Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

4

tobacco-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 repre. of 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 daringly 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 a 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 sigoal 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 another, but even spurned with the same apparent con a corps of a few hundreds of marines tempt, and trampled on with as little cannot be furnished for China without çeremony, as when Great Britain was first dismantling Passages. no otherwise known in China than by The opium trade between the East a few straggling traders, whose traffic Indies and China, is not so recent of in detail and amount was 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 be most nearly likened. Before the year account of the India Government, and 1767, says an Indian journalist, quoted equitably paid at a certain rate of rein 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 proalthough 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.

torious grounds which lie at the botChests. Value in Sicca Rupees.

tom of all. On the 10th of March, 1798-9, 4172 1,731,161 1807-8,

the Imperial Commissioner Lin made 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. Chests. 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 1831, 9,333 1,450

empire, now specially appointed an impe1836, 11,724

958

rial envoy, a president of the board of The Bombay Chamber of Commerce proclaims to the foreigners of every na

war, and viceroy of Hoo Kwang, hereby return 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.

*

*

“ 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 benevolence ; 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 6. 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 in 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 patives of China themselves.

cannot return from this. I am sworn

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 6. 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 ngt 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 thoustorms, 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

over, we have no occasion to borrow any (they were at the time all actually prithing from you foreigners; but, I fear, that şoners.) 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 wordsof every one of your countries would at that moment come to an end ! Ye fo

“Immediately proposed to put an end

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

that he and the rest of the foreign compains of toil and the sweets of ease ?---the great distance betwixt the power of the

munity might be set at liberty, in order

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. are in the habit of selling opium, I already

He was answered by a close imprisonment know their names full well; and those good

of more than seven-weeks, with armed foreigners who do not deal in opium, I

men by day and night before his gates,

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 forward and give the bond before spokon of, ably and irreproachably, striving in all

who had always performed his duty peacethese 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 bar. have a reply, and at the same time pro bour, to be surrendered to Commis. duce the duly prepared bond afore men. sioner Lin. The opium was accordtioned.

ingly given up, under duresse and 66 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. “ Do not indulge in idle delay and ex

lions sterling. The order for delivery

during this imprisonment contained pectation, which will only lead to a vain 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, Superintende 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 forth with to Hong Kong, and, hoisting their national colours, the opium.”

sent was wrung to the surrender of be prepared to resist any act of aggression on the part of the Chinese

“ 1, Charles Elliot, Chief SuperintendGovernment.” 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 the merchants of my own and the other

provincial government, 'together with all for removing their property on board certain vessels at Whampoa; to trans

nations settled here, without supplies of mit him a list of all claims and debts

food, deprived of our servants, and cut off

from all intercourse with our respective against Chinese subjects, with esti- 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

my country.

hands all the opiu m held by the people of that arrangements have been made for the

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 liber. 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 passage-boats 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, Deatu) on the undersigned himself.” the Chief Superintendent, do now, in the most full and unreserved manner, hold

The “ultimate satisfactory solumyself responsible for and on the behalf of tion,” adds the Superintendent, “ of the her Britannic 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 Superintendentz 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 eharged with the on board receiving ships and other management of opium, the property of vessels, as Mr Warren observes, “ 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 of all British opium, surrendered to me

the Chinese authorities, were agreeably to this notice, shall be deter- faithfully restored when one-fourth of mined upon principles and in a manner

the opium had been delivered up; hereafter to be defined by her Majesty's

the boats were not permitted to run

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

of novel and intolerable regulations.” The undersigned has now to announce,

The trade, in consequence, remained

one

s not

Government.

himself :

* 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 ?

« ПредишнаНапред »