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opium, and he must apply himself, as best he may, to the fulfilment of a contract into which he has been forced.
The method of cultivation of the poppy is after this manner: The ryot having selected a piece of ground which can be easily irrigated, pulverizes the soil by repeated ploughing, and then divides the fields by ditches running in various directions, from his reservoir of water. Irrigation is necessary to the proper growth of the plant. The seed is sown in November. During the growth of the poppy, the field is kept clear of mud, and the soil kept loose and fine about the plants. In February or March, the poppies have arrived at maturity, and the juice is then collected. Cuts are made in the rind of the bulbous heads, and from these the juice exudes and is collected every morning, until all the opium is extracted, which is known from the change which takes place in the color of the seed vessel. The seeds contain no opium. The government annually enters into a contract with the native cultivators. It is formed in this way. . When the poppies are ripe, and immediately before the period for extracting the juice, an officer of the English government makes the circuit of his particular district, and forms by guess a probable estimate of the produce of each field. He then forces the cultivator to enter into an engagement with him to deliver the quantity thus estimated, and as much more as the field will yield, at the government price, which is usually about 80 cents a pound. If the ryot fails to deliver the quantity thus estimated, it is taken for granted that he wishes to defraud the government, and the collector is empowered to prosecute him in a civil court for damages. Hence it sometimes happens that the poor ryot's house and goods are sold to make up for a loss occasioned by the wrong estimate of the officer. We have no means of knowing the amount of land in India under poppy cultivation, but it must be very great. As far back as 1821, when the entire exports of opium from Calcutta amounted to but 1,936 chests, there were, according to undoubted testimony, in the single district of Suran, in the English Province of Patna, 7,000 acres under cultivation, and in eight years after, it had nearly doubled. The opium raised in India last year (1847), is estimated at 60,000 chests, amounting to 8,000,000 pounds of opium. Estimating an acre to produce 25 pounds of opium, which is a liberal estimate, we have 320,000 acres under poppy cultivation in India. As we said before, the poppy requires a rich soil, hence its cultivation has not extended into waste and barren tracts, but into those districts best fitted for agricultural pursuits, from whence other plants, valuable as the supporters of life, have been driven out before it.
After the poppy juice is collected, it is dried partially, then placed in earthen pots and beat up in the oil obtained from the seeds, or in spittle. It is then formed into balls, and after the outer shell has dried, it is wrapped up in the leaves of the poppy and packed away in strong boxes lined with hides. The Malwa averages about a pecul (133} pounds), and the Patna 116 pounds a chest. The opium being now ready for market, is transported to Calcutta, where it is sold at auction at the sales which take place in December and February. Until it is thus sold it belongs to the English government. Its agents, having planted the poppy seed, nurtured the plant through every stage of its existence, matured it, and gathered the opium, the government at these sales claims and reaps the reward of its labors. We quote from a report presented to the British House of Commons in 1832. “ The monopoly of opium in Bengal supplies the government with a revenue amounting to £981,293 per annum, and the duty which is thus imposed, amounts to 301} per cent. on the cost of the article. In the present state of revenue in India, it does not appear advisable to abandon so important a source of revenue-a duty upon opium being a tax which falls principally upon the foreign consumer, and which appears, on the whole, less liable to objection than any other which could be substituted.”_"Another source of revenue under this head is the duties collected on the transit of Malwa opium through Bombay, yielding to the government a revenue of £200,000 for the current year.”
At the sales at Calcutta the opium is purchased by agents, and thence transported in fast sailing vessels to China. 'And here it may be well to note the change which in a few years has taken place in the destination of the opium shipped from Calcutta.
In 1796 there were exported from Calcutta to China 1,070 chests; to other countries, 4,103 chests. In the year 1835 the entire export of opium from Calcutta, amounting to 10,207 chests, was to China, and this was the case for the four previous years.
To return. Macao was the first centre of the British Indian Opium trade, and doubtless would have long continued so, had it not been for the conduct of the Portuguese government there established. In 1802, Lintin, between Macao and Canton, on the Pearl River, became the opium depôt, and has ever since remained the principal depôt, with the exception of a short time when the opium fleet was removed to Whampoa. It is not, however, the only place where opium in large quantities is stored for sale. Amoy is supplied from ships anchored within the harbor, and in sight of the city. Shanghai is supplied from the opium fleet moored at Woosung, twelve miles below, and Fuchan, Ningpo and Chusan have each their opium fleet near at hand. Yet the one at Lintin is much the largest, and supplies all the others. For a part of the time, when the writer was in China, the fleet lay a little way below
Whampoa, and he often visited it from curiosity to learn how the trade in opium was conducted. After the drug has arrived from Calcutta, it is immediately transferred to the receiving ships, which are heavily armed and manned with double crews of Lascars, and then is left for sale or for transhipment up the coast. The scene about the fleet is an animated and curious one. The number of ships and smaller vessels in which the opium is stored, varies from ten to twenty, and to each of these is attached almost every variety of native boat, containing almost every kind and quality of Chinese, from the wealthy opium broker to the poor, miserable, and attenuated victim of the drug. The first is there in his splendid barge, resembling in form and embellishment, the flower-boats of Canton, and in all the glitter and magnificence of his wealth, ready to pay down his tens of thousands for the drug, and the last in his little sampan, which is perhaps all that he is worth in the world, but which he is ready to dispose of in order to obtain the means of
gratifying his accursed appetite. There, too, may be seen the " “Smug” boat with its hundred oars, and the “fast” boat with sails set, ready to receive on board and carry to Canton or Macao their contraband cargo. A little way off
, hugging the shore, is the Mandarin in his fleet boat ready to give chase after the smugglers, not in order to prevent their landing the illicit drug, but to obtain a price (sometimes $70 a chest), for his connivance at the illegal introduction of it. Alongside the ships are native boats in which the quality of the opium is tested previous to its being bought. The opium is paid for at the house at Canton, which delivers to the purchaser an order for the chest or chests he has selected. This order he takes to the ship and receives his opium. It is then by the Chinese themselves smuggled into the country. It may be asked, since the smuggling is so open, why is it not prevented? In reply, we state that the very persons who are charged with its prevention, are themselves addicted to the habit of smoking, and not only they, but the higher officers to whom they are responsible. They do not fear detection because they are linked together by a common interest. They not only wink at, but encourage the smuggling of opium, because thereby they obtain more than enough to satisfy their appetite for it. This is one of the evils of the traffic of which the good men in China complain. And there are good men there, notwithstanding Christians have so long been engaged in that work of demoralization—the opium trade. One of them describes the introducer of opium, as the “author of the most pressing evils to the country: the consumer of its substance, the destroyer of its people, the corrupter of its officers, and the plotter of its final subjugation.'
