Imágenes de página
[ocr errors]


-a mere matter of taste-may tively that of hucksters rather than of chance to ruin one. The doom of merchants. The consummation and China is staked, and may come to be climax of all have been reached at determined by a cause so really insig- length, in the wholesale spoliation of nificant, if the real cause, as the in- British merchants—the imprisonment temperance of opium-eaters or opium- of British subjects like the vilest of smokers. High Commissioner Lin felons—the unheard. of violation of all may congratulate himself on the im- international rights, in the forcible mortality achieved for his name; but it detention of the person, and threats maybe,like the melancholy immortality against the life, of the British repreof the last of the Romans, founded on sentative-and, finally, in overt acts the expiring glories and the liberty of of hostility against British shipping, his country; or like the notoriety, not and the murder of British seamen. less immortal, of him who daringlý Such is the final catastrophe which fired that temple of wondrous propor- prolonged perseverance, in one uniform tions, which to create was equally be- course of conduct, as mean as meryond the range of his genius, as the cenary, has not succeeded in avertelevation of his soul to feel all its ing. It was long foreseen by every grandeur. In one evil hour the rule, man of common sagacity, and would hitherto almost unvarying, of Chi. have been effectively provided against, nese policy, has been violently over

and remedied on the instant, by any set by Imperial Commissioner Lin; government of the slightest pretenand insolence, before confined chiefly sions to ability and patriotism. After to external forms, and petty vexations, a course of wanton aggression, conand therefore repulsive and annoying tinued unremittingly by the Chinese, more than deeply hurtful, has been and ending, as described, in the perexchanged for overt aggression, with secution, the loss of liberty, the robcircumstantial aggravation of injuries bery, and, lastly, in the bloodshed of so atrocious, as no longer to leave open British subjects, one British ship of war one avenue by which peace can be was found by chance in the Chinese preserved even for the sake of profit, waters, as the ineffectual messenger of and by the sacrifice, too long submit- protection and vengeance, disgracefulted to, of national honour.

ly cbased off by few war-junks, and In our trading relations with China thus inflaming the arrogance which for political we have had none-we was meant to be chastised or overhave been content to crouch to ty- awed, At the eleventh hour, indeed, ranny in its pettiest and most degrad. we are told that the sleeping thunders ing shapes--to invite oppression by of Great Britain are arousing, and the slavish submission in every conceiv- bolts of vengeance in preparation ; able form. And we have found that that Lord Minto is refurbishing old submission the most patient, and en- ships long in ordinary-starving other durance the most passive, under insult stations by recalling ships in service and insolence accumulated for cen- extraordinary, and, in striving to turies, have not sufficed either to pur- patch up one hole in the far East, chase friendship or to conciliate for leaving and making other gaps in the bearance. The Celestial Empire, like West or the South. For six months the laws of the Medes and Persians, bygone the ports have resounded with remains unchanged and unchangeable the busy hum of warlike armament; ever; and the barbarians of the “ evil but as yet we know of two or three eye,” in return for prostration the men of war only, as indicated by a most abject

, to caprice and exactions flourish of trumpets which of yore the most outrageous and despotic, re

would have been held to signal thirty flected with concomitant circumstances or forty at the least. So poor and of offensive exaggeration from the impoverished have we become, that precincts of the Imperial Court by not only are we forced to borrow ships subordinate provincial delegation, are from one service for anot

but even spurned with the same apparent con

a corps of a few hundreds of marines tempt, and tram pled on with as little

cannot be furnished for China without ceremony, as when Great Britain was first dismantling Passages. no otherwise known in China than by

The opium trade between the East a traders, whose traffic

Indies is in detail and arount as compara- origin as commonly believed ; although


its increase of late years may be said whole quantity produced in Bengal in
to have kept pace to a certain extent 1830, about one third was thus shipped
with that of the consumption of tobacco, to ports in the Eastern Archipelago.
gin, and other spirits or narcotics in this În the opium districts of Bengal,
country, to which, in its effects, it may the plant is cultivated by the Ryots on
bemost nearly likened. Before the year account of the India Government, and
1767, says an Indian journalist, quoted equitably paid at a certain rate of re-
in the Chinese Repository, the import muneration. At Bombay, it is
into China rarely exceeded 200 chests; taxed in a duty of 125 rupees per
in that year it reached 1000, and so chest. It is sufficient for the present
continued for several years, the traffic to say, that the total revenue derived
being wholly in the hands of the Por- from it, which, in 1832, was equal to
tuguese. It was in 1773 that the East £1,000,000, exceeded £2,000,000 in
India Company first made a small ad. 1837, and in the year following may
venture in opium to China, and in be taken to have reached to nearly
1780 a depot of the article was esta. £3,000,000.
blished in Lark's Bay, south of Macao. With these preliminary remarks,
The trade does not then appear to we may now proceed to a concise his.
have been carried on to any advantage, torical sketch of the arbitrary pro-
although it was still continued. The ceedings of the past year, and down
following is a portion of the returns of to the present time, which the Chinese
the produce of Bengal, so far as veri. Government have had recourse to for
fied by the sales of the India Company putting a final stop to the introduction
at Calcutta, commencing with 1798-99 of opium, if not to its consumption ;
to 1836–37 ; the return, year by year,

with the causes ostensibly alleged, or would take up too much space, nor is the pretexts fraudulently advanced in it necessary.

