I divorce myself from all the biases and inacuracies and inflammatory
comments which may catch the *spark* in your eye. All flames will be
diverted into /dev/null.
OPIUM IN CHINA (1700-1860)
source: (Research Issues 24) Perspectives on the History of Psychoactive
Substance Use; NIDA,USDHEW 1978. pgs 134-140 (i doubt I'll do that muc
c. 1700 Introduction Use of tobacco-opium mixtures (madak) begins in
East Indies (probably Java) spreads to Formosa, Fukien and the South China
coast (refs). In 1689, Engelberg Kaempfer inspects primitive dens where the
mixture is dispensed (Amoenitates Exoticae, 1712:642-5).
1729 First Edict Reports reach Peking of the evils of opium smoking
(shrivelling up the features; early deaths) in
Formosa and Fukien; Emperor Yung Chen prohibits
the sale of opium and the operation of smoking
houses. etc. etc. blah blah blah.....
c. 1750 The British East India Company assumes control of Bengal
and Bihar, the opium growing districts of eastern India;
British shipping dominates the Bengal opium trade out of
1757 Early Trade Britain annexes Bengal; the Chinese confine
foreing trade to Canton where it can be restricted
and controlled in the interests of revenue for
the Chinese. Honk Kong merchants serve as
intermediaries between the foreigners and the
1767 Opium Imports Rise Opium from Bengal continues to enter China despite
the edict of 1729 prohibiting smoking. It
increases in frequency from 200 chests annually
in 1729 to 1000 annually by 1967. However, much is
for medicinal use. Tariffs are collected on the
1772 The East India company establishes a limited monopoly over Bengal
opium; the company has general control but the operation is
in the hands of contractors, who advance company funds to the
farmers, purchase the opium produced, and sell it to the company
which then auctions it off to merchants in Calcutta.
British companies are the principal shippers.
1773-86 Limited Monopoly Warren Hastings, the first governor general
India, recognizes that opium is harmful and at
first opposes increasing production; later
he encoiurages the the control of opium by the
company hoping that by monopolizing and
limiting the supply he will discourage its
consumption. This limited monopoly lasts
throughout his administration and beyond,
but when the Chinese market is discovered,
the monopoly shifts from controlling to
1779 Opium Imported First mention of actual trading in opium at Canton.
1780 Prohibition Attempted British traders establish an opium depot
Macao. ANother imperial edict prohibits
consumption of opium and reiterates
prohibition of its sale.
1787 British Trade in opium is still less important than trade
debate in commodities; directors of the East India Company,
over opium. recognizing China's objections to the importation of
opium, make offers to prohibit the export of Indian
opium to China. However, company representatives
in Canton declare that the Chinese are never sincere
in their declared intentions of suppressing illicit
traffic, as long as the officials issue prohibitory
edicts with one hand and extend the other to receive
bribes from the illegal trade.
1796 Prohibition Alarmed by increasing use, the emperor issues an
Attempted edict forbiding importation of opium, as well as
export of Chinese silver that is being used as a
medium of exchange. Now even legitimate trade is limited to barter.
Nonetheless, illegal purchase of opium with silver continues.
1797 Trade Monopoly The company assumes full control of Bengal opium.
1799 Trade, A strong edict by authorities at Canton,
cultivation ban. supporting the emperor's decree of 1796,
forbids opium trade at that port. A
concurrent drive against native poppy growing is initiated. Opium becomes
an illicit commodity.
Trade diverted, The 1799 edict increases traffic through
smuggling. Macao and other areas beyond government
control enabling UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH. The British
declare only their legitimate cargo, leave opium on board to be picked up
by Chinese mercahnts who smuggle it ashore in small, fast ( :) boats.
1800 Anti-Opium Opium becomes identified with official
policy develops. corruption, criminals and antigovernment
secret societies. An imperial edict
prohibits domestic cultivation and repeats the prohibition against
importing opium. China develops an anti-opium policy, at least on paper.
Edicts continue to be issued reiterating prohibitions against importation,
sale, and consumption of opium.
1804 Canton Trade Resumes Opium trading resumes at the port of Canton.
Though the 1799 edict is still in force,
it has little effect and no immediate practical change in policy ensues.
etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
Maybe I 'll type more later. Depends on the colour of the flames I guess.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Jordan)
Subject: Opiates Britain 1800-1917
Date: 25 Dec 1994 14:15:39 GMT
" Patent medicines and opium preperations such as _Dover's Powder
were readilly available without restrictions. Indeed,
Laudanum (opium mixed with alcohol) was cheaper than beer or wine
and readily within the means of the lowest-paid worker. As a result,
throughout the first half of the 19th century, the incidence of opium
dependance appears to have increased steadily in Enland, Europe and the
United States. Working-class medicinal use of opium-bearing _nostrums_
as sedatives for children was especially prominent in England.
However, despite some well known cases among 19th century English
literary amd creative personalities--Thomas de Quincey, Byron, Shelley,
Coleridge, and Dickens--recreational use was
limited, and there is no evidence that use was so excessive as to be a
medical or social concern."
Perspectives on the History of Psychoactive Substance Use. REsearch Issues 24;
NIDA, USDHEW; pg. 155 [Opiates Britain 1800-1917]
1800-20s Domestic opium cultivation is encouraged by increased
Increased use; opium use, along with rising prices and problems with
Cultivation. adulteration. It declines after the 1820s, but there
does not appear to have been any call for controls.
1834-50 An awareness grows of endemic opium use among Fenish
Fenland use. peoples, who both tolerate and successfully control
their use by informal social mechanisms. Use is
particularly widespread among poorer classes, agricultural populations, the
inhabitants of small hamlets and isolated farms, and women and babies.
Contemporary observers attribute initiation of use for the rheumatic pains
which plague almost everyone in this low-lying marshy area.
1839 Opium and its preparations are responsible for more
Concern Grows premature deaths than any other chemical agent.
Opiates account for 186 of 543 poisonings, including
no fewer than 72 among children.
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Chotto yasumimashoo .
* * * * * * *
(totemo omoshiroi desu)