Opium, previous to being used in the pipe, is prepared with a great deal of care, in order to remove all the impurities, for it is
often adulterated with the fruit of the plantain, poppy leaves, &c. The writer has often witnessed this refining process with a great deal of curiosity and interest. A “ celestial” at this work is as careful in all his movements as though his life depended upon every motion of his hand. He sees nothing but the opium, and he thinks of nothing but the delightful effects it is by and by to produce upon the fortunate smoker. A ball of opium being broken, it is placed in small quantities, in a thin vessel of brass containing water. This is put over a brisk fire, and the mixture boiling rapidly, and the impurities removed from the surface, it is there kept until the water has nearly all evaporated. This process is repeated a number of times, until the opium is freed from its impurities. It is now about the consistency of tar, and is put away in small porcelain vessels
Sometimes a species of incense is mixed with the opium, but this is not always the case, the flavor of the opium itself being generally preferred by the Chinese.
Opium is seldom eaten by the Chinese, although the poorer classes often swallow that which is left in the pipe after smoking. Shops are to be found in almost every street in the seaport towns, for the accommodation of those addicted to the practice of smoking. As the manner in which opium is smoked is not generally understood, perhaps a description of one of these shops, and the mode in which opium is used in them, will interest the reader. The room is usually about twenty feet square, closely confined at the top and sides. On the walls are hung paintings, intended to represent the different degrees of enjoyment produced by the drug. Couches are placed along the wall, and in front of these are small low tables, on which are placed the apparatus for smoking: The pipe is of red earthen ware, with a flat surface about the size of a dollar, in the centre of which is an aperture capable of receiving a common knitting needle. The stem is of bamboo, and from a foot to two feet in length. The person about to smoke, stretches himself upon a couch, his head supported by a bamboo pillow. The attendant, who in the better class of houses, is usually a female, dips into the vessel containing the opium a small wire, and to this a portion of the drug adheres. This she turns for a moment in the flame of a lamp in order to harden it, and then having formed it into a ball, she places it over the orifice in the bowl of the pipe. She then hands the pipe to the Chinaman while she remains by his side, holding the flame of a lamp to the opium, for this being moist and even wet, requires the constant application of heat in order to throw off smoke. The person inhales the smoke into his lungs, and leisurely exhales it through his nostrils. As but a small portion of opium is used in the pipe, it is soon taken from the mouth to be refilled. This is repeated according to the length of time the person has been
addicted to the habit of smoking. A few days of this fearful luxury, when indulged in to excess, will impart a haggard and pallid look to the features, and a few months or even weeks will change the strong and healthy man into a little better than an idiot skeleton. In the evening the sights presented at these shops are of painful interest. Some are entering half distracted to feed the cravings of the appetite they have been compelled to subdue during the day, others laughing and talking under the effect of a pipe, while the couches around are filled with the different occupants who lie languid, with an idiot smile upon their countenances, too completely under the influence of the drug to regard passing events, and fast merging to the wished-for consummation. The last scene in this tragic play is generally a room in the rear of the building, where lie sheltered those who have passed into the state of bliss the opium smoker madly seeks; fit emblem of the long sleep to which he is blindly hurrying.
Here it may be proper to describe the effect of opium as shown in the different methods of its use.
The Malays chew the crude drug, and this acts upon them as an excitant, producing that frantic act called “running a muck.' The Turks also chew it, but after it has been in a measure, refined. They generally begin with doses of from half a grain to two grains, and gradually increase the quantity till it amounts to two drachms, and sometimes more a day. It is usually taken in pills, but sometimes it is mixed with syrups, or thickened juices, to make it more palatable. It is then taken with a spoon, or dried in small cakes, with the words “Mush Alla” (the word of God) imprinted on them. The effect manifests itself in one or two hours after taking it, and lasts from four to six hours, according to the dose taken. “ It is,”? says Macnish, in his Anatomy of Drunkenness, “ used extensively among them, but seldom with the view of producing intoxication. Some, indeed, deny that it can do so, strictly speaking. If, by intoxication is meant a state precisely similar to that produced by indulgence in vinous or spirituous liquors, they are undoubtedly right; but drunkenness merits a wider latitude of signification. The ecstacies of opium are much more entrancing than those of wine. There is more poetry in its visions, more mental aggrandizement, more range of imagination. Wine, in common with it, invigorates the animal powers and propensities, but opium in a more peculiar manner strengthens those proper to man, and gives for a period amounting to hours, a higher tone to the intellectual faculties. It inspires the mind with a thousand delightful images, lifts the soul from earth, and casts a halo of poetic thought and feeling over the spirits of the most unimaginative. Under its influence the mind wears no longer that black, passionateless aspect, which even in
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