to Hongkong for export to the islands of the
Pacific, and to California. Moreover, Indian opium has a monopoly value,
and is, besides, superior in flavour to all other opium--holds, in fact,
that place among the various kinds of the drug which champagne holds among
wines. So that, on the whole, this policy, which would strike at the very
root of the anti-opium agitation, would not, as it seems, have any very
alarming effects upon India.

And now we have done. We have tried to point out the fallacy of the
principal arguments urged by the Anti-Opium Society against the traffic,
and the injustice and dangers involved in the remedies which they propose.
But we have not hesitated to acknowlege it when their objections seemed
well-founded. Their opinions, it need not be said, have undergone
considerable modification since the days of Earl Shaftesbury's memorial;
and it is by no means clear yet what the actual policy advocated by a
majority of their supporters is. "Some shout one thing and some another,
and the greater part know not wherefore they have been called together."
And though we have condemned their measures, we must not be thought to be
condemning the men. They, we freely admit, are actuated by the highest and
noblest motives of benevolence and philanthropy; but in their sensibility
to the sufferings of others, they are apt to disregard the justice due to
their own countrymen. If one half of the allegations of the missionaries
and their supporters could be accepted as true, and brought home to the
intelligence of the nation, there would not be a voice raised for the
traffic. The cry would not indeed be "Perish India," but "Perish the opium
revenue," at whatever cost to England. The very rejection of these extreme
opinions by a large majority of those who, from their position and
experience, are best qualified to form a judgment on the question, is in
itself a strong argument against their truth; and if not true, how
pernicious must be the effect of their dissemination! Here is what an
Englishman of ability and experience, for many years resident in Hongkong,
says: "I say that the missionaries and the Anti-Opium Society, in the
course of their agitation for the abolition of the Indo-Chinese opium
trade, are vilifying their countrymen and blackening their country in the
eyes of the whole world, so that the foreigner can convict us out of our
own mouths, and gibe at us for hypocrisy and turpitude, which we are
wholly innocent of, and for crimes we have never committed."

But making every allowance for the loftiness of their motives and the
sincerity of their opinions, we must take grievous exception to some of
their methods of propagandism. Among the numerous pamphlets and tracts
published by the society is one called _Poppies: a Talk with Boys and
Girls_, of which the reviewer in the _Friend of China_[136] says himself:
"To acknowledge our sins and the sins of our fathers to ourselves, and in
the face of the world, is painful and humiliating enough; but to tell our
children that England is not the brave, generous, Christian country,
foremost of the nations in the cause of liberty and religion all the world
over, which we should like them to think her, but, on the contrary,
capable of the _meanness_, _hypocrisy_, _greed_, and _cruelty_ of our
treatment of China, is a bitter task." Bitter, indeed! and what if it be
wholly unjustifiable? There is no high-minded Englishman but will utterly
resent and protest against this poisoning of the minds of our children
with delusive and exaggerated statements, and thus prejudicing them on a
subject which they are not yet of an age to form a fair judgment about.

As to the meanness, hypocrisy, and the rest, we need not say more than we
have already said, but may notice in passing that unlimited abuse of
England's foreign policy seems, curiously enough, to be a guarantee with
some people of the speaker or writer's having the real interests of
England at heart; and a man needs only to stigmatize the national policy
with the added acrimony of alliteration as "cruel, cowardly, and
criminal,"[137] for him to pass for the purest of patriots.

And now, in conclusion, we are content to leave the issue of this
controversy to the judgment of our countrymen, feeling sure that, if
justice and right are on the side of the agitators, they will succeed; if
not, that the agitation will inevitably die a natural death: ever withal
remembering the maxim--

_Magna est veritas et prevalebit._


  Alcock, Sir Rutherford, 4, 15, 129.

  Anti-Opium Society, 5, 62, 136, 137.

  Baring, Sir Evelyn, 60, 123 ff.

  Brereton, _Truth about Opium_, 5, 57, 58, 68, 89, 136.

  Canton, Governor of, 32.

  Chefoo Convention, 34 ff.

  Coalloon, action in Bay of, 17.

  De Quincey, 70, 86.

  Drain of Silver from China, 13, 23.

  Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, 4, 137.

  Li Hung Chang, 31, 128, 131.

  Lin, 11, 16.

  Memorials about Opium to Pekin Government--
    Heu Naetze, 12.
    Wootingpoo, 24, 30.
    Yupochuan, 31.

