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2dly, That this foreign opium caused meditate no attack on these measures. a yearly drain of silver; from the small Let them be supposed purely within
range of Chinese commerce, it is im. the privilege of a defensive policy. ! possible for China to draw upon foreign Only let us have things placed on their
states ; much of the imports must now right footing, and called by their right be paid for in hard downright silver, names ; and let us not be summoned which is the more disgusting, as for- to admire, as acts of heroic virtue merly the current of silver ran pre- which put to shame our Christianity, cisely in the other direction.
what under this second view appears 3dly, That the English have become to be a mere resort of selfish prudence. objects of intense jealousy at the court But, then, is it certain that this second of Pekin. Indeed, it is time for that view of the case is the correct view ? Cabinet to look about with some alarm, Why, we have before acknowledged were it only that a great predominate that documents are wanting for either ing power has arisen in India—a con view: any inference, for or against the quering power, and a harmonizing Chinese, will be found too large for the power, where heretofore there was that premises. The materials do not justify sort of balance maintained amongst a vote either of acquittal or of im. the many Indian principalities which peachment; but, as this is so, let us Milton ascribes to the anarchy of English have the benefit of this inchaos; one might rise superior for a distinctness in the proofs equally with moment, but the restlessness of change, the Chinese. So much, at the very and the tremulous libration of the least, is fair to ask, and something equipoise, guaranteed its speedy down more ; for, upon the face of this fal. Here, therefore, and in this Eng- Chinese solicitude for the national lish predominance, is cause enough for virtue, some things appear suspicious. alarm ; how much more since the war Nemo repente fuit turpissimus-Noagainst Nepaul, in virtue of which the body mounts in a moment to the exEnglish advance has pushed forward cess of profligacy: and it is equally prothe English outposts within musket bable that Nemo repente fuit sanctissirange of the Chinese, and against the mus. This sudden leap into theanxieties Burman empire, in virtue of which of parental care, is a suspicious fact great interposing masses have been against the Chinese Government. seriously weakened. It is become Then, again, is it, or can it be reasonable that China should fear us; true, that in any country the labourand, fearing us, she must allowably ing class should be seriously tainted by seek to increase her own means of opium ? Can any indulgence, so costly annoyance, as well as to blunt or to as this, have struck root so deeply as repel ours. Much of ours must lie in to have reached the subsoil of the genthe funds by which we support our eral national industry? Can we shut vast Indian establishment ; and to our eyes to this gross dilemma? wards those funds it is understood that Using much opium, how can the poor the opium trade contributes upwards labourer support the expensem using of three millions sterling per annum. little, how can he suffer in his energies In mere prudence, therefore, the cabi. or his animal spirits? In many disnet of Pekin sets itself to reduce our tricts of Hindostan, as well as of the power by reducing our money re Deccan, it is well known that the consources, and to reduce our money sumption of opium is enormous : but resources by refusing our opium. amongst what class ?
Does it ever Such are the three reasons upon palpably affect the public industry? which it has been alleged that Lin and The question would be found ludicrous. his master have been proceeding. And Our own working class finds a great now, if it were so, what has any man providential check on its intemperance to say against these reasons ? Have in the costliness of intoxicating liquors. not nations a right to protect their own Cheap as they seem, it is impossible interests ? Is not the path of safety for the working man (burdened with open to them, because it happens to average claims) to use them to excess, lead away from British objects? Why, unless with such intervals as redress as to that, measures are not always al- the evil to the constitution. This stern lowable in a second or third stage of benediction of Providence--this saluintercourse which might have been so tary operation of poverty-has made in the first. But for the present we it impossible for one generation to
shatter the health of the next. Now, of that by another argument: for Lin for the opium-eater this counteracting begs from Captain Elliot the interprovision presses much more severely. position of his authority towards geta Wages are far lower in the opium ting the opium transferred to Chinese countries : and the quantity of opium custody-a thing which most assuredrequired, in any case where it can ly he would not have done, had he seen have been abused, is continually in the slightest hopes of its coming into creasing ; whereas the dose of alcohol his possession by violence. Merely the continues pretty stationary for years. despair of success in any attempt to
These things incline a neutral spec. seize it, prevailed with him to proceed tator to suspect, grievously, some very by this circuitous course. Captain earthly motives to be working below Elliot-for reasons not fully explained the manæuvres of the Celestial Com- —granted this request. Now, then, missioner, since it really appears to be what we ask is—that all who advocate impossible that the lower Chinese the Chinese cause, would be pleased to should much abuse the luxury of state the terms on which this deliberate opium ; and, as to the higher, what a transfer of British property was made chimerical undertaking to make war over to Lin—what were the terms unupon their habits of domestic indul- derstood by the party surrendering
and gence !
