« PoprzedniaDalej »
true that wårs "may consume any such aug- The civil-engineering work in India has, we mentations; but if peace be maintained, assume, a margin, whereupon curtailment, and if successive Governors-General shall if it were unavoidable, might be effected, and be as wise and as able as the one who now yet no great damage be sustained. lays down the reins, such an increase can Let it then be imagined, as we have already scarcely fail to be the fruit of these new supposed, that, from whatever cause, the means of national wealth.
opium trade with China should come to be But, in the second place, they touch our on the decline, and that even a total cessation immediate argument on another side, and of it should be in prospect ;-+what course in to place it in the view of our readers, we such a case would be adopted and pursued ask their attention to another extract from by the Indian Government, or by the Court Lord Dalhousie's Minute : speaking of the of Directors ? This question seems to admit Indian Government generally, he says- of a reply that is not very far to fetch.
The revenue, we are here told, namely, “ During the years 1847-48, and 1848-49, the thirty millions sterling, is "more than suffiannual deficiency which had long existed, still cient to meet the ordinary expenses of the continued to appear in the accounts. But in Government.” Loans are contracted only each of the four following years the deficiency to give effect to “ gigantic improvements. was converted into a surplus, varying from This being the fact, a falling off in any one £360,000, to nearly £580,000. During the years branch of the public income would not im1853-54, and 1854-55, there has again been a beavy deficiency, and the deficiency of the pre- peril the Government, or render the maintesent year is estimated at not less than £1,850,000. nance of the army precarious. The only Bat these apparent deficiencies are caused by the effect would be, first, to bring to a close, for enormous expenditure which the Government is a time, some of the less urgently needed, or now actually making upon public works, design, more remote schemes of improvement; and, ed for the general improvement of the several provinces of the Indian empire. Wherefore, a
secondly (if this were needed), to increase. large annual deficiency must and will continue to by a little, the loan requisite for carrying appear, unless the Government shall unhappily forward those public works which have the change its present policy, and abandon the duty strongest claim on the ground of their imwhich I humbly conceive it owes to the territories mediate utility. entrusted to its charge. The ordinary revenues But it is by no means certain that either of the Indian empire are amply sufficient, and of these courses would, under the circummore than sufficient, to meet all its ordinary stances now supposed, be found unavoidable. charges; but they are not sufficient to provide If those who are conversant with fiscal and for the innumerable and gigantic works which are necessary to its due improvement. It is im- financial calculations, and who, moreover. practicable to effect, and absurd to attempt, the are already pretty well acquainted with material improvement of a great empire by an Indian affairs, will give close attention to the expenditure which shall not exceed the limits of multifarious statements which are condensed its ordinary annual income."-Minute, Art. 23.
within the five and forty pages of the Parlia
mentary paper above cited, they will, as we That the Indian Government should, from think, soon convince themselves, that, if years whatever cause, find itself compelled to of peace in India should ensue, and if no abandon the hopeful and enlightened course unusual calamity should fall upon the Eastern of “ gigantic improvements” indicated in this empire, the revenue, which is now in a course Minute, would be a subject of profound of augmentation, will, from year to year go regret to those among us at home, who, the on to increase, and with rapidity too, when most fervently, desire the welfare of our those public works of which the Minute eastern fellow-subjects. But now, if we were makes mention, shall have conto fully to bear to go through the details of the Report before upon the agricultural and commercial resourus, we should bring our readers to the belief ces of the country; we should say, of these that there is a class of the great works which many kingdoms. are now projected, or in progress, that are The opium culture, as we have seen, is of inferior importance, and which are less sustained by means of large advances made certain than others, as to any beneficial to the Zemindars and the Ryots, occupying result. Clearly a distinction of this sort the soil in the districts favourable to it. Let there is room for; or, to come to the point, it be imagined that the same outlay takes if there were a necessity for limiting these other channels, and is sent into the several operations, there is a field where retrench- districts above named, in which silk, cotton, ment might have place without the risk of and tea are produced with advantage. Asvisibly, or appreciably, bringing to a stand suming, as we ought, Lord Dalhousie's statethe material improvement of the people, or ments to be authentic, then it must be the commercial advancement of the empire. (regarded as a very reasonable expectation
that (if indeed any aid be needed in these has, for the most part, brought himself into instances) the amount of aid which is now a condition of poverty or even of abject afforded to the opium growth and manufac- indigence---so that if he purchases daily his ture, would yield a return not less remune- grains of opium, and with it the barest subrative than is yielded by this one pernicious sistence, it is all he can do. Higher up in drug.