vindication; with the real but less no. Chests. Value in Sicca Rupees.

torious grounds which lie at the bot

tom of all. On the 10th of March, 1798-9, 4172 1,731,161

the Imperial Commissioner Lin made 1807-8, 4538 6,854,157 1817-18, 3692 8,043,197

his appearance at Canton, and on the

17th issued an edict to the Hoppo, to 1827-28, 6650 11,228,416

the effect that, “ pending the stay of So far the return is taken from the the High Commissioner in Canton, Chinese Repository, which proceeds to

and while the consequences of his in1336–7, but the accuracy of the account vestigations, both to foreigners and cannot be entirely relied upon,

In natives, were yet uncertain, all foa circular of the Bombay Chamber of reign merchants were forbidden to go Commerce, and a petition of the Cal- down to Macao ; ” that is, they were cutta merchants, the statement is thus detained prisoners at Canton. On given, for

the following day, the 18th, Lin ad. Value in Rupees.

dressed a proclamation to “Foreign

ers,” of which, as the basis of all sub1837-8, 19,600 21,292,386

sequent measures, the more important
The exports from Bombay and Da- points are extracted as follow:
maun to China, from 1821 to 1836,
are thus stated in the Chinese Repo- Proclamation to Foreigners, from the
sitory :-

Imperial Commissioner, H. E. Lin,
Chests. Value per Chest in Rupees.

(dated 18th March 1839.) 1821, 2,278 2,024

Lin, a high officer of the Chinese 9,333 1,450

empire, now specially appointed an impe1836, 11,724


rial envoy, a president of the board of

war, and viceroy of Hoo Kwang, hereby The Bombay Chamber of Commerce proclaims to the foreigners of every nareturn the total value of the export tion, that they may thoroughly know and from thence, for

understand. Whereas ye, the said fo1836–7, at 24,249,821 rupees.

reigners, coming to Canton to trade, have 1837–8, 11,242,325 do. usually reaped immense profits: therefore

it is that your ships, which in former A proportion of the opium thus

years amounted annually to no more than exported from India was directed to

several tens, now exceed a hundred and other parts besides China ; and of the several tens, which arrive here every year.




[ocr errors]



“ Your import goods, no matter what I, therefore, uniting all these circum. they be, with us find a consumption : and stances, now issue this my edict, and, respecting the cargo which you may wish when it reaches the said foreigners, let to purchase in return, there is nothing in them immediately, and with due respect, which you may not adventure.

in conformity thereto, take all the opium in “I would like to ask you, if, in the wide these said store-ships and deliverit up to the earth under heaven, you can find such an- officers of Government, and allow the Hong other profit-yielding market as this is ? merchants to examine clearly which man

“ Our great Chinese Emperor views all by name gives up so many chests ; the mankind with equal benevole

ace; and

total weight, so many catties and taels; therefore it is that he has thus graciously and let (the Hong merchants) make out a permitted you to trade, and become, as it distinct list to that effect, and hand it up were, steeped to the lips in gain. If to the officers to be checked, that these this port of Canton, however, were to be officers may openly take possession of the shut against you, how could you scheme whole, and have it burned and destroyed, to reap profit more? Moreover, our tea so as to cut off its power of doing mischief; and rhubarb are articles which ye fo- a single atom must not be hidden or conreigners from afar cannot preserve your cealed; and, at one and the same time, let lives without : yet year by year we allow a duly prepared bond be drawn up, writyou to export both beyond seas, without ten in the Chinese and foreign character, the slightest feeling of grudge on our part. stating clearly that the ships afterwards to Never was imperial goodness greater than arrive here shall never, to all eternity, this!

dare to bring any opium. Should any ship

after this bring it, then her whole cargo Formerly the prohibitions of our on board is to be confiscated, and her people empire might still be considered indul- put to death ; and that they will willingly gent, and therefore it was that from all undergo it as the penalty of their crimes : our ports the sycee leaked out as the all this to be stated clearly in the said bond. opium rushed in: now, however, the great Emperor, on hearing of it, actually Upon this occasion, I, the Imperial quivers with indignation, and before he Commissioner, being at Peking, in my own will stay his hand, the evil must be com- person received the Emperor's commands: pletely and entirely done away with. the law, when once uttered, must be put

