« ForrigeFortsett »
considered of much importance, yet their tendent at Canton. 8. Mr. H. Lindsay, number will serve to show that the sub. from his late position in the factory of ject they embrace is highly so. No. 1. Canton, and his present connection with Mr. Thelwall, true to his text, has heaped a mercantile house trading to China, is such a mass of iniquities' on the traders entitled to, and shall receive from us,
much in opium, and on the cultivators of the consideration; the more that he has had poppy in India, as, if strictly true, would the manliness to come forward under his overwhelm the whole parties concerned own name, and that his manner of writing with shame and remorse. He admits, indicates a well-bred gentleman. 9. The however, that he knows nothing of either Chinese Vindicated' is not an ill written India or China—which indeed is proved tract—but it goes as far wrong on one by his book. The only pages of the least side as Mr. Warren does on the other, use are those appropriated to a collection and is not without a taint of cant, which of edicts and proclamations, printed at one would hardly have expected in a Canton, which throw considerable light servant of the Nizam. on the motives of the recent proceedings
We are fearful that the subject on on the part of the Chinese. The remain which we are about to enter, and the der of the farrago libelli is hashed up events now passing in the distant empire chiefly from the exaggerated statements of China, will prove more 'untoward'than collected, from hearsay only, by the Mis- the affair of Navarino was pronounced to sionary Medhurst. 2. This is an ingeni- be, and more disastrous in their immedi. ous, smart, but self-conceited, and, we ate and remote consequences. A sumsuspect, not over honest letter of advice mary of the unhappy results, as far as addressed to Captain Elliot, after the known, amounts to nothing less than facts, as to what he should have done be- these:—the national honour compromised fore them. 3. The Letter to Lord Pal –British subjects insulted, imprisoned, merston, by a Resident in China,' gives a mutilated, and even barbarously massa. plain and correct statement of the present cred-a flourishing commerce annihilatrupture, its causes, and probable effects. ed, and with it three or four millions of 4. The Opium Question,' by Mr. War- annual revenue lost to the state.
We ren, is a piece of pure special pleading, in foresaw and stated, some years ago, in favour of the traders, spun out to 130 this journal (See Quar. Rev. No. C.), closely-printed pages. The avowed object what would be the probable issue of deis to prove that smuggling into China was priving the East India Company of their not criminal, and that the loss sustained exclusive privilege of trading to China, by those who have practised it entitles of substituting the free trade system, and them to indemnification by the British pub- encouraging an indiscriminate intercourse
5. The ‘Brief Observations, of 14 with that country. We were then fully open-printed pages, contain a proposal to aware that, sooner or later, that which bring the disputes to a ' satisfactory con- has happened would come to pass; and clusion,' by laying Canton in ashes, and as some of us have a local and personal marching to Pekin! 6. These Prós and knowledge of China and its inhabitants, Cons' run alternately through the whole we undertake our present task of exampamphlet, neutralising each other in the ining the numerous documents claiming most amusing manner. The author comes, public attention, and of expressing our however, at last to something like a deci- opinions on them, and on the subject gensive conclusion, which will be noticed as erally, with less hesitation than we should we proceed. 7. ' A Barrister-at-law,' we otherwise have done. take to be a mere nom de guerre. The It is hardly necessary to apprise the
opium question' is not honestly discussed reader that opium, the extract from the here, but treated with great levity, and poppy plant, is an article of almost unimutilated : argument costs more trouble versal use in Turkey, Persia, Arabia, Suthan assertion. His concluding paragraph matra, Java, and the whole of the great gives him occasion to pass somewhat of Malayan archipelago-not merely as a a vulgar sneer at a certain Kilkenny drug, but as a source of consolation or Joe,' and the Melbourne clique ;' but of misery, as used sparingly or abused by what either of them have to do with the excess; that it is also in very general matter we cannot discover, unless it be use in India, more especially, we may althat the Barrister supposes they are most say universally, among the Rajpoot among those who may not be likely to race—and a fine race of men they are ; sanction the guarantee of the Superin- we understand also that it is served out
as a ration to the Malay troops in Cey. It does not appear that, while the im. lon. In China, however, the use of opi. portation continued small, the Chinese um would appear to have been known government took much notice of their but little, if at all, in ancient times-nor own prohibitory decrees, either as they indeed till a recent date-as it is still affected their own subjects or the foreign without a name in their own language, merchants. The first edict of 1796 deand called by a corruption of the common clared, that all who should be found name in the East, afooyung. It may, smoking were to be bambooed and pilperhaps, have been introduced in the loried, and that both smugglers and veneighth or ninth century by the Arabians, ders should, on conviction, suffer a more who then had considerable traffic with severe punishment. Other edicts folChina ; but however that may be, down lowed from time to time, and in 1833 an to a comparatively modern period it imperial decree was published to the fol. would seem to have been thought of lowing effect:only as a drug. By degrees, however, its exciting qualities, with a people whose
Let the buyers and smokers of opium be pun.
