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over, we have no occasion to borrow any thing from you foreigners; but, I fear, that were we to stop the intercourse, the plans for doing business (and obtaining profit) of every one of your countries would at that moment come to an end! Ye foreign traders, who have come from distant countries, how is it that you have not yet found out the difference between the pains of toil and the sweets of ease ?--the great distance betwixt the power of the few and the power of the many?
"In reference to those vagabond foreigners who reside in the foreign hongs, and are in the habit of selling opium, I already know their names full well; and those good foreigners who do not deal in opium, I am no less acquainted with them also. Those who can point out the vagabond foreigners, and compel them to deliver up their opium-those who first step forward and give the bond before spokon of, these are the good foreigners, and I, the imperial envoy, will speedily bestow upon them some distinguishing mark of my approbation. Woe and happiness, disgrace or honour, are in your hands! It is ye yourselves who select for yourselves.
"I have now ordered the Hong merchants to go to your factories and explain the matter to you; and I have limited three days, within which they must let me have a reply, and at the same time produce the duly prepared bond afore mentioned.
"Wait till I have consulted the viceroy and fooyen, when we shall clearly proclaim the time within which the opium must be delivered up.
"Do not indulge in idle delay and expectation, which will only lead to a vain repentance. A special edict.-Taoukwang, 19th year, 2d moon, 4th day.”
On the 22d of March, Superintendent Elliot, with these facts before him, ordered all the "ships of her Majesty's subjects at the outer anchorages" to "proceed forthwith to Hong Kong, and, hoisting their national colours, be prepared to resist any act of aggression on the part of the Chinese Government." On the 23d, he issued another public notice, enjoining all British subjects to make preparations for removing their property on board certain vessels at Whampoa; to transmit him a list of all claims and debts against Chinese subjects, with estimates of loss and damage incurred; and stating that he should demand passports for all such persons as thought fit to proceed outside (Canton) within the space of ten days,
(they were at the time all actually prisoners.) On the 24th of March the Superintendent went in person to Canton, and, to use his own words—
"Immediately proposed to put an end to the state of difficulty and anxiety then existent, by the faithful fulfilment of the Emperor's will; and he respectfully asked that he and the rest of the foreign community might be set at liberty, in order that he might calmly consider and suggest adequate remedies for the great evils so justly denounced by his Imperial Majesty. He was answered by a close imprisonment of more than seven weeks, with armed men by day and night before his gates, under threats of privation of food, water, and life. Was this,' he adds, becoming treatment to the officer of a friendly nation, recognised by the Emperor, and who had always performed his duty peaceably and irreproachably, striving in all things to afford satisfaction to the provincial government?" "
For the prevention of "some shocking catastrophe on the "person of an imprisoned foreign officer and two hundred defenceless merchants," he required, moreover, the delivery of all the opium in their possession, on board ships either within or without the harbour, to be surrendered to Commissioner Lin. The opium was accordingly given up, under duresse and threats of forfeiture of life, to the amount of 20,283 chests, and to the value of between two and three millions sterling. The order for delivery during this imprisonment contained the following guarantees for damage, and recourse on the Government at home, with a statement of the horrible indignities to which he and all held in bondage with him were subjected; and "under the force of which, and the fear of worse, his consent was wrung to the surrender of the opium."
"I, Charles Elliot, Chief Superintendent of the trade of British subjects in China, presently forcibly detained by the provincial government, together with all
the merchants of my own and the other nations settled here, without supplies of food, deprived of our servants, and cut off from all intercourse with our respective countries, (notwithstanding my own official demand to be set at liberty, so that I might act without restraint,) have now received the commands of the High Commissioner, issued directly to me, under the seals of the honourable officers, to deliver into his
hands all the opium held by the people of my country.
Now I, the said Chief Superintendent, thus constrained by paramount motives, affecting the safety of the lives and liberties of all the foreigners here present in Canton, and by other very weighty causes, do hereby, in the name and on the behalf of her Britannic Majesty's Government, enjoin, and require all her Majesty's subjects now present in Canton, forthwith to make a surrender to me, for the service of her said Majesty's Government, to be delivered over to the Government of China, of all the opium under their respective control, and to hold the British ships and vessels engaged in the trade of opium subject to my immediate direction; and to forward to me, without delay, a sealed list of all the British-owned opium in their respective possession. And I, the Chief Superintendent, do now, in the most full and unreserved manner, hold
myself responsible for and on the behalf of her Britannic Majesty's Government, to all and each of her Majesty's subjects surrendering the said British-owned opium into my hands, to be delivered over to the Chinese Government. Now I, the said Chief Superintendent; do further specially caution all her Majesty's subjects here present in Canton, owners of or charged with the management of opium, the property of British subjects, that, failing the surrender of the said opium into my hands, at or before six o'clock this day, I, the said Chief Superintendent, hereby declare her Majesty's Government wholly free of all manner of responsibility or liability in respect of British-owned opium.
