« AnteriorContinuar »
and yet we understand the order and the advance for a new crop have gone forth. Who are the morally guilty parties? We think it fairly rests hut upon two parties ; those who proride the Opium, and those who convey it: and we know but of two views which can at all extenuate the guilt of these parties. The one is, that the growers and sellers of the Opium are not bound to know whither it is taken ; and the other, that it is too serious an item in the Government exchequer to give up at once. In reference to the first it may be said, if Government is to be responsible for the acts of the shippers in conveying it to China, then may we demand satisfaction from almost every Government under heaven for the delinquency of their subjects for introducing contraband goods into our ports. The difference is just this :—in the present case, the Government is the actual grower and seller, the chief merchant, the fountain from whence all the mischief flows ; and we are ready to revenge any attempt on the part of the Chinese to take and imprison, or exchequer our ships, or our men. Nay more, we charter vessels, armed vessels, whose whole business it is to force the drug into the coasts and ports of China. To say that the Government do not know whither it is conveyed, is only the veriest quibbling; for for what ports are the ships cleared? why for China and the Straits: and if it is not conveyed to China, where is there a mart for it in the whole world? and if it be sold without a certainty of its going to China, then does the immorality deepen, for then must it be sent abroad in the earth to spread its withering influence on other lands—and this for gain!! In reference to the second observation. Surely the exchequer of the Government must not be replenished at the expence of every law both human and divine. Besides, the replenishing of the coffers of the Company from this source involves a question of morality towards the British people, for whilst the Opium revenue flows into this treasury, the immense revenue derivable at Home from the importation of tea is stopped, and the whole China trade turned to the American coasts. Previously to declaring war even now the authorities have had one course open to them as Christians, and that is, to wash their hands entirely of the whole traffic; for without this it is impossible they can go into the field with clean hands, if they can even then. There is yet another anomaly in this case, which may soon occur: supposing the British Government determine to chastise the Chinese for the insult offered to Captain E. and blockade the whole coast, it is clear that in maintaining that blockade they must and will cut off all the causes of irritation, and they must especially suppress all Vol. i. . Y
Opium smuggling, in which case we shall have our naval heroes slaughtering their smuggling fellow-sailors, who will be employed in forcing a drug grown and sold to their owners by an integral part of their own Government.
The other party involved in the immoralities of this traffic are clearly the Opium purchasers and shippers. We cannot bring ourselves to call them merchants, for with that appellation we have been accustomed to associate only the most honorable trade. But when we see men, Britons and Christians, forcing this drug into China for the mere sake of gain, we can find but one idea which can at all save us from classing them with the Dirk Hattericks and other daring smugglers, to suppress whose trade the vigilant preventive service of Britain has) been established,—and that is, that they are sanctioned in every way by the ruling power. Surely these traders cannot for a moment reflect on the fact, that however ample the fortune they may amass in this traffic, it is obtained at the expence of the religious and national character of their country, and at the expence equally of the morals, health and pecuniary interest of the Chinese. It is the enriching of a mere handful of people at the expence of every thing dear to two nations, and to the sacrifice of all honorable trade between the British and the Chinese. Badinage and sarcasm are quite out of place on such a subject; therefore, we have not stopped to notice mere quibbling regarding it. Neither shall we be brought to see the justice either of the trade or the war from the considerations, that the Chinese may if obliged grow the drug themselves, or that it will be supplied by others if not by the Government; nor shall we feel in the least more satisfied with the origin of the war, should it even issue in the opening of China to every good purpose. The sin of growing the drug must rest with those that grow it, and the sin of supplying with those who supply ; and all the bloodshed and misery must rest with those who originate the war. Our duty as a great, moral, humane and honorable people is to wash our hands of every doubtful traffic ; and not by any love of money, or for the interest of a wealthy or powerful few, sacrifice that which is to us above all price—that character for justice and uprightness which has generally distinguished our acts as a people towards others less fortunate than ourselves. One argument usually urged in defence of the trade is, that the drug can do but little harm when scattered amongst so many millions of people. It is true this is an argument, which as far as China is concerned must remain for the present in some degree of doubt; but the following alarming extract will show what must be the state of China, where it is as much used, if not more than in Assam. The extract is from Mr. Bruce's account of the tea tracts of Assam, published in the Asiatic Journal.-—