With these classes, and in by the party receiving, viz. Lin? That such a point, no Government would monosyllabic hero did, or he did not, have the folly to measure its strength. make terms with Captain Elliot. Now, And, as to the classes connected with if you say he did not, you say a thing public industry, we repeat and maintain more severe, by twenty times, against that it is impossible (for the reason the Whig Superintendent than any of explained) to suppose them seriously us Tories, in or out of Parliament, has tainted; so that a delusion seems to ever hinted at. What ! a British lie at the very root of this Chinese re agent, sent to protect British interests, presentation.
giving up British property by wholeBut, apart from all that, we see two sale-sacrificing millions of British pinching dilemmas even in this opium pounds sterling-without an effort to case-dilemmas that screw like a vice obtain an equivalent, without a pro-which tell powerfully in favour of test, without a remonstrance! Why, a our Tory views ; first, as criminating diplomatist, acting for the most petty the present Whig administration be- interests, gives up nothing without a yond all hope of apology ; secondly, consideration ; nothing at all, without as criminating the Chinese adminis a struggle at the first, without an equitration. The first clenches the argu valent at the last. Quid pro quo is ment, moved by Sir James Graham, on the very meaning and essence of dipthe criminal want of foresight and pro- lomacy. And observe that Captain vision in our own cabinet; and we are Elliot does far more than sanction the surprised that it could have been for- surrender : it is not as though Chinese gotten in the debate : the second goes artillery had been ready to enforce a far to justify our right of war against seizure, and Captain Elliot, for peace's China.
sake, interfered to substitute a milder We will take these dilemmas in the course. Nothing of the sort : but for inverse order, putting forward the him the opium would not and could latter dilemma first.
not have passed into Chinese hands. 1. When Lin seized the British In such circumstances—for of course opium, and in one day pillaged our he insisted for some equivalent-you British merchants to the extent of more cannot suppose the first horn of the than two millions sterling, by what dilemma—that he did not. That is means was it that Lin got “ a hank” too incredible. Suppose, therefore, over so much alien property? The the other horn of the dilemma. You opium was freighted on board various must suppose it. Mere decency binds ships ; and these ships were lying at us to suppose, that Captain Elliot, in various distances in the waters of the compliance with the most flagrant deBocca Tigris. No considerable part mands of duty, did make terms. What of it was on shore, or in the Canton were those terms? What was the factory. What is our inference from equivalent ? This we have a right to this ? Why, that the opium was not know, because hitherto (and, by Lin's in Lin's power. Indeed, we are sure account, the affair is now terminated)
no equivalent at all, no terms of any in all situations, an agent knows what kind, have been reported as offered by are the limits of his powers as to so dethe Chinese, or as accepted by the finite a subject as money. And, were British. Sundry of the Chinese have, it otherwise, what would become of the indeed, since that time made an awk innumerable bills drawn upon the Briward attempt at cutting sundry Bri- tish treasury by consuls' and naval tish throats, and have had their own officers in ports of countries the most cut instead--a result for which we remote ? Nobody would take such heartily grieve, as the poor victims bills: no ship in our navy, no shipwere no willing parties to this outrage wrecked crew, could obtain aid under upon our rights. Bu thi could the worst circumstances, if a practice hardly be the equivalent demanded by existed of disavowing authorized Elliot. And, as to any other, it is agents, or resisting bills when prea needless to enquire about it, since no sented for payment. The Elliot guathing of any kind has been offered to rantee, therefore, was hardly within the British except outrages and insults. the privilege of disavowal by Lord Here, then, is a short two-edged argu Melbourne's Government. They it ment, which it will be difficult to parry was who sent the agent-who clothed -Lin agreed to a stipulation for equi- him with authority-who called upon valents, in which case he must have all men in the East to recognise him broken it. Lin did not agree, in which as representing themselves—who procase we have a heavier charge against claimed aloud, “Behold the man whom the superintendent, that is, the repre the Queen delighteth to honour: what sentative of our own Government, than he does is as if done by ourselves : his any which has yet been put forward. words are our words : his seal is our