"And it is specially to be understood, that proof of British property, and value of all British opium, surrendered to me agreeably to this notice, shall be determined upon principles and in a manner hereafter to be defined by her Majesty's Government.
"Given under my hand and seal of office, at Canton, in China, this 27th day of March 1839, at six of the clock in the morning."
On the surrender of the opium, the following rigorous conditions were imposed by Lin, for the more stringent fulfilment of the compact, and ratified by Captain Elliot, as announced by himself:
"The undersigned has now to announce,
that arrangements have been made for the delivery of the opium lately surrendered to him for her Majesty's service, by which his Excellency the High Commissioner has stipulated that the servants shall be restored, after one-fourth of the whole shall have been delivered; the passage.boats be permitted to run, after one-half shall have been delivered; the trade opened, after three-fourths shall have been delivered; and every thing to proceed as usual, after the whole shall have been delivered, (the signification of which last expression the undersigned does not understand.)
"Breach of faith is to be visited, after three days' loose performance of engagements, with the cutting off of supplies of fresh water; after three days more, with the stoppage of food; and, after three days more, with the last degree of severity (i. e. DEATH) on the undersigned himself."
The ultimate satisfactory solution," adds the Superintendent," of the recent difficulties, need give no man an anxious thought." The terms and conditions were, notwithstanding, faithlessly and arrogantly broken by Lin, although the surrender of the opium was accomplished with the strictest fidelity; placed, nevertheless, as it was, on board receiving ships and other vessels, as Mr Warren observes, " one hundred miles distant from the port of Canton; and though within the Chinese waters, yet as utterly beyond the reach of Chinese power as if it had lain on shipboard at Spithead.”* "The servants," says Captain Elliot, in his indignant remonstrance, dated the 21st of June 1839, addressed to the Chinese authorities, were "not faithfully restored when one-fourth of the opium had been delivered up; the boats were not permitted to run when one-half had been delivered up; the trade was not really opened when three-fourths had been delivered; and the last pledge, that things should go on as usual when the whole should have been delivered, has been falsified by the reduction of the Factories to a prison, with one outlet; the expulsion of sixteen persons, some of them who never dealt in opium at all, some clerks, one a lad; and the proposing of novel and intolerable regulations.' The trade, in consequence, remained
* 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 Maga-as to whom is it not?
In witness whereof, I have affirmed to four documents, all of this time and date, one of which being made good, the others to stand void."
Here, having defined the broad facts of the great opium case, we shall stay our hand for the present from following up the connected series of minor but accessory acts of violence with which it has been followed up to the present day, purposing to wind up with them hereafter. For it is fitting now to enquire, whether the opium trade were in reality that traffic vi gorously forbidden by the Chinese Government, or not; what were the stringent means adopted for its extirpation; and whether the deleterious effects of the drug on health, and therefore on its consumption by the people, were the one sole, or only a concurrent, or not the moving cause at all, of the various nominal prohibitions launched against it; and of the final catastrophe by which, as we have seen, the interdict has finally been attempted, if not consummated. We have already adverted briefly to the history and origin of the opium trade. It was not till 1799 that Keikhing, the then governor of Canton, presented a memorial to the Imperial Court of Pekin for its interdiction, which was complied with; but, among the reasons assigned, we find none on the score of injury to health or morals, in the philanthropic sense. His argument is only to this extent :-"Regarding it as a subject
of deep regret, that the vile dirt of foreign countries should be received in exchange for the commodities and money of the empire; and fearing lest the practice of smoking opium should spread among all the people of the inner land, to the waste of their time and the destruction of their property;" he prayed a prohibition of the drug, and the punishment of offenders, In 1809, and subsequently to 1837, various imperial or provincial edicts were issued enforcing the prohibition, with much the same formality, in the same general terms, and with the same absence of vigorous, and special provisions in aid, as in this against vice and immorality are pompenlightened country proclamations ously and emptily paraded, as part and parcel of the regalia of a new reign. The ceremony was occasionally gone through by the viceroy, of sending a message, mostly oral, by the Hong merchants, to remove the opium ships, which quietly dropped down to a more distant anchorage for a few days, and then resumed their former stations undisturbed. As an American merchant wrote to his consignees in 1821,—“ As to driving the opium ships from Whampoa, it is nothing more than what takes place almost every year, only later in the season.
