The war against Opium trade

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:History

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However, this plant was the reason behind huge wars between the western countries and Qing dynasty of China during the ninetieth and the twentieth century. The first opium war was fought from 1839 to 1842 and it was the British who were fighting against China. The second Opium war happened from 1856 to 1860 where the Britain and France joined forces to fight against China. These wars formed a major part of China’s history Opium had a great impact on China than any other commodity of trade internationally. The Chinese were great smokers of opium, dealers, and farmers of the commodity. The dealers ensured that they made the most of the commodity by setting up proper networks to handle the trade. As farmers, they produced huge amounts of the poppy harvest to ensure that opium remained in circulation. There was such a huge demand for opium in the Chinese economy, their own native opium could not satisfy the demand. Hence they relied on imports In fact according to Lodwick, “Throughout most of the nineteenth-century opium was the major import of China replaced by cotton only in the 1890”1. According to the statistics kept by Imperial Maritime Custom Services, “The amount of opium imported to China 50087 piculs in 1863:60948 in 1867 and 82927 in 1879 when the trade reached its heights. In fact, the annual value of opium import was between 30 to 40 million H. k. ”2 Due to this huge demand from opium, local farmers became serious about opium farming. By the late 1880s opium became a crop that was grown in many parts of China.

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The farmers did not hold back, they grew all kinds of opium ,the white, red, yellow, pink and purple opium poppy. However, it is not reported on the amount of native opium that was grown in China since opium was prohibited in China. The Chinese officials were not really for the idea of importing, growing, and trading of opium. This is because opium can be addictive and had negative effects when used for long period. It was reported by Lodwick in the book “Crusaders against Opium”, that 40 million people were addicted to opium, “There were probably more addict in the province where great quantities of the drug were produced and many foreigners stated that 80% of the population Szechwan were opium users. ” 3 Part of the reason as to why many people were addicted to opium, is because it was prescribed by many doctors.

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According to Grace, “They did not aspire to the status of landed gently in Scotland: nor did they set themselves career goals in the manufacturing sector of Scotland economy. As ambitious young participants in the British Diaspora, they were destined to become gentlemanly capitalist. ” 4 William started out as a ship surgeon of Brunswick. He met his friend James Matheson when they were in Canton. The two young men settled on the coast of China where they were dealing with the opium trade. The merchants already had the supply and the demand was there too. The only thing standing between the supply and demand was the authorities hence the merchants could not stop the trade. Additionally, despite the rivalry and competition among the merchants, the profits from the trade were good so it was hard to stop the trade in general.

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Grace describes that “Jardine, Matheson continued to be the foremost dealer in opium. He made a lot of money from the trade, Matheson estimated that of the 6500 chests of opium aboard vessels along the coast 3700, far more than half, were under the management of his farm. Britain began trading opium grown in India in exchange for silver in China. The Chinese needed the opium since they used it as traditional medicine. Since them, the British became the main supplier of opium to China. Brook and Bob say that, “Since the British began the commerce, were always the most important suppliers of the drug and were the means of Chinas humiliation in the opium war”. Apart from opening China for trade, British played a huge role in the humiliation and disempowerment of the Qing Empire.

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The officials did not like the invasion; a Chinese official who had witnessed the invasion wrote a letter describing his feelings to the invasion of their region. He said “Just now I have heard the English Barbarians have at last come into the provincial capital and have exchanged calls with the great and small officials. Moreover, they have occupied the Chi Tsui SSu on top of Wu Shih Shan, they have raised their flag they beat their drums and the people are much disturbed. ” 11 Since then, Qing Empire started a downward spiral. Even so, according to Hans, “The Chinese remained uninterested in English products had a serious drain on their silver lost two wars and had to accept a substantial occupation by foreign powers, corruption among many officials a growing army of Chinese opium addicts and a government which remained strongly opposed to opium.

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Take for example when Lord Napir arrived in China, he wanted to deal directly with the Qing officials but the officials refuse to acknowledge him as a government official. Unfortunately, when Napir was trying to explain his title to the Qing officials, the translator represented him as Yimu which means “Barbarian Eye”. According to Basu in the article “Chinese Xenology and the Opium War”, “It was translated as “Barbarian Eye,” a rather absurd expression that angered all and sundry among the East India Company's officials. ”15 Napir was not pleased he almost succeeded in attacking Canton but he died along the way. America is another state that had a role in the opium war and trade. A merchant by the name Stephen Gerard was so excited about this and he wrote, “I am very much in favors of investing heavily in opium.

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While the war lasts opium will support a good price in China” 18 Americans also acted as Middlemen in the opium trade. “During the war Americans In China must have had compelling reasons to engage in the middleman trade in opium especially since opium paid very well required someone on the spot and did not require running the blockade”. When the Americans realized that Indian Opium was falling out, they were there to provide an alternative of Indian opium to Chinese consumers. Later, the Americans saw the outcome of Opium usage and took up the war against opium “The United States took the lead by setting up an international opium in Shangai in 1909 to explore ways and means of suppressing drugs particularly opium inexpensive and potent derivative morphine. The company stopped contracting for the growth of opium and started growing the opium by itself.

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Opium cultivation was left to peasant farmers who had to have licenses in order to grow the product. As the company began being in control of the opium, it was the only company allowed to export Opium to China. Hence there was a huge demand for the company’s opium. In conclusion, the opium war cannot be forgotten for it played a significant part in the growth of international trade. BIBLIOGRAPHY "A Chinese Official's Experiences during the First Opium War. The American Historical Review 39, no. doi:10. BASU, DILIP K. Chinese Xenology and the Opium War: Reflections on Sinocentrism. Downs, Jacques M. American Merchants and the China Opium Trade, 1800-1840. The Business History Review 42, no. jstor. org/stable/3112527. “History of the Opium Problem : The Assault on the East, Ca. ” Brill 2012-04-01:27-176 Lodwick, Kathleen L.

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Crusaders against Opium : Protestant Missionaries in China, 1874-1917. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.

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