« EelmineJätka »
CONTENTS OF VOLUME XXX.
China, England, and Opium. By the Hon. Mr. Justice Fry
Pedigrees and Pedigree-Makers. By Edward A. Freeman, D.C.L., LL.D.
Beer, and the Temperance Problem. By Dr. Charles Graham
The Contest of Church and State in Italy. By James Montgomery Stuart
Piracy in Borneo, and the Operations of July, 1849. By the Right Hon. W. E.
Virgil, as a Link between the Ancient and Modern World. By Julia Wedgwood
The Transcendental Movement and Literature. By Edward Dowden, LL.D..
Essays and Notices:-The Black Diary, 334-A Group of Memoirs, 336-On
The Tuileries and the Vatican. By James Montgomery Stuart
The Horse as an Instrument of Gambling. By Louis Henry Curzon
The Trial of Jesus Christ. By Alex. Taylor Innes. I. The Hebrew Trial
Neglected Aspects of the Drink Question. By A. M. Gray
The Relation of the English People to the War. By Edward A. Freeman, D.C.L.,
Fosays and Notices:-Rus in Urbe, 511-The Text of Shelley's Poems, 514—Mr.
The Scientific Movement and Literature. By Edward Dowden, LL.D..
The Pantheistic Factor in Christian Thought. By the Rev. Richard F. Little-
The Last Hundred Years of French History. By A. Gallenga
The Newest Thing in Journalism. (Signs of the Times, No. I.) By
On the Divine Guidance of the Church. By the Bishop of Salisbury
The Gospel of John and Modern Criticism. By Professor Beyschlag, of Halle. I. 769
The Poetic Interpretation of Nature. By Alfred Austin
Republic, 1098-Principal Tulloch and Mr. Stopford Brooke, 1100-Mr.
The Gospel of John and Modern Criticism. By Professor Beyschlag, of Halle. IL
CHINA, ENGLAND, AND OPIUM.
IN February, 1876, I asked the attention of the readers of this REVIEW to some points in the relations of this country and China, which appeared to me to call for serious thought. Since then, Parliament has twice met; a debate on China has taken place; the Margary difficulty has been surmounted; and still, through all, most of the public instructors preach pleasant things to us English people as to our dealings with China. They still tell us that we have always behaved and are behaving well; and that whenever anything goes wrong, the blame should rest not on us at all, but solely on the perfidious Chinese. There is no need, as one of our daily papers expressed it, that we should "put on sackcloth and do penance for the policy we have pursued." Nevertheless there are not wanting signs that our conscience is not quite at ease as regards our dealings with China.
Sir Charles Dilke's paper in the October (1876) Macmillan is a severe indictment of the conduct of our merchants in China, and of our Government in its dealings with that of Pekin. The Spectator, which has not been over sensitive on the sin of our opium trade, is somewhat startled by Sir Charles's conclusion, that our high-handed dealings with China are destroying our influence and driving her into the arms of Russia (Spectator, 7th October, 1876). Still more significant are the admissions made by the responsible Ministers of the Crown, as regards the opium trade. Lord Salisbury, ever abounding as much in courage as in talent, did not attempt, in his interview with the deputation on the subject (21st February, 1876), to vindicate the opium monopoly on principle. "I feel," he said, "that there are inconveniences of principle connected with it which would have prevented any Government
in the present day from introducing it." "Inconveniences of principle" is a rather curious expression. Principle is an inconvenient thing when, and only when, we do wrong. "It is much more easy," he subsequently said, "to defend the Bengal system on the ground that you cannot abandon an existing system so wrapped up with the finances of the country, than to defend it on principle." That is the ground on which clerks often go in robbing their masters. They cannot defend it on principle, but it is an existing system wrapped up with their finances.
Later in the Session of last year (27th June), during the debate raised by Mr. Richard's motion, Mr. Bourke, speaking for the Government, made a like admission. "The opium question," he said, "had often been debated in the House, and he never heard any one say aught in favour of the opium traffic from a moral point of view."
This looks very much as if the front line of the defenders was wavering, and as if a defence of the opium traffic on any grounds of morality would not be heard of much more. But of this one must feel very sure. The system still finds an able champion in Sir George Campbell. The view which he expressed in Parliament in 1875, he repeated in 1876 at the British Association; and coming from a man of his eminence, who has been personally concerned in the opium trade, it is well worthy of consideration.
"Opium," said Sir George Campbell, in the debate in June, 1875, "was one of those things upon which the imposition of a heavy duty enabled us to serve God and Mammon at the same time-doing good to our neighbour by checking its consumption, and raising a large revenue for ourselves. The Gothenburg system, under which the public authorities regulated the liquor traffic, so that as little harm as possible should be done to the community, was precisely analogous to the system followed in Bengal with regard to the opium traffic."
"The existing system," wrote the Spectator, adopting Sir George Campbell's line of argument, "is official intervention for the sake of reducing the evil to a minimum." If these statements be true, a system invented "for the sake" of a most righteous end, has been vilified over and over again, its official defenders are utterly wrong in admitting its "inconveniences of principle," and the old difficulty about serving God and Mammon is, for once, got over. If only Sir George Campbell would teach us how to get over it in all the other cases where it creates "inconveniences"! But I am afraid that, if we look at it a little more closely, it will be found that we have been serving Mammon only, and not God as well; it will be found that so far from the existing system being worked "for the sake of reducing the evil to a minimum," it has been worked from year to year for the sake of increasing the revenue to a maximum, without one thought or one regret as to the amount of evil done.