ished with one hundred blows, and condemned to almost only beverage is weak tea, or an
wear the wooden collar for two months. Then, let unpleasant spirit distilled from rice or them declare the seller's name, that he may be millet, seem to have proved too tempt- seized and punished ; and, in default of his dis. ing; and as the dose after a short time covering the vender, let the smoker be again punrequires to be repeated to keep up the banishment, as being an accomplice. Let man.
ished with one hundred blows and three years' stimulus, it is peculiarly the case with darins and their dependants who buy and smoke opium-eaters, that the increase of appe- opium be punished one degrec more severely than tite grows by what it feeds on.' The others; and let governors of provinces he required importation, therefore, naturally kept under their jurisdiction; and let a joint memorial pace with the increased demand-which be sent in, representing the conduct of those offi
. certainly was not practically interfered cers who have connived at the practice.'— Iniqui. with by repeated prohibitory edicts from ties of the Opium Trade, p. 121. Pekin--the earliest, that of the emperor from this time down to the year 1836, Kia-king, in 1796. Mr. Davis, the last there were issued from Pekin various chief officer of the East India Company's decrees, interdicting the import of opium, factory, states it to have been as under : under heightened penalties ; but they
were still either disregarded, or the pracYear, Chests.
Dollars. Sold: Dolls. 1821 4.628 average price 1,375
6,132.100 tice connived at, or it was found impos1825 9.621
723 6,955,983 sible to carry them into effect. So early, 1830 18.760
587 11.012, 120 however, as 1821, the governor of Canton, 1832 23,670
by energetic measures, had succeeded in The American merchant, Mr. King expelling the opium ships from Whampo, (Opium Crisis), states the progressive an anchorage high up above the Bocca increase as follows:
Tigris, (or Bogue, as usually called,) and • The East India Company, whose manufacture about twelve miles from the factories. had Auctuated between 3,000 and 5,000 chests In consequence of this, the contrabandthrough the first twenty-four years of Chinese ists formed a depôt, or receiving ships, interdiction (1800—1824), rose rapidly to 10,600 for the prohibited article, at Lintin, an in 1833, and to near 17,000 in 1837 ! • The Malwa product went on with even greater
island below the Bogue, and in the bay rapidity--from 1,600 chests in 1821, to upwards of between Macao and the main land to the 20,000 in 1837! The total profit and revenue eastward ; from whence, ever since that accruing to the East India Company, on both de, time, smuggling was carried on with scriptions, for that year, exceed 12,000,000 rupees.' Canton by means of clippers, or fast.sail
ing craft, and long row.boats. In 1838 it had acquired its maximum, It may be right to give a few extracts but fell back, as the same author states, from the official documents above alluded in 1839, to about 20,000 chests, which is to, not only to show that the traders in something less than the quantity given opium were fully forewarned of the conup by Captain Elliott, and said to have sequences that were likely to happen, been wantonly destroyed by the Pekin but also as a specimen of the manner in commissioner; the few hundred chests which the Chinese, in the upper ranks of above this quantity appear to have been society, express their thoughts and opinpurchased by the superintendent, to keep ions, and which will prove, as appears to faith with the commissioner Lin, by mak- us, that we have been used to underrate ing up the amount originally given in. their intellectual faculties. This has arisen
mainly from the general ignorance that | hood; and how are they to be disposed of? More. prevails respecting their language, moral over, the barbarian ships, being on the high seas, character, and domestic habits, in conse-entrepôt, and the native sea-going vessels can meet can repair to any island that may be selected as an quence of the restricted intercourse of them there; it is then impossible to cut off the Europeans, confined almost wholly to the trade. Of late years, the foreign vessels have visit. people of Canton, whose morals may be ed all the ports of Fuhkeen, Chekeäng, Keängnan, suspected not to have received much im. Shan-tung, even to Teëntsin, and Mantchouria, for provement by their dealings with foreign- once expelled by the local authorities, yet it is re. purpose of selling opium. And although at ers. It should be observed, that nothing ported that the quantity sold by them was not could be more wretched, till very lately, of Canton should be cut off, yet it will not be pos small. Thus it appears that, though the commerce than our translations of the state papers sible to prevent the clandestine introduction of and official edicts published in the Gazette merchandize.'—p. 49. ` of Pekin.