II. But worse, far worse, as re seal!" spects our own Government, is the The argument, therefore, will stand second dilemma. It is this :- Those thus:Captain Elliot solemnly underwho had charge of the opium surren took to the British merchants, in order dered it on the most solemn official to gain a favourite point for Lin, that guarantee of indemnification. Now, no fraction of the money at which the in offering that guarantee, was Cap- opium had been valued, should finally tain Elliot authorized by his Govern be lost. On the faith of that underment?-or was he not authorized ? taking, the surrender was made quietly, Practically, there is no such indulgent which else, confessedly, would not alternative now open to the Govern have been made at all. Now, in makment: because the time is now passed ing that perilous engagement-S0 in which that Government could claim startling by the amount of property the benefit of a disavowal. Instantly concerned, that no man could pretend to have disavowed Captain Elliot was to have acted inconsiderately-was the sole course by which the Whig Captain Elliot exceeding his powers Government could retrieve their po or not? Did the Government disavow sition, and evade the responsibility his act, even in thought, on first hearcreated for them by their agent. When ing it reported, or did they not? If they first appointed him, they had they did --if privately they were shockdelegated their responsibility to him; ed to find the enormity of responsible they had notified that delegation to obligation which Elliot had pledged on all whom it might concern.
It must their behalf-if they felt that he had be an extreme case, indeed, which created no right in the persons who can warrant a minister in disavow- held his engagements-why did they ing his own agent, so deliberately se not instantly publish that fact? Mere lected and much more when the dis. honesty, as in a commercial transactance is so vast. In no case can this tion, requires this. If a man draws on be done unless where it can be demon. you unwarrantably for an immense strated that the agent has flagrantly sum, you never think of replying, “I exceeded his powers. But, in cases have not money enough to meet this of money guarantees, or the drawing demand.” You say to the olders of of bills, it is hardly possible that an the bills and you say it indignantly agent should do so: such cases are not -and you say it instantly without mixed up with the refinements of po- taking time to finesse, or leaving time litics, about which the varieties of opi. for the creditor to lose his remedynion are likely to arise. Always, and “ This man has no authority whatever
to draw upon me. I neither am my. magnificent scale. But, waiving that, self his debtor, nor do I hold the funds mark the reply: Nobody doubts the of any third party who is." But what right of China to seize contraband was the answer of the English Go goods when they are landed, or in the vernment, when summoned to make course of landing ; because, by that good the engagements of their agent? time the final destination of the goods Did they say boldly—“ We disavow is apparent. And our own Governthis agent: we disown this debt : we ment at home_but having power to desire that these bills may be noted sustain their claim-go somewhat furand protested ?" No: but evasively, ther; they make prize at sea of cargoes perfidiously, as speaking to ruined which are self-demonstrated as conmen, they reply :-“ Oh, really, we traband. But who in his senses ever have not funds to meet these bills; held the monstrous doctrine, that a and, if we should go to Parliament for smuggler is under some obligation of funds, we have a notion that there will conscience to sail into an English port, be the deuce to pay for contracting so and there deliver up his vessel as a large a debt!” Like a riotous heir, victim to the majesty of the offended they dare not show to their public revenue laws? The very most that guardians the wild havoc of 'funds China could in reason have asked which they have authorized.
