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emperor's edict for the destruction was country on the globe, intersected with promulgated at Canton on the 3d June ; numerous navigable rivers (two of the and a letter from the agent of Lloyd's, first magnitude) and their affluent streams; dated 25th June, states, The last of the an internal navigation, unparalleled even opium is to be destroyed this day. Now, in Europe, extending in one line 1200 the intervening period of twenty-two miles, with a single portage, and connectdays, at 300 chests destroyed per day (the ing the northern capital with the great number stated to have been settled for southern emporium of foreign trade ;the process), would give no more than when we find that this great mass of 6600 chests, not one-third of the quantity human beings are supplied with all the delivered. Has Lin, too, become a necessaries of life, and most of the lux. smuggler of opium? Whatever may be uries, without foreign aid ; that they are the case, the crisis has passed: the sacri- living in a state of peaceful industry, gov. fice has been made—it did not satisfy erned by a code of laws peculiarly their the Chinese, but forthwith tempted them own, and wholly unlike those of any to new audacities--and the consequences other nation : using a written, original, are to follow.
and philosophically constructed language, The American letter-writer deprecates which bears no affinity to any other, and war, which, he says, would not be against of so high an antiquity that neither the the Chinese government, but the Chinese records nor the memory of man run to people. We were
once of the same the contrary ;-when we find the arts opinion. We indeed deemed the pro. almost all in a state of high advancement, ceedings of the Imperial Commissioner and many of them of extreme beauty ;to have been carried to an extremity for example, their silks, satins, sculptures which could admit of no justification, in wood, in ivory, and horn, such as those considering how long a legitimate com- exquisitely-wrought ivory fans and horn mercial intercourse (valuable to both lanterns, which we have not yet been parties) had subsisted, and the great able to imitate ;-their porcelain vases, number of years that the opium trade had to the beauty and transparency of which been tolerated, so far, at least, by the none of the nations of Europe have yet Pekin government, that it had entirely attained ;-when we reflect that the art overlooked its own decrees, both as re. of printing has been practised by them garded foreigners and Chinese. But, from time immemorial, and thousands nevertheless, had matters remained as upon thousands of volumes published on they were at the point to which we have the various subjects of government, laws, brought them, and had the Commissioner morals, and religion (pagan as it is), on Lin not proceeded to acts against British agriculture, gardening, and other domessubjects still more outrageous than the tic arts, together with the lighter kinds violence by which he obtained possession of reading, as novels, plays, and romancof the opium, we should still have advo. es ;-when, moreover, we find, what is cated a peaceable adjustment of the not to be found elsewhere in the whole question ; but this appears to be now im- Eastern world, this vast population living possible.
in houses of stone, or brick, or wood, The question is, however, a very grave neatly fitted up and furnished, the upper
Notwithstanding all the irritating and middle ranks dressed in silks and reflections to which these recent occur- satins, and the peasantry in cotton rences give rise in every English mind, clothing-advantages, too, which their we cannot get rid of a certain predilec- ancestors possessed when our own were tion in favour of China. We cannot rudely wrapped in the skins of animals; divest ourselves of the recollection, that when we find them enjoying the luxury it is the oldest nation on the whole earth of lying in beds surrounded with curat present existing ; one whose annals tains, sitting on chairs and sofas, and extend to at least 3000 years, brought eating their meals off tables, while other down in a regular and uncontradicted orientals are still squatting on the ground; history, in which we find an unbroken —when we consider these things, we conseries of dynasties, ruling over a popula- fess ourselves unable to regard the Chi. tion exceeding that of any other empire nese without a feeling of respect; nor in the world in aumbers, yet one, un. are we surprised that, to quote only one changeable, to all appearance, unmixed. eye-witness, the Right Honourable Henry When, moreover, we find such a multi- Ellis, after traversing the land from Pekin tudinous population, possessed of the to Canton, should say :largest, most fertile, and best watered • It is impossible to travel through the emperor
of China's dominions without feeling that he has | English people know of the internal power of the the finest country within an imperial ringfence in
country, they are about to enter the lists with three hundred millions of intelligent human beings, forming the mightiest nation upon earth; one not to be coerced by some sixteen hundred men, as Mr. Lindsay proposes. If the Chinese are deter. of warfare on which we must engage will be of mined, as a nation, to resist, then, I fear, the scale such a magnitude as to be totally out of the power of the British empire to follow up; and yet of the two evils, since we have now crossed the Rubicon, the scabbard, I would rather fight it out manfully since we have now drawn the sword and cast away than bend our necks for the Chinese to set their feet upon; for, with all their good qualities, they are not magnanimous, and would show but little generosity towards a fallen foe.'
