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The opium question is a very old sore ....
"The opium question is a very old sore. The manner in which foreigners interfered with the native authorities who were doing everything in their power to repress the habit, has been pointed out as an indication of the general depravity of Europeans[you know who in particular?]. They are engrossed with one sole idea - the making of money; and if they can make money, they are nover over-particular about rights or morals. |
Nothing has done so much harm to the cause of the missionary as this forcing of the opium trade upon the people. [trouble, trouble, for the preachers!] Even native Christians feel very keenly about this matter. The missionaries have therefore consistently attacked this traffic, which discounts a good deal of what they teach regarding unselfishness, benevolence, and virtue, said to characterise those believing in the foreign religion.
Passing from the historic to the present-day question, we find that the opium duty allowed by foreign Powers is utterly unfair and inadequate. While the revenue from this source in foreign places, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, has increased by leaps and bounds, the Cinese Govt is bound by the cupidity (= GREED for money or possession) of foreign traders to the same old rate [knows who ultimately pocketed most of the vice money?]. The Chinese people recognise this and resent it naturally.
Europeans complain that the Chinese are always trying to evade the responsibilities imposed by treaties [mutually agreed or entered into by coercion?]; the latter, on the other hand, charge the former with the same, whever the provisions are unfavourable to them [hmmm...]. .... And the Chinese instance the provisions relating to opium, in the Chefoo Convention, which remained unratified by England [finally, we gotcha!] for ten years.
Had China done the same, would not Tientsin have been threatened, and possibly might not Pekin have been captured once more?"