Respecting our own subjects, he who force : moreover, having brought with opens an opium-shop, or who sells opium, me these orders, and this great irresponis immediately put to death ; and it is sible authority for prevention, they must also in agitation whether or not the mere be executed to the benefit of public busismoker may not be accorded the extreme ness, and may not be compared with that penalty of the law; and ye foreigners who careless examination and mode of acting come to our central land to reside, ought that belong to ordinary matters. If the in reason to submit to our statutes, as do stream of opium cannot be cut off, I the natives of China themselves.

cannot return from this. I am

to bave the same beginning and end (Ang" I find that ye have now anchored at lice, to stand or fall) by the opium Lintin and other places many store-ships, question. There is no such thing as in which are several tens of thousands of suspending my labours in the middle. chests of opium.

Moreover, I find that the indignation of “ Your intention is to dispose of them the people of the inner land is almost to a clandestinely; but ye remember not how man roused against you ; and if ye fostrict we are in making captures at this reigners will not reform and repent—if port: how, then will ye find people who profit continues to be your sole objectwill

convey it for you any more? And, then it is not only with the majesty of our seizures being made with equal severity troops, and the abundance of our forces by through every province of the empire, land and water, that we may sweep you off, what other place have ye where ye dare but we have merely to call upon the comto sell it off? This time opium is indeed · mon people of the land to rise, and these prohibited, and cannot circulate; every would be more than sufficient utterly to man knows that it is a deadly poison ; why, annihilate you. Further, we should, as a then, should ye heap it up in your foreign temporary expedient, close the ships'holds, store-ships, and keep them there long an- and as a final one, shut up the port; and chored on the great sea; not only thereby what difficulty would there be in cutting wasting much money by their heavy ex- off your commerce for ever? Our Chipenses, but exposing them to the chance of nese empire covers many tens of thou. storms, of fire, and other accidents which sands of miles in extent; every sort of no man can foresee ?

produce is there heaped up and running from all intercourse with our respective against Chinese subjects, with esti



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

over, we have no occasion to borrow any (they were at the time all actually prithing from you foreigners; but, I fear, that soners.) On the 24th of March the were we to stop the intercourse, the plans Superintendent went in person to for doing business (and obtaining profit) Canton, and, to use his own words of every one of your countries would at

“Immediately proposed to put an end that moment come to an end ! Ye fo

to the state of difficulty and anxiety then reign traders, who have come from dis..

existent, by the faithful fulfilment of the tant countries, how is it that you have not

Emperor's will; and he respectfully asked yet found out the differerce between the

that he and the rest of the foreign compains of toil and the sweets of ease ?--the

munity might be set at liberty, in order great distance betwixt the power of the

that he might calmly consider and suggest few and the power of the many?

“: In reference to those vagabond foreign- adequate remedies for the great evils so ers who reside in the foreign hongs, and justly denounced by his Imperial Majesty.

He was answered by a close imprisonment are in the habit of selling opium, I already

of more than seven weeks, with armed know their names full well; and those good

men by day and night before his gates, foreigners who do not deal in opium, I

under threats of privation of food, water, am no less acquainted with them also.

and life. " Was this,' he adds, ' becoming Those who can point out the vagabond

treatment to the officer of a friendly. foreigners, and compel them to deliver

nation, recognised by the Emperor, and up their opium—those who first step for

who had always performed his duty peaceward and give the bond before spokon of,

ably and irreproachably, striving in all these are the good foreigners, and I, the

things to afford satisfaction to the proimperial envoy, will speedily bestow upon them some distinguishing mark of my ap

vincial government ?'" probation. Woe and happiness, disgrace For the prevention of "

some shockor honour, are in your hands! It is ye ing catastrophe" on the “person of yourselves who select for yourselves. an imprisoned foreign officer and two

“I have now ordered the Hong mer- hundred defenceless merchants," he chants to go to your factories and explain required, moreover, the delivery of all the matter to you ; and I have limited the opium in their possession, on board three days, within which they must let me ships either within or without the har. have a reply, and at the same time pro bour, to be surrendered to Commisduce the duly prepared bond afore men

sioner Lin. The opium was accordtioned.

ingly given up, under duresse and " Wait till I have consulted the viceroy

threats of forfeiture of life, to the and fooyen, when we shall clearly pro

amount of 20,283 chests, and to the claim the time within which the opium

value of between two and three milmust be delivered up.

lions sterling

The order for delivery • Do not indulge in idle delay and expectation, which will only lead to a vain

during this imprisonment contained repentance. --A special edict.- Taouk.

the following guarantees for damage, wang, 19th year, 2d moon, 4th day.'

