Billeder på siden

Reporting to the House of Commons in the year 1872, the opinion of a large number of medical men was recorded: "That there is a certain aptitude in the stimulant of opium to the circumstances of the Chinese people, and that the universal use of the opium pipe among the Chinese must certainly be owing to some peculiarity of their mental and nervous constitution." That this weakness, or form of indulgence, is peculiarly indicated by the physical and nervous systems of the Chinese race is proved by the fact that the Thibetan, Mohammedan and Mongolian inhabitants of Kan Suh and other centers of opium cultivation are practically immune.

The tendency to smoke opium which the Chinaman carries about with him to all parts of the world, is logically and naturally comparable with the Anglo-Saxon's tendency or predilection towards alcoholic strimulants. The comparison is a commonplace one, I admit, and two blacks do not make a white, but many years ago a dispassionate and thoroughly competent observer of the opium question, Mr. Meadows, observed that, "Although the substances are different, I can see no difference at all as to the morality of producing, selling and consuming them, while the only difference I can observe in the consequences of consumption is, that the opium smoker is not so violent, so maudlin or so disgusting as the drunkard."

The opium problem appears to reduce itself naturally under three heads. First: Is opium necessary to the Chinese, as alcohol is to the European? On this point the evidence of the Straits Settlements Opium Commission appears to be conclusive, and there can be no doubt that so long as opium continues to be produced and available, either by legitimate trade or by smuggling, the Chinese people will continue to smoke it.

Second: Is the total abolition of opium smoking and opium cultivation possible? In the Straits Settlements report it was recorded as a generally recognized truth that “Without an international agreement to stop the growth of the poppy, the success of any prohibitive legislation would be highly problematical." At the International Conference held at

The Hague last January, the resolutions dealing with the abolition of the opium traffic were passed upon the tacit assumption that China would continue to justify Europe's faith in her "unswerving sincerity," and in her ability to put down opium cultivation; but it was unanimously admitted and agreed that the idea of any international agreement or legislation, to control and prevent the cultivation of the poppy throughout the world, was utterly impracticable and visionary. Even the measures proposed by the American delegates for the control of the movement and sale of opium, and the British suggestions for the control of the trade in morphine, cocaine and other drugs by means of an international agreement and pharmacy laws, were regarded by the majority of the delegates as counsels of perfection, Utopian schemes, suitable for presentation at The Hague but unattainable in practice. As regards any idea of an international self-denying ordinance to remedy the production of the poppy, Turkey, one of the chief producers, declined even to be represented at the Conference, and the attitude of other powers left no doubt as to the futility of the suggestion. But even assuming, for purposes of argument, that the total abolition of opium cultivation were possible, there remains the third aspect of the problem, i.e., once opium smoking has been eradicated, by what means would it be possible to prevent a rapid increase of the more dangerous morphia habit and the adoption of alcohol as a form of stimulant by the Chinese people? Personally, I consider that all the evidence goes to show that a predisposition to opium in one form or another is indicated by the physical and nervous constitution of the Chinese as a race, and I am not therefore inclined to attach great importance to the opinions of those who, like Sir Frank Swettenham, think that alcohol is likely to take the place of opium wherever opium is unobtainable. But the dangers arising from morphine as a substitute for opium are sufficiently real and immediate to have engaged the serious attention of philanthropists and medical missionaries in China and abroad. They formed the subject of special resolutions at The Hague Conference and a vast amount of interesting information was

submitted and recorded on the subject. Without going into details it may be said that, since the morphia duty was increased in China after 1906, the smuggling of this dangerous drug has increased by leaps and bounds, and doctors all over China now testify that many opium-smokers have taken to morphia, making the last state worse than the first. China proposed to regulate the morphine trade by the inauguration of pharmacy laws applicable throughout the Empire under official supervision, but I need hardly say that for many years to come, this proposal, like that of the abolition of opium cultivation, must remain an unattainable ideal. No such laws could possibly be framed or enforced under existing conditions.