the scale there is still the wasteful expendiIn all this we are far from taking a position ture on this same luxury, limiting the means on the ground of romantic philanthropy, or of the middle and upper classes; and there supposing that the Honourable Court” will pervades the upper and lower classes alike, spontaneously come forward, and will risk that fistlessness, indifference, apathy, which its revenue by throwing away the opium slackens the desire for the comforts and trade, and will give its mind to other suppo- indulgences of life. Opium fumes dull the sable sources of income. What we are appetite for those articles with which the thinking of is this, that it may be compelled British manufacturer would tempt the Chito do so, as the result of some movements nese people--tempt them at once by the in China, that are not highly improbable, excellence of the article and by its extreme which may at once dry up this source, or cheapness. If Manchester goods hang on greatly diminish it. We then say that the hand at Shanghai, and elsewhere, it is because energy, the intelligence, and the vast means millions of the people are spending their all always at the command of the Indian Go- upon opium, This, on the ground of abunvernment, would very quickly make up the dant evidence, we believe to be the state of deficiency, and would probably realize, after the case. a year or two, a much larger return. Let so But shall we be warranted in looking for much as this be granted us, for argument a favourable change on this ground ? That sake, and we then go on to ask, in what way there is any reason to expect a spontaneous would a change of this sort affect the com- moral reform among the Chinese people, as mercial and the manufacturing interests of to the habit of opium intoxication, is far the British empire at large? How would it more than we dare venture to affirm. If it touch us here, near at home, in the manu- were to take place, humanity would indeed facturing districts of England ?
have gained a triumph-a triumph most sig. At the conclusion of what we must call the nal! The Indian revenue would have sus“ Opium war" (1842), and when the five tained a temporary check, which it would ports were opened to European commerce, speedily recover; and, of this there is no large expectations were entertained as to the reasonable doubt, the trade with China in demands of the millions of China for British articles of British manufacture would immemanufactures. With the hope of meeting diately feel the impulse ; and if once, to some and of stimulating these demands, speculation large extent, a desire for such articles were ran before orders. But the actual demand to spring up among the people, a field—which fell far short of these bright surmises. The in a sense is boundless--would be opened on Chinese millions did not absorb the glut of which British enterprise, and industry, and goods provided for them at any such rate as skill would be free to enter. had been supposed likely to be called for. But we must be content at present to take From that time to this our Chinese customers a lower ground for our calculations of what have failed to realize even very moderate may be probable. We have already adand reasonable expectations. Various causes vanced the supposition that the Chinese for this disappointment have been alleged ; people may come to see their interests just and foremost among them is the distracted so far as this :—That inasmuch as opium is state of the empire, and the spread of insur-and will be sought for, and will, in some rection from province to province, over a way, be obtained by the mass of the people, very large area of this vast surface. This, the wiser course would be to grow and maand other alleged reasons of the small demand nufacture it for themselves. The imperial for British goods, are no doubt valid ; but government hitherto has shown its determithere is one in relation to which there can be nation to the contrary; but either it may little room for difference of opinion. In fact, come over to another mind, or, in the present there is a remarkable concurrence of the distracted state of the empire, its interdicevidence of all the best informed witnesses tions may be everywhere set at nought. who have lately given their testimony on Should a change of this kind come about, subjects connected with the trade with China. then, as we have said, the Indian revenue The enormous amount annually paid by fails in that one item ; but the Chinese China for opium is a drain which exhausts people, obtaining what they will have, at a the means of the population as purchasers of fifth of its present cost, save themselves this manufactured goods. The opium smoker ruinous drain, and, so far, they come into a
condition for dealing with us in other and the pose. When the pipe has burned out, the better articles; that is to say, for the pro- smoker lies somewhat listless for a moment, while duce of the mills of Lancashire, and the the fumes are dissipating, and then repeats the shops of Sheffield and Birmingham. So far process until he has spent all his purchase, or it would be well, and there might be ground
taken his prescribed dose.". for hope that, if we could fairly stimulate and provide for a healthier taste among the habits of the poorest classes, abound in the
Opium shops, adapted to the means and people, some counteraction of the worse taste towns and cities of China. These shops are would be brought into play. In either case the opium question, as erable places imaginable.