was, that the opium ships should sail The sole evasion of this argument away, and not hover on the coasts. would be, if it could be alleged that Even this is a great deal more than the bills were bad bills, that they China had a right to ask—conceding were given without a consideration. also throughout that China had not But that can be maintained only by herself for years invited this contrathose who are misinformed as to the band commerce, cherished it, nursed facts. Were it the case that Lin it, honoured it-because it is certain could have seized the opium, though that a maritime kingdom, without a in honour the Government would still revenue fleet, has no more right to be answerable for the acts of their complain of smugglers in its defenagent, and though a contract is a con sive diplomacy, than offensively it tract, still it might have been said that has to declare a port or a line of coast the British merchants, after all, had under blockade without bona fide been placed in no worse situation by efforts and means to enforce that the act of Captain Elliot. But, as the blockade. Certainly not, it will be case really stands, the total loss-every said ; and the English opium ships shilling of it-was a pure creation of were acting under no recognised maElliot's. The ships were not in the ritime law when they so foolishly sursituation of an army having to stand rendered their cargoes. But it will be the hazard of a battle before they could alleged in apology for that rash sur. carry off the contested property ; in render, that perhaps it might not be which case it might have been wise merely the Elliot indemnification to pay some fine for escaping a which persuaded them to this actstruggle, however certain the issue. that barely made it a safe act. What No: they had but to raise their anchors made it a politic act was probably the and spread their sails; a lunar month belief, that, for any less price, they would have seen the opium safe in the could not purchase back the general waters of Bengal, from which it would renewal of Chinese commerce. Ay, have been landed to await the better now we come to the truth.
This was market of the following year.
the equivalent, beyond a doubt, underBut, say some extravagant people, stood between Lin and Elliot, as the the Chinese had the right of seizure, condition upon which the surrender though not the power to enforce that was to take effect. Well understood, right; and the inference which they most assuredly it was; and if it was would wish us to draw from that is not expressed, was not reduced to that it was the duty of the British writing, the blame of that is to be dimerchants to show respect for the vided in such proportions as may laws and maritime rights of China. hereafter be settled) between the conWhat! at the cost of two and a half fiding folly of our English dupe and the millions sterling ? Verily, the respect exquisite knavery of the Celestial Lin. for China must be somewhat idolatrous Non nostrum tantas componere lites. which would express itself on this We have stated these two dilemmas
rue more diffusely—and yet not diffusely, but we can take a purse for you on the I since nothing has been said twice over; Queen's highway, and that we will
but more, however, in detail than else soon do.” Observe, therefore, you might have been necessary, because a have them confessing to the debt. transaction of this kind, unless kept They do not pretend to deny that. steadily before the eye for some time, Why, then, what dishonesty it was
is too easily forgotten, and no proper to say in the first instance to the bille a impression of its nature is retained. holders “ We have no funds ?” They
But the broad result from the whole had then, it seems, been authorizing
he wisely used Elliot as his cat's-paw. Treasury attorney, suggests this new Tie 2dly, That Lin also cheated the Eng. fashion of paying just debts, which is
lish out of that commerce, the restor- in effect to go and kick up a spree in
sult will be a fair expression that we both speaking at first through Elliot, have measured forces against each but finally speaking directly in their other, nation against nation-the re
sult will be one of fair open fighting. Even this is not all: there is some Now, in the Chinese seas there are thing still worse and more jesuitical none but commercial ships. There in the conduct of our home Govern. are no fighting ships worth speaking ment. They proceed to decree re of. Consequently no part of the loss prisals against China. But why? will fall on the state. Our losses in Very fit it is that so arrogant a people opium will be made good by the ruin should be brought to their senses ; and of innumerable private traders. That notorious it is that in Eastern lands cannot be satisfactory to any party ; no appeal to the sense of justice will and quite as little can it satisfy our ever be made available which does not British notions of justice, that the rasspeak through their fears. We, there- cally Government, and that “sublime fore, are the last persons to say one
of rascals,” Lin, will escape without a word against this ultima ratio, if con wound. Little teasings about the exducted on motives applying to the tremities of so great a power, and yet, case. By all means thump them well: in a warlike sense, so unmaritime a it is your only chance—it is the only power as China, will be mere flea-bites logic which penetrates the fog of so to the central government at Pekin; conceited a people. But is that the not more than the arrows of Liliput in explanation of war given by Govern the toes of Gulliver, which he misment? No, no. They offer it as the took for some tickling or the irrionly means in their power of keeping tation of chilblains. faith with the opium-dealers and not Are we then comparing our own breaking with Elliot. " What do you naval power, the most awful conwant?" they say at the Treasury,– centration of power, and the most "Is it money? Well, we have none; variously applicable power which