  Missionaries, 5, 97 ff.

  Moore, Dr., 42, 43.

  Narcotics, 76.

    Abkari, 52, 56.
    Consumption of, in Armenia, 51.
      Burmah, 46 ff.
    Consumption of, in England, 51, 52.
      India, 41 ff.
      Turkey, 51.
    Duties paid on, 23.
    East India Company's trade in, 9.
    Edicts against, 9, 12, 13, 15, 21.
    Financial aspect of trade, 115 ff.
    Forced on China, 91 ff.
    Foreign trade, 8 ff.
    How consumed, 39.
    Imported into China, 27, 28, 57, 84.
    Innocuousness of, 39.
    Medicinal, 37, 38.
    Missionaries _versus_, 82.
    Monopoly of, 96, 115 ff.
    Mortality from, 64, 70.
    Number of Smokers of, 70 ff.
    Reasons for Chinese partiality for, 78, 79.
    Revenue from, to India, 33.
       "      "   to China, 33.
    Tariff on, 33, 38.

  Poppy Plant--
    Extent of cultivation in China, 31.
       "            "      in India, 54.
    Known early in China, 6, 29.
    Original _habitat_ of, 6.

  Ports opened, 17, 34.

  Protective party in China, 11.

    1840, 2, 17.
    1856, 25.
    1860, 27.

  Shaftesbury, Earl of, 31, 61.

  Yeh, 76.

London: Printed by W. H. Allen & Co., 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall. S.W.


[1] April 2, 1883.

[2] The insinuations of Mr. Lock in the _Contemporary_ are simply beneath

[3] Soo Sung, a poet of the eleventh century, says the poppy was grown

[4] Com. East Indian Finance 1870, Qu. 5865.

[5] _Ibid._, Qu. 5855.

[6] A.D. 25-220.

[7] In a work on China published 1857.

[8] A fee of one dollar was regularly left by the smugglers with the
commander of the vessel, to be called for by the preventive officer.

[9] Don Sinibaldo, however, attributes this removal to the exactions of
the Portuguese douanier. See p. 6 of his pamphlet on opium.

[10] Capt. Hall's _Nemesis_, p. 113.

[11] _Nemesis_, p. 115.

[12] See _Opium_, a paper by F. C. Danvers, 1881.

[13] One tael silver was nominally equivalent to 1,000 cash; the silver
had now risen to be worth 16,000 cash.

[14] Tang, the Governor of Canton, himself dealt largely in opium. See
_Nemesis_, pp. 84, 113.

[15] A guild of Chinese traders at Canton.

[16] Lord Macartney placidly allowed his interpreter to style him "this
red-bristled barbarian tribute-bearer."

[17] Don Sinibaldo says (p. 8) that opium not being expressly mentioned,
"fait partie des articles non spécifiés, qui sont tenus de payer un droit
d'entrée de cinq pour cent"; but surely this is a mistake.

[18] We can well believe with Capt. Hall that "whatever part the question
arising out of the opium trade may have afterwards borne in the
complication of difficulties, there is little doubt that the first germ of
them all was developed at the moment when the general trade with China
became free."--_Nemesis_, p. 79.

[19] Sir J. Davis, Dec. 21, 1855.

[20] £650,000.

[21] Mr. Lay, in a memorandum dated April 1844, gave it as his opinion
that the difficulty of admitting opium rested only in the thought that it
would be a violation of decorum for His Imperial Majesty to legalize a
thing once so strongly condemned. He therefore advocated a change of name.

[22] Sir G. Bonham, April 10, 1851.

[23] Tael = 6s. 8d.

[24] The French took part in the expedition in order to obtain
satisfaction for the murder of a missionary in 1856, so that in their case
it was strictly a missionary war.

[25] New Kwang, Tangchow, Taiwan (Formosa), Swatow, and Kungchow (Hainan).

[26] Mr. Lay, secretary to Lord Elgin's mission.

[27] Lord Elgin had been instructed by Lord Clarendon to ascertain whether
the Chinese Government would revoke its prohibitions on opium. "Whether,"
says Lord Clarendon, "the legalization would tend to augment the trade may
be doubtful, as it seems now to be carried to the full extent of the
demand in China with the sanction and connivance of the local

[28] It was currently reported in North China that this officer received
2,000 taels from English merchants for memorializing the Emperor. The
edict _did_ benefit the foreign trade at first.