represented as the most wretched and misaffecting ourselves, is a question between the Indian revenue in one of its elements, and the incalculably larger interests of Brit- farnished with a greater or less number of bed
" They are kept open day and night, each being ish commerce and manufacture.
steads, constructed of bamboo-spars, and covered But let us now understand what this opium with dirty mats and rattang. À narrow wooden smoking is, as prevalent in China. We shall stool is placed at the head of the bed, which ancondense the great body of evidence before swers for a pillow or bolster, and in the centre of us on this point within the compass of a page Cheerless light through this gloomy abode of vice
each shop there is a small lamp, which diffuses a is to be collected from various and misery." "Never, perhaps," says Mr. Squire, quarters, but it is substantially accordant. a Church missionary," was there a nearer approach In this country, those who have fallen into to hell upon earth than within the precincts of a state of deplorable dependence upon the these vile hovels, where gaming is likewise carried excitement of opium are opium eaters. We on to a great extent. Here every gradation of do not know that opium smoking is to any excitement and depression may be witnessed." extent practised among us. But the people of China have found, or they believe it to be
Mr. Pohlman, an American missionary, 80, that the delirium which they seek is pro- who resided several years at Amoy, states, duced more readily, and much more effect that “there are as many as one thousand ively, by smoking it; that is, by burning a opium shops in that city alone, where the grain or two in the bowl of a pipe, and, with drug can be obtained, and facilities are fura long inspiration, filling the lungs, and re- nished for smoking." taining the fumes as long as possible. Two Opium smoking, so it is affirmed, destroys or three whiffs, so taken, are enough for its victim in about ten years, reckoning from most smokers. The fumes, brought imme- the time when the practice has become habidiately into contact with the blood, as it is tual. Opium undergoing oxidization, affect the nervous system and the brain, more quickly and“ holds its victim by a tighter grasp than does more thoroughly, it is said, than when the any kind of intoxicating liquid: the drunkard drug passes into the system from the stom- sometimes breaks his chain and escapes, the ach. "And if this mode of assimilation be habit is formed, he has entered a cavern with &
opium-eater or smoker scarcely ever. When the more complete, and if it be quicker in its steep descent, and which allows of no turn." operation than the other, so is it believed to " There is no slavery on earth to be compared be far more pernicious in its consequences, with the bondage into which opiam casts its as affecting the human constitution. victim. There is scarcely one known instance of
escape from its toils, when once they have fairly
enveloped a man. The practice quickly destroys The opium pipe consists of a pipe of heavy the appetite and the digestion, vitiates the blood, wood, furnished at the head with a cup, which weakens the command of the mind over the voserves to collect the residuum or ashes, left after luntary muscles, as well as its command over combustion : this cup is usually a small cavity at itself, and ends in helpless insanity and death." the end of the pipe, and serves to elevate the bowl to a level with the lamp. The bowl of the pipe A Chinese in authority says :is made of earthenware, of an ellipsoid shape, and fits upon the hole, itself having a rimmed orifice on the flat side. . . . . The opium-smoker, lying
“ When the habit becomes inveterate, it is apon a couch, holds the pipe, aptly called by the necessary to smoke at certain fixed hours.. Chinese yen tsiang (smoking pistol
) so near to the Men can no longer live without this poison. The lamp that the
bowl can be brought up to it with symptoms are, difficulty of breathing, chalky pale out his stirring himself. A little piece of opium, of ness, discoloured teeth, and a withered skin. Peothe size of a pea, being taken on the end of a ple perceive that it hurries them to destruction, spoon-headed needle, is put upon the hole of the but it leaves them without spirit to desist.” bowl, and set on fire at the lamp, and inhaled at one whiff, so that none of the smoke shall be lost.