Thus far from Canton.
It seems to us absurd to contemplate such a nation, with such a history, and such a country, without far more respect than European writers are in the habit of expressing. Whatever defects we may see in the details of its government, still we must feel that there is some grand principle of good management at the bottom-something which no other na tion has been able to match. And indeed we must take the liberty of remarking, that, in comparing the official Reports and other Chinese state documents, comprehended in the parliamentary folio now on our table, with almost all the specimens of English diplomacy bound up within the same blue cover, we are more and more disposed to pause about adopting the self-satisfied contemptuous tone of thinking and speaking as to China, which has been so much in fashion both in and out of Downing Street.
While on this part of the subject, we may here introduce an extract from a letter in our possession, written last summer at Canton by a gentleman wholly unconnected with trade.
'Macao, 8th July.
I had written the above at Canton some days previously, and have now come down here, leaving but one British subject behind me; but he lives with the Americans, and passes for one of them. The American ships are now at Whampo, in security. The British ships are lying at anchor at Hong-Kong; and in the event of any hostilities ensuing between our government and that of the United States, would all be easily captured by the two American ships.of-war at anchor here. Strange to say, in this important crisis we have no English vessel of war here! The commissioner Lin is a very remarkable man, especially for a Chinese. He has frequently sent to me for information upon subjects of history, geography, coins, medals, the steam engine, &c. &c., and seems to feel an interest in matters that the other mandarins affect to look upon with contempt.
There is now in circulation here a very curious document, being no less than a letter from the imperial commissioner, the viceroy, and fouyuen, to her majesty the Queen of England; but as they insisted on writing to her as their equal, Captain Elliott declines to forward it. It refers chiefly to the opium trade, praying that she will take steps to put it down. It is a very good and sensible letter; and with the exception of one or two expressions, respectful enough throughout. I am, &c.'
You will, of course, be acquainted long ere this can reach you with the desperate state of our af. fairs in China. I can scarce find words to describe the pass to which matters have been brought. The opium trade is the cause; but it does not end with the opium trade. It has also embarrassed seriously our legal trade, which is in such a position that I can see no medium course to re-open it, except by means of a successful war, or the most cringing and humiliating concessions. The former I deprecate, as we have a bad, a notoriously unjust, cause to build upon; and if circumstances compel us to the second, why then, the sooner the better, and let us put the best face upon matters that we can. Meantime the Americans, most luckily for them, not being politically mixed up with the opium trade,
One of the expressions here alluded to is the address To the barbarian Queen Victoria.' We have shown elsewheret how wholly mistaken is this translation; as we unfortunately are, are preparing to renew their commercial intercourse with the Chinese, as and we are only surprised that Mr. Morriif nothing had happened; while all the British sub- son did not take a esson from late jects are ordered out of Canton by the chief super-father's Chinese and English Dictionintendent. The British ships and property are or. dered by the same authority to remain outside; and ary,' where he will find that, in the any transactions for British accounts must pass, pro eighteen significations of the character E, tempore, through the hands of the Americans. I the word barbarian is not included. Its cannot tell you how ashamed I feel of the state general meaning is something strange, of affairs here. I am certainly averse to retrace our steps, and confess to the Chinese that all we foreign; and the sense in the address is, have said and threatened before is just so much bullying and blustering, to which they need pay no attention; and yet to try the voie de fait and fail, would, I fear, be to have our flag banished from those scas, and the whole of the foreign trade to pass through the hands of the Americans, as took place at Japan some couple of hundred years ago, in the case of the Portuguese and Dutchmen.
Again, with reference to the force required for the renewal of our intercourse with the Chinese on higher or more honourable grounds, little as the
The Duke of Wellington, in his memorandum of March, 1835, recommended two things: first, that the English authorities should most carefully abstain from mixing themselves up with the opium traders; and second, that, in order to enable them to transact their proper business with security and dignity, there should always be at hand a stout frigate' and a lesser vessel of war! Quarterly Review, No. 100.