[29] Sir Rutherford Alcock, _Nineteenth Century_, Dec. 1881, p. 861.

[30] From sixteen taels at Chinkiang to eighty-four taels at Foochow and

[31] Ichang, Wenchow, Wuhu, and Pakhoi.

[32] Sept. 13, 1876.

[33] Dr. Moore, _The Other Side of the Opium Question_, p. 85.

[34] Sir Rutherford Alcock, _Journal of Society of Arts_, p. 220, b.

[35] Dr. Moore (p. 84) quotes Mr. Gardner's opinion to this effect.

[36] _Times_, Jan. 26, 1881. To the same effect is the evidence of Don
Sinibaldo, who says (p. 3), "On prétend que l'opium produit chez lui une
délicieuse ivresse, un doux sommeil, une vive surexcitation qui deviennent
nécessaires á l'existence, et qu'on ne peut obtenir qu'en augmentant
progressivement la dose journalière. Pour moi, j'ai souvent fumé de
l'opium, et je n'ai éprouvé rien de semblable; un grand nombre d'Européens
qui avaient fait la même épreuve m'ont assuré qu'elle avait eu pour eux
les mêmes résultats que pour moi." Perhaps a remark of Dr. Moore (p. 34)
may explain these statements. He says, "If the opium-pipe is smoked as the
tobacco-pipe is smoked, the effects are very inconsiderable as compared
with the results when the novice has attained to perfection in his
practice"--_i.e._ can pass the smoke through his lungs.

[37] Colonel Tod, in his book on the Rajpoots, draws a strong picture of
the evil effects of opium consumption among them. Of this Sir Henry
Lawrence, in a letter to Sir John Kaye, 1854, says, "There is little, if
any, truth in it."

[38] Comm. on E. I. Finance, 1871, evidence of Sir Cecil Beadon. Dr.
Birdwood, in a letter to the _Times_, Jan. 20, 1882, says: "The Rajpoots,
though they are all from youth upward literally saturated with opium, are
one of the finest, most truthful, and bravest people in the world. The
same may be said of the Sikhs."

[39] _The Other Side of the Opium Question_, pp. 13, 42.

[40] Similarly the Hurkarah, who carries letters and runs messages in
India, provided with a small piece of opium, a bag of rice and a lump of
bread, will perform incredible journeys.--Sir Rutherford Alcock, Paper
before Society of Arts, p. 223.

[41] The extract of hemp drunk as a decoction or swallowed as a drug. See
_Report on Excise in the Punjaub_, 1880-1881, sect. 24.

[42] Moore, p. 90.

[43] A sear = 2 lbs.

[44] See Memorandum by Sir Charles Aitchison, _passim_, especially App. to
Report, p. 13.

[45] Report by Mr. Weidemann, deputy-commissioner in Henzada, in
Parliamentary paper relating to opium in British Burmah, sect. 11.

[46] "British Burmah," an article in the _Times_ for Aug. 20, 1882.

[47] See a note appended to Sir Charles Aitchison's Report by Mr. C.
Bernard, officiating Chief Commissioner in British Burmah.

[48] _Times_, Aug. 20, 1882.

[49] Memorandum, sect. 9.

[50] _Cf._ the havoc wrought by the "blue flame," introduced by Europeans,
among the Red Indians of America.

[51] Memorandum, sect. 4.

[52] Memorandum, sect. 13.

[53] Bringing in a revenue of £175,000.

[54] Dr. Christlieb.

[55] _Confessions of an English Opium-Eater_, p. 5.

[56] Dr. Moore, p. 11, 48, 55.

[57] _Ibid._, p. 56.

[58] July 12, 1883. This has now been further reduced.

[59] Dr. Christlieb says 1,033,000 acres--an obvious exaggeration.

[60] The districts of Indore, Bhopal, &c.

[61] Mr. Storrs Turner himself, the secretary of the Society, allows that
this is a difficult part of the question. See his article in the
_Nineteenth Century_, Feb. 1882.

[62] Mr. Brereton (p. 74) estimates the amount consumed in California
alone to be worth £100,000.

[63] Mr. Acheson, in a memorandum to the Custom inspectorate from Canton,
says it amounts to 5,000 piculs.

[64] This, however, does not fairly represent the difference, as Indian
opium yields twenty per cent. more extract.

[65] Brereton, p. 139.

[66] Financial Statement, 1882, sect. 172.