"It is,” says another Chinese, "a fearful, Old smokers will retain the breath a long time, desolating pestilence, pervading all classes filling the langs, and exhaling the fumes through of the people, wasting their property, enfee
bling their mental faculties, ruining their The Chinese Government has long been bodies, and shortening their lives." A well aware of these deplorable facts, and medical writer, long resident at Penang, alive to its duty to stop the plague by all says,
means in its power. No man of any hu
manity can read without a deep and very “The hospitals and poorhouses are chiefly filled painful feeling what has been reported of with opium smokers. In one that I had the the grief, the dismay, the indignation of men charge of the immates averaged sixty daily, fivesixths of whom were smokers of chandoo.' The in authority, and of the Emperor, when find baneful effects of this habit on the human consti- ing that their utmost efforts to save their tution are conspicuously displayed by stupor, for- people were defeated by the craft and the getfulness, general deterioration of all the mental superior maritime force of the European faculties, emaciation, debility, sallow complexion, dealers, and by the venality of their own lividness of lips and eyelids, languor, and lack- official persons, on the coast. From the lustre of eye ; appetite
or deprav. first year of the present century to this preed. In the morning these creatures have a most wretched appearance, evincing no symptoms of sent time, the Chinese Government has conbeing refreshed or invigorated by sleep, however tinued to remonstrate, to protest, to plead, profound. There is a remarkable dryness or burn- and, as to its own people, to enact severe ing in the throat, which urges them to repeat the laws, and to punish where it could, those opium smoking. If the dose bo not taken at the concerned in the importation of the drug, usual time, there is great prostration, vertigo, and in its distribution among the people, as torpor, and discharge of water from the eyes. If well as those who indulged in the practice. the privation be complete, a still more formidable Small success had attended any of these entrain of phenomena takes place : coldness is felt over the whole body, with
aching pains in all deavours. At length, in the year 1839, the parts
. Diarrhea occurs ; the most horrid feel- Imperial Commissioner Lin, a man of disings of wretchedness come on; and, if the poison tinguished ability and accomplishments, was be withheld, death terminates the victim's suffer- sent to Canton to attempt the “utter annihiings.". The opium smoker may be known" by lation of the opium trade.” It is reported his inflamed eyes and haggard countenance, -by that the Emperor wept in delivering to this his lank and shrivelled limbs, tottering gait, sal- officer his instructions to this effect. The low visage, feeble voice, and the death-boding glance of his eye. He seems the most forlorn sad history of this endeavour—so humiliatcreature that treads the earth."
ing in its issue to England-is only too well
known. The Canton merchants were comDr. Smith, bishop of Hong-Kong, Lord pelled to give up the opium in their possesJocelyn, Mr. R. W. Martin, and Sir John sion-20,283 chests—which, in the sight of Davis, late Governor of Hong-Kong, give spectators, were destroyed--the opium evidence to the same effect, and so Dr. Ball, macerated, and turned into the river. From many years resident in China. He express- the sale of these chests the Chinese Governes his belief that the practice of opium ment might have realized an amount of not sinoking has extended itself along the sea- less than twenty millions of rupees. The coast, and up the course of the large rivers, consequence of this strong measure wasthat is to say, just so far as the drug has the Opium War; and the issue of it, among been brought within reach of the people the other severe conditions of the treaty by the smugglers. Throughout these dis- which ended it, was, to compel the Chinese tricts, and in all the towns, may be seen Government to refund to the British mer
chants the full amount of the loss they had “Walking skeletons,-families, wretched and sustained. But let us stop short at this beggared by drugged fathers and husbands, --mul- point. England used the customary argutitudes who have lost house and home, dying in the streets, in the fields, on the banks of the riv-ment of the strong against the weak, and er, without even a stranger to care for them gained her end. The wronged" barbarians” while alive, and when dead, left exposed to view --these“ pagans”-were wronged still furtill they become offensive masses."
ther-they were taught a hard lesson ;
they were plundered, and abandoned withMuch more to the same effect might be out remorse to the ruin which this trade has cited; but it cannot be needful. All the brought upon them! So it has been and is, evidence bearing upon the subject is nearly up to this present time. of the same complexion; nor is there room The Chinese people, our inferiors as they to doubt that the fatal infatuation which are in the higher elements of civilisation, opium produces is, at this time, spreading find themselves always the weaker party in itself, year by year, over the vast regions a quarrel—if a quarrel ends in blows; but occupied by the Chinese people: and is in they are fully our equals in shrewdness, and course, at a rapid rate, of bringing about in that sort of prompt reasoning which intheir perdition.
terprets men's principles by their conduct.