"I might here observe, that the British Government would confer a lasting blessing on the Assamese and the new settlers, if immediate and active measures were taken to put down the cultivation of Opium in Assam, and afterwards to stop its importation by levying high duties on Opium land. If something of this kind is not done, and done quickly too, the thousands that are about to emigrate from the plains into Assam, will soon be infected with the Opium mania,—that dreadful plague, which has depopulated this beautiful country, turned it into a land of wild beasts, with which it is overrun, and has degenerated the Assamese from a fine race of people to the most abject, servile, crafty, and demoralized race in India. This vile drug has kept, and does now keep, down the population; the women have fewer children compared with those of other countries, and the children seldom live to become old men, but in general die at manhood; very few old men being seen in this unfortunate country, in comparison with others. Few but those who have resided long in this unhappy land know the dreadful and immoral effects, which the use of Opium produces on the native. He will steal, sell his property, his children, the mother of his children, and finally even commit murder for it. Would it not be the highest of blessings, if our humane and enlightened Government would stop these evils by a single dash of the pen, and save Assam, and all those who are about to emigrate into it as Tea cultivators, from the dreadful results attendant on the habitual use of Opium? We should in the end be richly rewarded, by having a fine, healthy race of men growing up for our plantations, to fell our forests, to clear the land from jungle and wild beasts, and to plant and cultivate the luxury of the world. This can never be effected by the enfeebled Opium-eaters of Assam, who are more effeminate than women. I have dwelt thus long on the subject, thinking it one of great importance, as it will affect our future prospects in regard to Tea; also from a wish to benefit this people, and save those who are coming here, from catching the plague, by our using timely measures of prevention.''
Who, on reading this terrible account, but must pray that all the Opium lands might be devoted to the growth of tea, or some still more nutritive and yet remunerative plant; and that the energies of men, and especially Britons, were directed into such a channel, as might tend to elevate and bless the millions of China, without being preceded by all the horrors of war; for verily we may say,
"Man's inhumanity to man
n«T mrr JEHOVAH-JIREH.
Gen. zxii. 14.
When with sore tribulation
When temptations assail him
When the world is the strongest,
When Satan's in arms;
When their trumps sound the longest
And loudest alarms—
His faith sees the angels
Arrayed on his side.
When death is approaching
And when in the judgment
At last he is placed,
No fear can find lodgement;
His heart is at rest.
The Brethren's accuser
Dares no longer chide,
in tribulations darkest hour—
VVhen most exposed to Satan's power—
When most bowed down by sorrows great—
When most oppressed by sin's dire weight—
When the earth reels beneath his feet—
When placed before the judgment-seat—
This is his joy, his boast, his pride,
Jehovah-Jireh—Christ has died. *
The Wujra Soochi*, or Refutation of the Arguments upon which the Brahmanical Institution of Caste is founded. By ike learned Boodhist Ashwa Ghosh V, 1839. An 8vo. pamphlet. No press named.
This admirable pamphlet includes an original treatise in Sanskrit by a Buddhist Pandit, directed against the notion of a primitive distinction of castes, and especially of the superiority of the Brahmin above the other sacro-civil divisions of Hindu Society, together with an English translation by the talented resident in Nepal, B. H. Hodgson, Esq. The latter was by him first transmitted to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and in concert with L. Wilkinson, Esq. Political Agent at Bhopal, well known as also a learned and valuable contributor to our stock of oriental knowledge, is now published (at what press is not said) for general information. In his preface, Mr. Wilkinson, to whom we are indebted for the suggestion of its publication, justly deems it "calculated to prove of great benefit to the enlightened friends of India, as well native as European ; as it will afford them arguments and proofs, in great number, of the most cc hieing nature to a Brahman."
To the work announced as above, is appended the original Sanskrit of a reply entitled "The TuNKuf* by Soobajee Bapoo," the learned Brahmin Shastri, or Pandit, of Mr. Wilkinson, and described by that gentleman as "distinguished among his countrymen for talent and learning; and, all things considered, for liberality of sentiment and regard to truth." We think the Editor has done well to publish theTanka, as the very best comment on, and enforcement of, the Buddist argument; exhibiting the whole strength of Brahminism, all that one of the
* According to the present mode of romanized spelling, Vajra Suchi, (^TOT^ftj from T^ a thunderbolt, and *&~-4\ a needle,) q. d. arguments sharp and penetrating as a needle, while powerful and destructive (to the contrary position) as the bolt of heaven.
t Or Tanka (s« or wm<fa), a scimitar or short-sword, q. d. the fine-edged weapon with which the Brahman combatant meets and destroys his infidel opponent. It is doubtless known to such of our readers as take an interest in subjects like the present, that Buddhist and infidel or atheist, (ri1« and «ttH«) are synonymous in the estimation of orthodox Brahmans.