In 1836, Hue-Nae-tse, a Vice-President of the Sacrificial Court, calls the attention of the emperor to a long series of enactments concerning opium-smoking. He commences by stating, that the more severe the edicts have been made, the more had the evil increased.
He notices the removal of the vessels quainted with all the usages and tricks of to Lintin, and shows how well he is ac
Here are constantly anchored seven or eight large ships, in which the opium is kept, and which are therefore called "receiving ships." At Canton there are brokers of the drug, who are called "mel. ters." These pay the price of the drug into the hands of the resident foreigners, who give them
When any one,' he says, 'is long habituated to the inhaling it, it becomes necessary to resort to it at regular intervals, and the habit of using it be-orders for the delivery of the opium from the reing inveterate, is destructive of time, injurious to ceiving ships. There are carrying boats plying up property, and yet dear to one even as life; of those and down the river, and these are vulgarly called who use it to great excess, the breath becomes fee. "fast crabs" and "scrambling dragons." They ble, the body wasted, the face sallow, the teeth are well armed with guns and other weapons, and black; the individuals clearly see the evil effects of are manned with some scores of desperadoes, who it, yet cannot refrain.'-p. 46. ply their oars as if they were wings to fly with. they pass are largely bribed. All the custom-houses and military posts which encounter any of the armed cruising boats, they If they happen to are so audacious as to resist, and slaughter and carnage ensue.'—p. 50.
He adverts to the reign of Kia-king and Kien-lung, when opium paid a duty, and passed through the hands of the Hong merchants, in exchange for tea and other goods; but now,' he says, 'the He again urges that, as the closing prohibitions of government being so strict their ports against commerce would not against it, none dare openly exchange be expedient, and as the laws against the goods for it; all secretly purchase it with importation of opium are quite inoperamoney. . The foreign merchants tive, have clandestinely sold opium for money, which has rendered it necessary for them to export foreign silver (that is, dollars): thus, foreign money has been going out of the country, while none comes into it.' One of the arguments he makes use of, to induce the Emperor to return to the practice of imposing a duty and legalising the trade, is the impossibility of stopping the illegal importation. He also disclaims the vaunting affectation of the government officers, that China has no occasion for, despises, and would rather be without, foreign trade.
the only method left is to resort to the former sys. tem, and to permit the barbarian merchants to im port opium, paying duty thereon as a medicine, and to require that, after having passed the custom. only in exchange for merchandise, and no money house, shall be delivered to the Hong merchants be paid for it. The barbarians, finding that the amount of duties to be paid on it is less than what therein. Foreign money should be placed on the is now spent in bribes, will also gladly comply same footing with sycee silver, and the exportation of it should be equally prohibited. Offenders when caught should be punished by the entire destruction of the money that may be found with them.'of the opium they may have, and the confiscation
He suggests, therefore, an enactment,
Is it proposed entirely to cut off the foreign that any officer, scholar, or soldier, found trade, and thus to remove the root, to dam up the guilty of secretly smoking opium, shall source of the evil? The Celestial Dynasty would be immediately dismissed from public not, indeed, hesitate to relinquish the few millions employ, without being made liable to any other penalty. In this way,' he says, 'lenity will become, in fact, severity towards them. Lastly,' he adds, which is
of duties arising therefrom. But all the nations of the West have had a general market open to their ships for upwards of a thousand years, while the dealers in opium are the English alone; it would be wrong, for the sake of cutting off the English trade, to cut off that of all the other nations. Besides, very remarkable, 'let no regard be paid the hundreds of thousands of people living on the to the purchase and use of opium on the sea-coast depend wholly on trade for their liveli- part of the people generally!