The more intelligent among them draw a the Bible to China. The same breeze that wasts sure conclusion from the part we have acted the missionary to that benighted land, brings on towards them these fifty years past, in this its wings the elements of moral destruction in that matter of the Opium Trade as to the quali illegal traffic, which stamps with inconsistency ty of the religion which some of us are labouring to propagate among them. These Testimonies to the same effect might be inferences, how wrong so ever they may be, adduced in abundance, did our space perif the entire facts are known and allowed mit of it. for-are perfectly warrantable on the part A bare outline of the facts of the case we of the Chinese people. It would be inequi- have now placed before our readers, many table to expect from them any other judg- of whom are probably masters of the whole ment, either as to the religion which we offer subject. What is it then that remains to be them, or as to the motives which impel us said? We might fill pages, warrantably, to send them books and missionaries. They with expostulations, denunciations, pleadmust be left to look at the whole of the Eu- ings, appeals to principles and to consciences: ropean—the British, scheme of intercourse —there might be room for announcing Heawith themselves, as one scheme. A Chinese ven's coming judgment upon Britain. But must have been resident for many years in nothing of this sort would touch the point England, he must have acquired our lan- at issue, in a practical sense, or, in fact, guage, and read our books, and have come would reach those whose reason and conto understand much of the social system science need to be reached; for, as to th. among us, before he could be asked to set humane--the right-minded—what we have off the opium traffic from Exeter Hall. But already stated, or what they themselves have then it would be vain for him to attempt, on long known is enough, and more than his return, to convey to his countryman any enough, to move them to act if there were measure of his own better convictions con- any course of action before them. We pro. cerning us. They must still be left to look pose therefore, very briefly to state the case at missionary stations, and at Bibles, as seen as it seems to be borne upon by reasons over that mountain of opium chests which is and motives of a lower sort, and the operset down, furtively, every year upon their ations of which may be matter of calculacoasts :-“ black dirt," they call it, and the tion. fumes of this blackness darken all the objects The light in which the subject will be that are seen through it.
looked at by practical men, by financiers,
statesmen, members of the legislature, is “ Almost the first word,” says Dr. Medhurst, this:- They will grant you, perhaps, that "attered by a Chinese, when anything is said con- the evils which are now in our view are indo Christians bring us opium, and bring it direct calculably great; but they will deny that it ly in defiance of our laws? The vile drug has can come within either the province, or the destroyed my son, has rained my brother, and means, of the Indian Government, or of the well-nigh led me to beggar my wife and children. British Government, or of Parliament, to Surely those who import such a deleterious sub- find a remedy; or, if a remedy were found, stance, and injure me for the sake of gain, cannot to apply it. It will be said—this is simply wish me well
, or be in possession of a religion bet- a question of trade, and trade cannot be inter than my own. Go first and persuade your terfered with ; a demand will get itself supfic;
and give me a prescription to correct this plied, by fair means, or by foul means; and vile habit, and then I will listen to your exhorta- when it comes to this that millions of peo. tions on the subject of Christianity.'”
ple are earnestly coveting an article - a
means of indulgence, for which they are This kind of evidence has been frequently ready to lay down their last penny, no laws, laid before English readers, and has been no restrictions, will avail to keep it from repeated on platforms very often, but it them. We may, if we please, throw away must, in brief, continue to be brought for- our own benefit, large as it is; but the trade, ward. The bishop of Hong-Kong says :- with its train of evils, and all the miseries
it inflicts, will flourish as before; or perhaps " If those who profess to doubt the magnitude will be doubled, after a brief interruption. of this obstacle to the progress of Christianity in If there were no substance or reason in China, could hear the more patriotic of the Ohi- these allegations, the whole question might nese, frequently with a sarcastic smile, ask the mis- speedily be brought to a conclusion ; for we sionaries' if they were connected with those who hold it for certain, as we have already said, brought them poison, which so many of their countrymen ate, and perished, they would per
in the first place—That the Indian revenue ceive it is vain—I will not say it is vain-bat it would quickly recover itself, and more than is certainly inconsistent in us as a nation, to send make good the defalcation arising from the