Indeed, in that same year, the Americans, now so cringing and consequently admitted to favour, were the objects of most special reprobation, as we learn from an edict of Yuen, then Viceroy of Canton, in which it is said "The American captains are emboldened to bring opium,because they have no king to rule them." Without recurring to former more distant periods, it is necessary only to consult the more important documents of the last few years, to be satisfied, that humane consideration for the health and lives of the subject has been only the ostentatious pretext for imperial denunciations against opium. In 1836, it became a subject of anxious deliberation in the Emperor's Cabinet, whether its introduction should not be legalized, and made an object of revenue. The case was debated in the way usual at Pekin, by memorial and counter-memorial to the heads of the Sacrificial Court. The first whose opinion was thus given is named Hew Naetse, Vice-President of the Sacrificial Court, an officer of great dignity. He thus commences :—
I would humbly represent, that opium was originally ranked among medicines; its qualities are stimulant; it also checks excessive secretions, and prevents the evil effects of noxious vapours. In the materia medica of Le Schechin, of the Ming dynasty, it is called afooyung. When any one is long habituated to inhaling it, it becomes necessary to resort to it at regular intervals; and the habit of using it, being inveterate, is destructive of time, injurious to property, and yet dear to one even as life. Of those who use it to great excess, the breath becomes feeble, the body wasted, the face sallow, the teeth black: the individuals themselves clearly see the evil effects of it, yet cannot refrain from it. It is indeed indispensably necessary to enact severe prohibitions, in order to eradicate so vile a practice."
"It will be found, on examination, that the smokers of opium are idle, lazy vagrants, having no useful purpose before them, and are unworthy of regard, or even of contempt. And though there are smokers to be found who have overstepped the thresholds of age, yet they do not attain to the long life of other men; but new births are daily increasing the population of the empire, and there is no cause to apprehend a diminution therein; while, on the other hand, we cannot adopt too great or too early precautions against the annual waste which is taking place of the resources, the very substance of China."
But here he shows the real sore place in respect of the import of opium :
"The number has now increased to upwards of 20,000 chests, containing each a hundred catties. The 'black earth,' which is the best, sells for about 800 dollars, foreign money, per chest; the 'white-skin,' which is next in quality, for about 600 dollars; and the last, or 'red-skin,' for about 400 dollars. The
total quantity sold during the year amounts in value to ten and some odd millions of dollars; so that, in reckoning the dollar at seven mace standard weight of silver, the annual waste of money somewhat exceeds ten millions of taels. Formerly, the barbarian merchants brought foreign money
to China, which, being paid in exchange for goods, was a source of pecuniary advantage to the people of all the sea-board provinces ; but latterly the barbarian merchants have clandestinely sold opium for money, which has rendered it necessary for them to export foreign silver. Thus foreign money has been going out of the country, while none comes into it."
Again, we have the grievance of the export of silver, and the means of preventing it, by rendering the trade legitimate.
"Now, to close our ports against [all trade] will not answer; and as the laws issued against opium are quite inoperative, the only method left is to resort to the former system, and to permit the barbarian merchants to import opium, paying duty thereon as a medicine; and to require that, after having passed the customhouse, it shall be delivered to the Hong merchants only in exchange for merchandise, and no money be paid for it. The barbarians, finding that the amount of duties to be paid on it is less than what is now spent in bribes, will also gladly comply therein. Foreign money should be placed on the 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 opium they may have, and the confiscation of the money that may be found with them."