and recourse on the Government at

home, with a statement of the horOn the 22d of March, Superintend- rible indignities to which he and all ent Elliot, with these facts before him,

held in bondage with him were subordered all the “ships of her Majesty's jected; and “under the force of subjects at the outer anchorages" to which, and the fear of worse, his con“ proceed forthwith to Hong Kong,

sent was wrung to the surrender of and, hoisting their national colours,

the opium.” be prepared to resist any act of aggression on the part of the Chinese

6 1, Charles Elliot, Chief Superintend. Government." On the 23d, he issued

ent of the trade of British subjects in another public notice, enjoining all

China, presently forcibly detained by the British subjects to make preparations

provincial government, 'together with all for removing their property on board

the merchants of my own and the other

nations settled here, without supplies of certain vessels at Whampoa; to transmit him a list of all claims and debts

food, deprived of our servants, and cut off

countries, (notwithstanding my own official mates of loss and damage incurred ;

demand to be set at liberty, so that I might and stating that he should demand

act without restraint,) have now received passports for all such persons as the commands of the High Commissioner, thought fit to proceed outside (Can

issued directly to me, under the seals of ton) within the space of ten days, the honourable officers, to deliver into his

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

hands all the opium held by the people of that arrangements have been made for the my country.

delivery of the opium lately surrendered « Now I, the said Chief Superintendent, to him for her Majesty's service, by which thus constrained by paramount motives, his Excellency the High Commissioner affecting the safety of the lives and libera has stipulated that the servants shall be reties of all the foreigners here present in stored, after one-fourth of the whole shall Canton, and by other very weighty causes, have been delivered; the be do hereby, in the name and on the behalf permitted to run, after one-half shall have of her Britannic Majesty's Government, been delivered; the trade opened, after enjoin, and require all her Majesty's sub- three-fourths shall have been delivered ; jects now present in Canton, forth with to and every thing to proceed as usual, after make a surrender to me, for the service of the whole shall have been delivered, the her said Majesty's Government, to be signification of which last expression the delivered over to the Government of undersigned does not understand.) China, of all the opium under their re- “ Breach of faith is to be visited, after spective control, and to hold the British three days' loose performance of engageships and vessels engaged in the trade of ments, with the cutting off of supplies of opium subject to my immediate direction; fresh water; after three days more, with and to forward to me, without delay, a the stoppage of food; and, after three days sealed list of all the British-owned opium more, with the last degree of severity (i.e. in their respective possession. And I, DEATH) on the undersigned himself.” the Chief Superintendent, do now, in the

The “ ultimate satisfactory solumost full and unreserved manner, hold myself responsible for and on the behalf of tion,” adds the Superintendent,“ of the her Britannie Majesty's Government, to all

recent difficulties, need give no man an and each of her Majesty's subjects surren

anxious thought.” The terms and condering the said British-owned opium into

ditions were, notwithstanding, faithmy hands, to be delivered over to the Chi- lessly and arrogantly broken by Lin, nese Government. Now I, the said Chief although the surrender of the opium Superintendent; do further specially cau- was accomplished with the strictest tion all her Majesty's subjects here present fidelity; placed, nevertheless, as it was, in Canton, owners of or charged with the on board receiving ships and other management of opium, the property of vessels, as Mr Warren observes, “one British subjects, that, failing the surrender hundred miles distant from the port of the said opium into my hands, at or of Canton; and though within the before six o'clock this day, I, the said Chinese waters, yet as utterly beyond Chief Superintendent, hereby declare her the reach of Chinese power as if it Majesty's Government wholly free of all

had lain on shipboard at Spithead."* manner of responsibility or liability in

“ The servants,” says Captain Elliot, respect of British-owned opium.

in his indignant remonstrance, dated “ And it is specially to be understood,

the 21st of June 1839, addressed to that proof of British property, and value

the Chinese authorities, were not of all British opium, surrendered to me agreeably to this notice, shall be deter- faithfully restored when one-fourth of

the opium had been delivered up; mined upon principles and in a manner hereafter to be defined by her Majesty's the boats were not permitted to run Government.

when one-half had been delivered up; “ Given under my hand and seal of the trade was not really opened when office, at Canton, in China, this 27th day three-fourths had been delivered ; and of March 1839, at six of the clock in the the last pledge, that things should go morning.”

on as usual when the whole should

have been delivered, has been falsified On the surrender of the opium, the by the reduction of the Factories to a following rigorous conditions were im- prison, with one outlet ; the expulsion posed by Lin, for the more stringent of sixteen persons, some of them fulfilment of the compact, and ratified

who never dealt in opium at all, some by Captain Elliot, as announced by clerks, one a lad; and the proposing himself:

of novel and intolerable regulations." “ The undersigned has now to announce, The trade, in consequence, remained

[ocr errors]

* See pamphlet on “ The Opium Question, by Samuel Warren, Esq., F.R.S., of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law,”—a name, we may add, justly endeared to the readers of Magamas to whom is it not ?

« AnteriorContinuar »