simply, “To the Foreign Queen Victoria. we apprehend, are defined ; and if any of We do not see that anything would have his acts fall beyond the scope of his combeen gained in courtesy had the usual mission, the principal is not responsible. name of English (Hung-mou) been adopt. Suppose, for instance, an agent for the ed-nor yet that the Commissioner Lin owner of a great estate on the west coast would have been more accurate had he of Ireland, availing himself of the name, written, “To the red-haired Queen Victo- character, and credit of his principal, ria.' Great offence was given to the late should be able to raise a large sum of Lord Napier and his friends by his being money, ostensibly on his account, and styled, in some of the translations, the embark with it for that happy land where Barbarian Eye-meaning neither more runaway rogues can dwell in security nor less than the foreign superintenilent or and unmolested—will Mr. Warren mainoverseer ; but we thought the blunder had tain that the owner of the estate, whose been sufficiently exposed. Enough, how- name was made use of, is bound by the ever, for the present, of the Chinese; fraudulent act of his agent to replace the we shall know them better soon, and they money? But Mr. Warren takes up ano
ther ground equally untenable: he asks, Among other questions of importance "Can it be seriously suggested that the to which the opium crisis has given rise, “ trade and commerce," which Captain is one of a financial nature, -Whether Elliott was sent to protect and promote, any, or what, or by whom, restitution is did not extend to the traffic in opium to be made for the value of the large which was contraband ?' In reply, we amount of property delivered up on do 'seriously suggest that the trade and Captain Elliott's order, said to be about commerce in question did not include two millions and a half sterling ;-that is opium. to say, is the British government, or is Would
any British minister so far stul. the East India Company-in whose terri- tify himself as to instruct, for instance, tory the greater part of the opium was the superintendent, or chief of the comproduced, and through whose custom- mission, or by whatever title he may be houses it was sent to China-or are the called, to protect and promote smuggling opium dealers themselves to sustain that at Canton, at the same time that he is loss? This question, in our opinion, is instructing a consulto take special nonot yet ripe for solution. The now un- tice of all prohibitions, so that he may avoidable and immediate hostilities must admonish all British subjects against first be brought to a point, before some carrying on an illicit commerce ;' and, of the most important practical data can moreover, that he is diligently to atbe ascertained.
tend to this part of his duty, in order to In the mean time the opium traders are prevent smuggling ?' But Mr. Warren using their best exertions to induce the will find, on referring to Captain Elliott's British government to indemnify them for instructions, which we understand to be the whole amount of the loss. The gov- the same as those of the late Lord ernment would, in our opinion, establish Napier, that they are not 'vague and a most dangerous precedent by thus con- obscure,' as he pronounces them to be, senting to reward illegal transactions, on on this point; but that the mercantile the promise or pledge of an authorised interests, which these officers were sent agent. If such an agent, the mere superin. to protect, are such and no other than, tendent of trade, can bind the government as expressed therein, 'the trade and to the payment of millions, what might commerce of our subjects in the peacenot an ainbassador, chargé d'affaires, or able prosecution of all lawful enterprises.' even secretary of legation do? The thing He will find, too, that Captain Elliott appears to us utterly inadmissible. The himself perfectly understood that his comablest advocate for the traders is Mr. mission was thus limited ; that it was Warren,* who argues the case as between not until the very day he signed the a principal and his agent, and maintains grand order that he ever compromised that the former is responsible for the acts himself to the Chinese as having any of the latter. That doctrine, however, in concern in, or control over, the traders the broad view taken of it, cannot be in opium. It is the sudden change of sustained. The instructions to an agent, resolution as to this matter, which forms Mr. Warren is a barrister of the Inner Temple
the most extraordinary point in the -and the author of the highly popular work called whole story as told in these Parliament. • Diary of a late Physician.'
ary documents, VOL. LXV.
Another learned advocate, who calls But it is alleged that the Indian ryots, himself a barrister at law,' has made a or farmers, are compelled to cultivate discovery we were not prepared for-he the poppy, to the exclusion of other proqualifies it, indeed, with an if, but we ducts. We doubt this very much. it is fear his if, in the present case, will be true, no doubt, that the Company have no peacemaker-- he says, if the empe- advanced money to help ryots engaged ror gave
his sanction to his authorities in this as well as in other branches of in Canton—(which he never did, but cultivation-the growth of rice, for inthe contrary)-- to permit the importa- stance, out of which arruck is madetion of opium, notwithstanding the law but we cannot see that the persons who (of 1796), it was as much a repeal of the bought opium for the purposes of an il. law, as if the formal revocation of it legal trade, and lost it in the course of had actually taken place, and the pun- their proceedings, have any legal claim ishing persons for the violation of it, is of indemnity against the government of as unjust and cruel, as if it were an ex Bengal. The House of Commons, we post facto law altogether. Were this are told, refused on one occasion to ingood law, what a number of our old sta- terfere with these internal territorial artute-books might be committed to the rangements of the Company, and there. flames ! Choo-tsun argues the point fore the British nation is compromised ! much better. We agree with him that But we reject such inferences. Firstly, the non-execution of a law may happen why should the House of Commons confrom ignorance, indifference, or conniv- clude that one of the most blest of mediance, but that none of these can repeal cal articles could only be grown in India the law or affect its validity.
