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quite 2,000,0007., which shows the consumption of native and foreign cottons to be in favour of the former in the proportion of nearly ninety to one. In accounting for this remarkable disprothe portion it must be recollected that our exports previous to 1843 were too insignificant to deserve notice; that for several preceding hundred years the Chinese had been wearing cotton clothes; and that for the required supply of the material they had been accustomed to rely exclusively upon their own sufficient resources. In me our observations upon the cotton-growing districts attention has been drawn to the peculiar system of farming, by which the native producer is enabled to part with his produce at the lowest possible rate. The main feature of this system is that of the material being made by the farmer's family upon the same farm that grows the shrub. With this home-spun stuff are clothed the a whole of the surrounding agricultural population, and the surplus is sent to the markets, and supplies the wants of mechanics, boatth people, coolies, and, in fact, all the working classes. The cloth, being of a coarse, durable nature, is well adapted for working purposes; and as the garments made from it are sufficiently strong to last for several years, they satisfy the economical and thrifty nature of the purchasers. To increase our export cotton trade it will be necessary to introduce into the Chinese markets a material equally strong and of a yet more moderate price, and then Sua some advantageous result may with certainty be expected, for the Chinese are a remarkably self-interested race, and will always Cort strive to obtain their goods at the cheapest rate, and be perfectly the careless how or from where the goods are sent, provided their own personal interests are gratified.
咖 In all transactions with the Chinese, it should be clearly understood that they are the most laborious, thrifty nation in the world, a people inclined to devote their whole energies to whatever work they may have to do--a people cheerful, materialistic, and undemonstrative, who will labour hard, be content with little, and be s utterly indifferent to anything that may happen out of the immediate groove in which they are placed. They are glad to supply foreigners with as much tea, silk, or other native produce, as they will take; but they are not equally desirous of parting with their own silver or goods in exchange for foreign imports, and, probably, would not much regret their total withdrawal. present they are willing to purchase, in a moderate degree, cotton cloth, hardware, woollen stuff, and wrought iron; but the only 1 imports that they really care for, or show any eagerness to obtain, are munitions of war and opium.
The average annual revenue accruing to India from the duties levied upon exported opium is nearly five millions sterling, and the value of the quantity exported averages nine millions. It is Vol. 115.-No. 229. therefore
therefore evident that the illegal introduction of opium into China has been and is of important service both in arresting the drain of silver into that empire, and in increasing the Indian revenues; but, although thus serviceable to the producers, it has had an injurious effect upon the people to whom it has been introduced, for it has not only led to the degradation and ruin of many families living in or near the Treaty Ports, but has also caused most flagrant breaches of good faith on the part of the Chinese Government officials, many of whom have been tempted to sacrifice their duty to satisfy their desire for gain. It has consequently happened that a widely-spread system of duplicity and fraud has for many years been necessarily practised, a system which has not only created serious political troubles, but which has also, in the minds of thinking Chinamen, affected the credit and honour of the Western nations. This necessity for fraud or smuggling no longer exists, and since the Treaty of Tientsin (1858) the opium traffic, although not absolutely legalised, is conducted openly and with the tacit consent of the authorities. The steady prohibition, by the Chinese Government, of the import of opium has arisen in a great measure from the opinion that the empire would be thereby drained of its silver, and this view has for many years been strongly supported by the despatches of the provincial treasurers; but latterly this objection has not been much urged, and it is therefore presumable that the Government are satisfied with the present balance of bullion. It must be also borne in mind that the poppy is extensively grown in Sz-chuen, and the North-West provinces, and that native opium is produced in such sufficiently large quantities and at so low a price as to command the markets of the interior. At Hankow our Indian opium has been offered and rejected, and its importers do not expect that its sale will extend beyond the existing demand of the inhabitants of the maritime provinces.
According to the official returns, the total value of the opium exported from India in the year ending April, 1860, was 9,054,3917.; of this amount 664,2317. was the value of the demand of the Chinese residents in the Malayan Archipelago, and 8,366,3357. was that of what was imported direct into China. The effect of this import upon the balance of trade will now be
For the year 1860 there were exported from China to Great Britain:
In the same year there were imported into China from Great Britain goods to the value of 5,318,0367., showing a balance of legal trade against Great Britain of 4,005,7287. In 1860 the value of opium imported into China was 8,366,3357., which turns the balance of bullion against China to the amount of 4,360,6077. These calculations refer exclusively to the respective commercial transactions of India, China, and the United Kingdom, and the data can be relied on; to judge the extent of all the foreign trade with China, it is necessary to know the value of the entire imports and exports at all the ports; and for this purpose the returns are not readily attainable, and are incomplete. We have, however, an estimate of the whole value of the cargoes, including opium, exported or imported in vessels of all nations at the ports of Shanghac and Canton during the year 1860; and this estimate states the value of the imports to be in round numbers about eighteen millions, and the exports between fourteen and fifteen millions. The foreign trade at these two ports may be estimated as representing three-fourths of that of all China, and it may therefore be assumed that its whole value, exclusive of the Russian inland traffic, is about forty-four millions, of which twenty-four millions represent the imports, and twenty millions the exports, which still leaves a balance against China of four millions sterling. This drain upon the Chinese resources is entirely caused by the eager demand for opium; and the objections of the Government to its introduction are therefore, even on the simple ground of political expediency, perfectly intelligible. The revenues accruing to the Imperial treasury from the Customs duties are, however, sufficiently great to compensate for the deficiency, and thus the respective advantages of the foreign import and export trade are not unequally balanced.