To sum up: The futility of legislation and of philanthropic attempts to attain the complete abolition of opium cultivation and opium smoking in China must be obvious to every unbiased observer of the facts. Nevertheless, I hold that if, instead of discussing unpractical schemes, the activities of philanthropists and missionaries could henceforth be directed towards the introduction of practical restrictive legislation and regulation of the opium traffic, much good might be done in China, just as in Great Britain education, philanthropy and the moral effect of the temperance movement have greatly reduced the national tendency to drunkenness within the last half century. There undoubtedly exists in China a strong force of public opinion directed against the excessive use of opium.

By practical legislation, such as that which in Scandinavia has been adopted with such excellent results under the Gothenburg system, and by means of the education of public opinion, progress can and will no doubt be made. But there can be no permanently beneficial results from impulsive and Quixotic attempts to secure the root and branch elimination of a firmly established national propensity.

[ocr errors]


By B. Atwood Robinson

The history of trade development is the history of the world. Trade has followed the flag wherever it has gone and all too often it has been the armies of the world that have carried forward the torch of civilization and the banner of commerce. Enlightened and honorable trade relations may prove as great an influence for good as the work of the missionary or educator. From the early dawn of recorded history up to the present time trade has gone hand in hand with the advance of civilization. Beginning in Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria, it traveled to Carthage, Greece and Rome. It followed the victorious armies of the South in their conquest of the barbarians of northern Europe, and the great commercial countries of Europe are the result. With Columbus it crossed the Atlantic, and the United States and all the other great countries of North and South America with their teeming trade have grown and flourished.

And now we are face to face with the last of the world's commercial conquests in the development of great and enduring trade relations with the other half of the world's population in the countries forming the western boundary of the great Pacific basin.

The history of trade between America and China has often been written and it is unnecessary to speak in detail of it here. From the time when the American ship Empress of China arrived at Canton from New York in 1784 to the present time, be it said to our credit, these relations have been generally satisfactory to both parties, in contra-distinction to those of China with some other countries.

"Americans are the only people who have treated us according to the Golden Rule and we want to do business with them." These words were spoken to the writer by the late Viceroy Yang Hsi Hsiang, at Tientsin in 1908.

These words formed part of the admirable address of Judge Kungpah T. King of the Supreme Court of Justice, Peking, at a dinner in his honor in Boston in 1910.

While your complete war equipment and unexcelled facilities for preparing great engines of war are very wonderful, I must say that I am most favorably impressed with your great commercial supremacy, your tremendous natural resources and your great factories which stand as monuments to your national industry. The development of commercial interests between America and China would be mutually beneficial.

America is the natural source of supply in many lines, and proper attention to the development of commercial relations will surely bring about a great increase in trade, to the mutual advantage of both countries.

These quotations may be said to be fairly representative of the sentiment of the leading men of China on this subject. In view of all our past relations with the Chinese, America may justly claim the title of "China's best friend." American business men have been strangely indifferent to the unparallelled opportunity presented through the gateway of the great Far East. America is the one country from which China does not fear armed invasion, but cordially welcomes invasion of trade and commerce. With this record of fair dealing to our credit, it would seem the height of folly to neglect the great opportunity that confronts us for advantageous occupancy of the field. America, by virtue of her extensive Pacific Coast line is nearest neighbor to the Far East, while the opening of the Panama Canal will afford the manufacturers of the eastern states the opportunity of reaching that part of the world with their products on a very favorable basis.

In considering trade opportunities with a country, many factors must be taken into account. It is as easy to over as to underestimate the extent of these opportunities. Meagerness of information is responsible for false conceptions of conditions. It is, perhaps, not strange that ignorance of true conditions is so prevalent, in view of the vast amount if misinformation and misrepresentation that has been spread broadcast by ill-informed, narrow-minded, in

« ForrigeFortsæt »