with a view to immoral indulgences in We apprehend that Captain Elliott China. So much for those who argue stood precisely in the same position this whole question as if it were one of with the late East India Company's su- pure ethics. Secondly, for rational per. percargoes. These gentlemen, as well sons who look at matters of business as the commanders of the East India with common sense, would it not have ships, were strictly prohibited from hav. been rather hard on the East India Com. ing, directly or indirectly, any concern pany, after stripping them of all the with the importation of opium ; not from benefits derived from trade, and particu. any abstract moral aversion to the drug, larly that most lucrative branch of it but simply because it had been declared with China, to dictate to them the mancontraband by the Pekin government ; ner in which they should raise a revenue and it will not be denied, that every gov- from the cultivation of their land ? Lord ernment has a full right to declare what Sandon, we perceive, has been prevailed foreign articles may, and what shall not, upon by a certain set or sect of persons be imported. But, say the advocates for to present a petition against the growth the traders, the poppy is grown in the of opium in India. Among them are possessions of the East India Company, “Quakers sly and Presbyterians sour,'the drug is carefully prepared there for excellent people, but sometimes more the China market. it passes through their busy than wise. Has the noble lord custom-houses, and its destination is well consulted his constituents of Liverpool ? known. What then? Do no smuggled Lastly, it has been said that the opium goods for France, Spain, and the two ships were not in China waters when the Americas pass through our custom hous- seizure was made. This plea cannot avail. es, with a sufficient knowledge of their Hong-Kong is close to the continent of several destinations, and is any attempt China, in the bay of Macao, and as much made to stop them. Does France make any in China as Spithead is in England. attempt to prevent her brandies, silks, or But we must say a word or two more any other article from being smuggled in on a plea which has already been glanced to England ? Or the Dutch their gins or at: we mean, the alleged encouragement sweet waters? Do any of the smugglers given to the introduction of opium by the of these nations, or their governments, Chinese themselves. No doubt it has make any reclamation on ours for proper- been winked at by inferior officers, as in ty lost, or vessels destroyed by our coast other nations, where smuggled articles blockade or revenue cruisers ? Certainly are generally sought after with avidity; not; the smugglers and their employers it was this that made our coast blockades upon
themselves all risks of their ille and coast guards necessary. Most men, gal enterprises, well knowing that no man says Choo-tsun, “prize what is strange; can take advantage of his own wrong. and so we find it at most of our own great
ports. It is well known how eagerly, at This fact was so notorious that the whole of Canthe bathing-places on the coast, the ladies ton was placarded with pasquinades in doggerel seek to gratify their desires in procuring hopeful son. About the same period, for the first rhymes about the viceroy, his four boats, and his Brussels lace, (frequently de facto Eng-time in the history of the opium trade, foreigners lish,) French gloves, silks, &c., through commenced actually to carry on a smuggling trade the means of some old woman, who is themselves in European boats.'-Lindsay, p. 15. always at hand to wait on them, well If any one of less authority than Mr. stuffed with such like commodities. We Lindsay, who was on the spot, had stated all remember the carriage of the lady of this, we should scarcely have felt disposed a lord-chief-justice of the Court of King's to give it credit. But, with such an exBench being stopped on the highway, the ample before them, can it be surprising smuggled goods seized, and a penalty of that all the inferior officers of the govern10007. laid on the coach. If smugglers ment became active smugglers of opium? had not been encouraged along our shores why should we have to pay 400 commissioned officers of the navy and 4000 seamen, as a coast-guard against their illicit practices? This plea, then, of encouragement by the subaltern officers, while the government was denouncing the trade under severe penalties, will not we think, avail. beton benhoro matela
that they not only connived at, but participated in the profits of, the tradetheir share of which, upon a moderate estimate, is stated by Mr. Lindsay at not less than 280,000l. annually; this sum being divided between the viceroy, the hoppo, the admiral of the station, and their dependants?'
Some of their advocates suggest a partial remuneration for their losses; but the main question is, who is to advance the money? The Pro and Con' gentleman finds no difficulty on this point. He de