[67] The Right Hon. J. Whittaker Ellis.

[68] Dr. Christlieb, a German professor, says 400,000; but Dr. Medhurst, a
medical man resident for years in China, with all his life-long experience
and knowledge would not even hazard a conjecture as to the annual
death-rate. Dr. Lockhart says, "It is impossible to say what is the number
of such victims either among the higher or lower classes." _Ait Varius,
negat Scaurus. Utri creditis, Quirites?_

[69] Don Sinibaldo (p. 11). To prohibit opium, he says, because some
people kill themselves with it, is as bad as if we prohibited razors
because some people cut their throats with them. He also says that he
considers the number of deaths by opium in China to be less in proportion
than the number of deaths self-inflicted by firearms in France--_i.e._
that they do not number 3,500 in all.

[70] Swinhoe's _Campaign of 1860_, p. 248.

[71] Dr. Ayres, _Friend of China_, 1878, p. 217.

[72] Comm. on E. I. Finance, Q. 5980. Mr. Winchester says: "I should say
the balance was in favour of the relief given by the stimulant over the
actual misery created by its abuse." Also Dr. Moore, p. 86.

[73] Dr. Ayres, _Friend of China_, 1878, p. 217.

[74] Dr. Myers, _Health of Takow_, p. 8. A recent article in the Times,
from a Singapore correspondent, fully bears this out. He says that all
allow the Chinese of the Straits Settlements to be the _finest specimens
of their race_, and yet these very Chinese, a million in number, smoke
12,000 chests of opium a year; and the deaths from opium registered in the
annual medical report were last year _five_.

[75] Mr. Brereton (p. 8) says: "I have known numbers, certainly not less
than 500 in all, who have smoked opium from their earliest days, young
men, middle-aged, and men of advanced years, some of them probably
excessive smokers; but I have never observed any symptoms of decay in one
of them." Again: "I have tried to find the victims of the dreadful drug,
but have never succeeded."

[76] From a letter to the _London and China Telegraph_, June 19, 1882.

[77] The estimate of one million given in a preceding note includes the
Chinese population of the neighbouring islands and of Cochin China.

[78] Dr. Myers: "It is surprising how few among the hard-working class
indulge to excess; and case after case will be met with, even in the
lowest ranks of life, of men who have smoked regularly from ten to twenty
or thirty years, and show little or no signs of mental or physical

[79] Dr. Myers, _Health of Takow_, p. 10.

[80] Correspondent to _North China Herald_. See Brereton, p. 135.

[81] Of this the Indian Government is only responsible for 40,000 chests.
The rest is Malwa opium.

[82] It may be said that those who smoke _Indian_ opium are the richer
classes, and therefore more prone to excess; but, on the other hand, the
native drug is more deleterious.

[83] _Health of Takow_, p. 6.

[84] _Ibid._, p. 5.

[85] Mr. Cooper's coolies carried him twenty miles a day for months.

[86] Coleridge.

[87] Aug. 19, 1882.

[88] "Most remarkable for industry and usefulness."--Sir F. Halliday.

[89] See Johnston's _Chemistry of Common Life_.

[90] "Stimulants are weak narcotics: narcotics are strong
stimulants."--_Modern Thought_, Aug. 1882.

[91] Sir George Birdwood calls this the greatest temperance triumph of any
age or nation.

[92] It has only recently been discovered that the aborigines of Australia
also have a narcotic of their own, which has qualities akin to opium and

[93] Capt. Hall's _Nemesis_.

[94] _Opium Question Solved_, p. 15. _Cf._ Sir Charles Trevelyan, Comm. on
E. I. Finance, Qu. 1532-40.

[95] And in this connection it might occur to us that if, in the wake of
our civilization, instead of the "blue ruin" which we gave him, we had
brought to the Red Indian the marvellous gift of opium, "that noble race
and brave" would not have "passed away," but be still surviving to smoke
the calumet of peace with the divine opium in the bowl.

[96] Parliamentary Papers 1842-56, No. 26.

[97] Letter to Sir W. Parker, 1843. He adds that "personally he had not
been able to discover a _single_ instance of its decidedly bad effects."

[98] _China and the Chinese._

[99] "No one," says Mr. Gardner, "is maddened by smoking opium to crimes
of violence, nor does the habit of smoking increase the criminal returns
or swell the number of prison inmates."