'It has been represented that advantage is taken of the laws against opium, by extortionate underlings not known, then, that where the government enacts and worthless vagrants to benefit themselves. Is it a law, there is necessarily an infraction of that law? And though the law should sometimes be relaxed, and become ineffectual, yet surely it should not on that account be abolished, any more than we would altogether cease to eat because of diseas
any one should suggest a doubt, that to remove the existing prohibitions will detract from the dignity of the government, I would ask,' he says, 'if he is ignorant that the pleasures of the table and of the nuptial couch may also be indulged in, to the injury of health? Nor are the invigorating drugs, footzee and wootow, de-ed stoppages of the throat. When have not prosvoid of poisonous qualities, yet it has titution, gambling, treason, robbery, and such like never been heard that any one of these infractions of the laws, afforded occasions for unhas been interdicted.'-What these two derlings and vagrants to benefit themselves, and by drugs may be we have not been able to there have been frequent instances, and, as any falsehood and bribery to amass wealth? Of these discover; but it is evident that Heu-Nae- instance is discovered, punishment is inflicted. tse thinks much less of the poisonous But none surely would contend that the law, bequality of opium than some of his coun- therefore be abrogated! The laws that forbid the trymen and our own philanthropists do. people to do wrong may be likened to the dykes He has much more consideration for the which prevent the overflowing of water. If any silver taken out of the country, than for one, then, urging that dykes are very old, and the health of the people. therefore useless, we should have them thrown of the impetuous rush and all-destroying overflow! down, what words could express the consequences Yet the provincials, when discussing the subject of opium, being perplexed and bewildered by it, think that a prohibition, which does not utterly prohibit, the importation of the drug. Day and night I is no better than one which does not at all prevent have meditated on this, and can in truth see no wisdom in the opinion.'-Thelwall, pp. 68, 69. prid
cause in such instances rendered ineffectual, should
In speaking of the broad cloths and camlets and cotton goods brought to China by foreigners, he observes, these are in constant request, though the silk and cotton goods of China are not insufficient in quantity;' 'but,' he adds, 'all men prize what is strange, and undervalue what is in ordinary use.'
This memorial of Heu-Nae-tse, being laid before the emperor, was ordered to be transmitted to the governor and officers of Canton, without a single observation on the subject of legalising the trade, which the American author of the 'Opium Crisis' construed as an 'ominous silence.' The provincial officers and the traders, however, were willing to consider this silence to imply consent; and, in consequence, a new stimulus was given to the culture of the poppy in India, and to its exportation, principally to Singapore and China. But these delusive hopes were soon doomed to be blasted. Towards the end of the same year, 1836, two other memorials were received at Canton, after having first been submitted to the emperor; ( wherein,' says Mr. King, the plan of the legalisationists was utterly and ably reprobated.' One of these memorials is in Mr. Thelwall's col- of that portion of the country I have it in lection, who pronounces it to be 'a calm my power to say, that the poppy is cultiand deliberate view of the opium question, vated all over the hills and open chamin which the welfare of the Chinese em-paign, and that the quantity of opium anpire and people is concerned-the writer nually produced there cannot be less than reasoning thereon like a politician, a phi- several thousand chests...... The lack losopher, and a philanthropist.' double to what it formerly was, and the of silver in that province is, nevertheless, cause is, that the consumers of the drug are very many, and that those who are choice and dainty, with regard to its quality, always prefer the foreign article.' He goes on to ask, "if all the rich and fertile ground be used for planting the poppy, and if the people, hoping for a large profit therefrom, madly engage in its cultivation, where will flax and the mulberry-tree be cultivated, or wheat and rye be planted? To draw off in this way the waters of the great fountain requisite for the production of food and raiment,
We learn from this minister that no laws had availed to prevent either the cultivation of the poppy plant, or the preparation of opium, in China itself. Of any of these provinces,' he says, 'except Yunnan, I do not presume to speak; but
This was the work of Tchoo-tsun, a member of the Board of Rites and of the Council-and an able memorial it is; but entirely at variance with the views of Heu-Nae-tse. He commences by submitting that wherever an evil exists it should at once be removed; and that the laws should never be suffered to fall into desuetude.' Having accurately described what takes place, with regard to the opium trading, he strongly contends for the vigorous execution of the laws, and reprobates the change proposed by the other. He says:
and to lavish them upon the root whence proposal to alter the law had been, 'that calamity and disaster spring forth, is an crafty thieves and villains on all hands, error which may be compared to that of began to raise their heads and open their a physician, who, when treating a mere eyes, gazing about and pointing the finexternal disease, should drive it inwards ger, under the notion that, when once to the heart and the centre of the body.' these prohibitions are repealed, thenceHe concludes this part of his subject in forth and for ever they may regard themthe following words:
selves free from every restraint and from
every cause of fear.' • To sum up the matter,--the wide.spreading in. fluence of opium, when regarded simply as in the interval, between the receipt of the
Mr. King gives his testimony that in when regarded as hurtful to the people, it demands two memorials, 'crafty thieves and vilmost anxious consideration : for in the people lies lains had on all hands begun to raise their the very foundation of the empire. Property, it is heads;' and abroad, he says, “we know true, is that on which the subsistence of the people depends. Yet a deficiency of it may be supplied, the cheer was sent up--a few more doses and an impoverished people improved; whereas it of the drug, and all is ours! the opium is beyond the power of any artificial means to save trade for ever! This rejoicing, however, a people enervated by luxury.'-- Thelwall, pp. 73.
was but short-lived, as, before the close 74.
of October, a decree of the emperor was Heu-Nae-tse considered the people, in received at Canton, declaring the drug reference to the opium question, as not to have pervaded the country with its worth notice; implying, that the small baneful influence;, commanding the proquantity used by each could do them no vincial officers '10 apprehend the traitor. harm; all his concern is about officers, ous natives who sell opium, and all others scholars, and soldiers ;' these, he thinks, concerned therein ;' and at the same time by indulging to excess, would be apt to giving strict orders for the expulsion of neglect their important duties, while the the importers from China. This expullabouring poor can only afford to take it sion, however, was not so easy to be efoccasionally, as laborum dulce lenimen. fected; the fact was, the Hong merTchoo-tsun, on the contrary, has an eye chants, during the year 1837, forbore to to the enervating effects of two centuries press the departure of the proscribed with of peace; and, admitting that it is now their opium vessels. But the Canton govnot practicable to put a sudden and entire ernment saw the necessity of doing some. stop to the commercial intercourse of fo- thing, in consequence of the orders from reigners,' thinks, nevertheless, the dan- Pekin, and the first step was the breaking ger should be duly considered and pro- up of the native communication between vided against, the ports of the several the Lintin depôt and the city, which took provinces guarded with strictness, and place in May, 1838. The importations, some chastisement administered, as a warn- nevertheless, continued to increase, and ing and foretaste of what may be antici- many thousand chests were delivered at pated.? He distinguishes the English in Whampoa, and several of them are stated particular, who, he says,
are of the race
to have found their way even into the fo. of foreigners called Hung-maow (red- reign factories. The deliveries contipates);' and has no doubt that in intro- nued till September, 1838, exceeding in ducing opium their purpose has been to
the five preceding months 10,000 chests, enfeeble the celestial empire.' And he all in direct violation of the emperor's
edict. About this time, however, many warns the red-pates that
seizures and bloody collisions took place, • If they dare to continue in violent and outra- and continued until the month of Decemgeous opposition, and presume to pass over the a!. ber, when one of the English adventurers, thundering fire from our cannon must be opened being detected in the act of smuggling upon them, to make them quake before the terror opium into one of the factories, a general
In short, the principle on which the stoppage of trade was declared; one of far.travelled strangers are to be cherished is this :
the Hong merchants, implicated in the always, in the first instance, to employ reason as the weapon whereby to conquer them, and on no
transaction, was sent down to wear the account to assume a violent and vehement deport- can gue (or wooden collar) round his neck ment; but when it becomes necessary to resort to at Whampoa, and the rest of this body military force, then never to employ it in a weak employed themselves in devising a mode is exercised should see no cause for fear or dread." of ejectment for the detected foreigner,
to save him and themselves from the peril He adds, that the instant effect of the that threatened them.
of our arms.