The remarkable document, from which the foregoing are extracts, was ordered by the Emperor to be submitted to the opinion of the Hong merchants, and of Tang the Governor of Canton. In the laboured reply of the first, the export of "sycee silver," and great burden of the argument, as, like the mode of its prevention, is still the sagacious men, knowing where the Imperial shoe really pinched. In upwards of four quarto pages of this document, scarcely one word about the immoral or deleterious effects of opium is to be found, the whole being occupied with the discussion of modes by which a balance of trade—that is, of commodities imported and exported
might be arranged, so as to prevent sycee silver from "oozing out." opinion was for opening the opium trade at fixed rates of duty. So also the report of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor.
They lay it down
lations, it is of the first importance to as a principle, that in "framing regusuit them to the circumstances of the times. If in removing one evil, an evil of greater extent is produced, it then becomes the more imperative to make a speedy change, suited to the circumstances of the occasion." The evils of the prohibition of opium are shown in striking colours, such as the increase of the crime of smuggling, the desperation of smugglers, and that although the punish
ments of the traffic and use of opium had been gradually increased, until made" death by strangling," yet the desire of gain and the desire of the drug was superior to the fear of death. They recommend, therefore, that the prohibition be removed. "The object," say they, "in repealing the interdict on opium, is to prevent the loss of specie occasioned by the sale of the drug for money." They go further, moreover, and recommend that the cultivation of the poppy may be encouraged at home. Opium, it is said, possesses soothing properties, but is powerful in its effects. To shut out the importation of it by foreigners, there is no better plan than to sanction the cultivation and preparation of it in the empire."
Against any relaxation of the law we have the counter-memorials of two fellow-ministers of Hew Naetse. Choo Tsun, member of the Council and the Board of Rites, recapitulating after Hew Naetse the history of the trade, argues vehemently against the removal of the prohibitions, and the encouragement of home cultivation, which, he asserts, would fail to stop the export of silver. And he concludes with recommending the adoption of the most rigorous measures for putting an end to the contraband traffic in opium and the drain of money. In the course of eight quarto pages, to which his memorial to the Emperor reaches, about one page only (two paragraphs) is devoted to showing the immoral and deteriorating action of the drug. The corruption and enervation of the people, he argues, are the chief objections against opium; and this, he insists, is the object of its importers. Hew Kew, sub-censor over the military department, next follows on the same side of the question, but with somewhat more of moderation. notices the "present scarcity and increased value of silver;" the cause, "its exportation chiefly in payment of opium;" the annual loss to the country, "ten and some odd millions of money.' This is the strain of six and a half quarto pages of his memorial; with the exception of half a page of argument against opium on the ground of morality and policy, and one page and a half on the "illegalities" and "violence" of foreigners. We need not state, that the Celestial Emperor preferred the counsel of Hew Kew and Choo Tsun to the more sage exposi
tions of Hew Naetse, the Hong merchants, and Tang, the Viceroy of Canton; that he issued his edicts accordingly; and finally dispatched Lin to stop the "oozing out of sycee silver," which, and not the demoralizing and devastating influence of opium upon his people, as Lin would have us believe, made the great Emperor “actually quiver with indignation."
We entertain a sincere respect for those honourable and truly benevolent persons who have been duped by such incidental professions, as have here been fairly and impartially collated, of excessive paternal regard for the morals and the health of the people on the part of the Chinese Government. The fact is, that this apparently thrilling philanthropy is a pure affair of money, just as much as the levy of revenue in this country on the consumption of gin; only in another form. Convince the Chinese Emperor that a free trade in opium would at once stay the "leakage outwards of sycee silver," and he too would scruple as little to enrich his exchequer by customs and excise-duties upon the import and consumption of the drug-notwithstanding the health and morals of the people. But if, argue the political economists of the Celestial region, sycee silver continued to " ooze out, with a free trade and the levy of duties on it, the empire would be drained of money, and wealth as well as revenue come to an end. When we reflect that infanticide, with abominations which cannot be mentioned, are all but tolerated in China-for the most horrible practices, as those know who have been resident there, almost openly prevail-this "humanity-mongering' of the Government about opium can inspire only feelings of disgust for the hypocrisy, or of ridicule for the pretence. The learned there, in deference to imperial humour, can dissert as doggedly and as plausibly about the effects of opium, as philanthropists in this country, real or showy, do about ardent spirits; and assuredly, we shall not deny, with too much of truth in both cases. As a clever specimen of the kind, we insert here a Chinese document of this sort, not we believe commonly known.
"The ten observations made upon Opium by the Scholar Koo KING-SHAN, a native of the district of Keang-ning, in the province of Keang-soo.