[100] Dr. Pereira, _Materia Medica_. Dr. Andrew Clarke estimated on one
occasion that seven-tenths of the patients in St. Bartholomew's Hospital
owed their ill-health to alcohol.

[101] Dr. Tanner's _Practice of Medicine_. Dr. Moore. For an interesting
comparison between opium and alcohol, we may refer our readers to De
Quincey's _Confessions of an Opium Eater_.

[102] Twenty-five drops of laudanum = 1 grain of opium [therefore] 8,000
drops = 320 grains; but Dr. Myers tells us that 2 grains of opium
swallowed = 1 mace (58 grains) smoked, so that De Quincey took what was
equivalent to 160 _mace_ smoked.

[103] Theodore Gautier maintains that "the love of the ideal is so innate
in man that he attempts, as far as he can, to relax the ties which bind
body to soul; and as the means of being in an ecstatic state are not in
the power of all, one drinks for gaiety, another smokes for forgetfulness,
a third devours momentary madness."

[104] It is indeed said of Ennius that he sought inspiration in the
flowing bowl; that he never

            "Nisi potus ad arma
  Exsiluit dicenda."--_Hor._

But then, as Praed says, "poets tell confounded lies," and this may be one
of them. Coleridge, in later times, is said to have sought the same
inspiration from opium; and poems like "Kubla Khan" testify that he found

[105] Enough, as Mr. Brereton says, to form a devil's punchbowl huge
enough for all the population of the British Isles to swim in at the same

[106] Dr. Norman Kerr in a paper read at the Social Science Congress.

[107] "Any serious attempt to check the evil must originate with the
people themselves," said the Chinese Commissioners to Sir Thomas Wade.

[108] To chastise the insolent barbarian, as Lord Palmerston put it to his
electors at Tiverton.

[109] A similar proposal to establish a Russian protectorate over the
members of the Greek Church in Turkey is thus spoken of by Lord Clarendon:
"No sovereign, having a due regard for his own dignity and independence,
could admit proposals which conferred upon a foreign and more powerful
sovereign a right of protection over his own subjects."

[110] pp. 35-37.

[111] From the latest Parliamentary Paper, containing the correspondence
between the Indian and English Governments on the subject of the
negotiations with China, it appears (sects. 43-50) that neither the
British nor Indian Government has any objection to the ratification of the
Chefoo Convention. The _difficulty is to get the other Powers to agree_.

[112] Sir Evelyn Baring. Financial Statement on India for 1882.

[113] A late medical missionary.

[114] Brereton, p. 50. It appears, however, that there are 6,000
Christians already in Japan, the result of fourteen years' preaching.

[115] Intense dislike to foreigners and foreign intercourse was an
ever-present reason for condemning a drug which, more than anything else,
kept the gates of the empire ajar to the "foreign devils."--_Opium
Question Solved._

[116] Comm. on E. I. Finance 1871, Q. 5831.

[117] The same who has lately been in correspondence with the leaders of
the Anti-Opium League.

[118] Comm. on E. I. Finance, Q. 5834.

[119] _Ibid._, Q. 5817.

[120] _Story of the Fuh-kien Mission_, p. 188.

[121] Capt. Hall, _Nemesis_, p. 375.

[122] _Story of the Fuh-kien Mission_, p. 252.

[123] _Times_, Aug. 22, 1882.

[124] _Times_, Aug. 22, 1882.

[125] _Times_, Aug. 22, 1882.

[126] Brereton, p. 68.

[127] See minute by Sir William Muir, Feb. 1868.

[128] Speech at Newcastle, 1880.

[129] Malwa bears a duty of 650, but the consistence of Malwa chest is
90-95, of Bengal 70-75.

[130] Owing to bad crops the revenue from opium _has_ considerably
diminished in the last two years, but the present (1884) crop promises
exceedingly well.

[131] 1882.

[132] Consul Medhurst, 1872.

[133] Sir Rutherford Alcock's paper before the Society of Arts, p. 225.

[134] Justin McCarthy, _History of Our Own Times_, vol. i., p. 181.

[135] Parliamentary Paper, 1882.

[136] The organ of the Society.

[137] Sir Wilfrid Lawson on the Egyptian War.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Footnote marker [52] does not appear in the original text. The placement
is a best guess based on the spacing of the text.

In footnote 102, the symbol representing "therefore" has been replaced by

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "potitical" corrected to "political" (page 52)
  "are are" corrected to "are" (page 59)

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