The returns of trade during the years 1861, 1862, 1863, have been much influenced by the consequences of the war in the American States, and are too exceptional to admit of correct calculations being based upon them; but it is evident that the general condition of foreign commercial intercourse is progressive, and must continue to be so in proportion to the increasing number of residents, the introduction of modern inventions, and the gradual adoption of European methods of communication and transit. This progression, however, although certain, must be slow, because the empire will for many years be subjected to violent political revolutions; and even granting that the Chinese Government may be disposed to advance the interests of the mercantile community, the latter should not expect from them any decided line of conduct, and must be prepared to find them waD 2
vering and irresolute, either impelled by factions at Pekin or swayed by the uncertain public opinion of the provinces.
Prince Kung, the near relative and adviser of the young Emperor, is an able, clear-sighted politician, singularly well disposed towards foreigners, and desirous of advancing, to the utmost of his power, the commercial interests of the nation over which he is regent; but his tenure of office is uncertain, and the not unlikely event of a political crisis would lead to an entire reconstruction of the Ministry, and probably to grave changes in the attitude of Chinese officials.
In all cases, however, the adoption and thorough execution of liberal commercial treaties must of necessity be difficult and slow; there are violent party interests to contend against, natural antagonisms to overcome, and a traditionally hostile policy to be forgotten. Many years must elapse before the untravelled Chinaman can fully appreciate the advantages attending the introduction of Western arts and reforms, or approve of the red-haired foreigner traversing with impunity his flowery land; but in the meanwhile much may be done by following a steady and undeviating course of action, by pressing upon the attention of the Emperors the advisability of progressive intercourse, and by demanding a strict adherence to the more important clauses of treaties. The suspicious nature of Asiatics leads them—unfortunately for their own interests to treat forbearance with contempt; they never comprehend that foreign Powers can have any other motives than those of individual gain or aggrandizement, and therefore invariably presume that concession is a proof of weakness. The present state of our relations with China is mainly consequent upon a preponderance of military strength, and it must be expected that the fulfilment of those clauses of our treaty that are antagonistic to the opinions of the people will be proportional to the belief in the continuance of that strength.
The position of the resident foreign communities is, upon the whole, satisfactory, and their transactions with the native merchants are based upon the broad principles of mutual confidence and trust. It is, however, much to be regretted that a right understanding between Europeans and Chinese is greatly impeded by that detestable class of rowdies and adventurers who infest in daily increasing numbers the Treaty Ports, and who, by their lawless manners and fraudulent conduct, disgrace the character of those nations whose names they choose to adopt. Whenever Western and Eastern civilisations, with their necessarily discordant elements, are brought in contact, misunderstandings and quarrels arising from ignorance or antipathy must be of frequent
Such cases will inevitably happen as our intercourse with China becomes more extended; and, in the event of their being sufficiently serious to threaten the harmony of our relations, it is only just that due consideration should be shown to the impoverished condition of the Imperial treasury and to the many difficulties that embarrass the actions of the Government. Our limits will not permit us to notice the full extent of these difficulties, but we shall examine the nature of those that are most important, and which are intimately connected with long-cherished institutions.
A cursory glance at the constitution of the Empire might probably lead to the opinion that the Emperor possessed great controlling power, and that under his autocratic rule the people were deprived of all real freedom. This opinion, which has been not unfrequently advanced, would make a right comprehension of the condition of the nation impossible. Any Chinese Emperor who desires to govern well and remain upon the throne is so hedged in by precedent, so confined by ancient law and custom, and subjected to advice from all quarters, that he must be practically a thoroughly constitutional monarch. The people also, particularly in the central and southern provinces, are accustomed to exercise a remarkable amount of personal liberty of speech and action, and, owing to the peculiar system of administration and the slight and direct nature of taxation, are almost unconscious of the supervision and authority of the magistrates.
It is justly remarked by Mr. Meadows, our Consul at Newchwang, that there is a large amount of local self-government, to which no one who visits China can shut his eyes, and which is an insoluble problem to those who persist in seeing in the Government a despotism, and in the people slaves.' *
This characteristic feature is especially observable in the agricultural districts. The inhabitants of each village elect certain members of their own community to perform the important duties of elders, the men thus elected being usually owners of land or houses, fathers of families, and possessed of some slight literary abilities. Whenever questions of local importance require discussion the elders meet in the ancestral halls, and have submitted to them for decision the projects of their village brethren. The subjects upon which they have to adjudicate are very varied, and include family quarrels, festivals, plans for building temples or cutting canals, police organization, and punishment of minor offences. Political disturbances or serious infringements of the penal laws are reported by them to the district magistrate; and
*Chinese and their Rebellions.'