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which, if he had known or thought of it, he could easily have remedied. A hundred such instances of carelessness, to give it the mildest form of condemnation, are to be found in his most admired works; as 'hate, state,' regret, forget,' in the same quotation in Heloïse to Abelard. And such slovenly rhymes as coins' and dines, • fault' and thought,' 'awake' and 'speak,' 'look' and 'spoke, 'garrets’ and chariots,' sphere' and “there,' plain and man, barrier' and 'hear,' mayors' and 'wars,'' conveys' and 'oper-ays, and

many others which occur not only in the Essay on Man' but in the Dunciad' and several of his most ambitious poems; and such unnatural inversions of phraseology as . Pleasures the sex, as children birds pursue,' would not be tolerated by either the critics or the readers of the present day, if presented to the world by any one pretending to the high name of a poet, or even to the lower name of an accomplished versifier.

Boileau and Pope were, if not exactly the last, the greatest disciples of the bad school of stiff, formal, pedantic, sapless classicism. They were admired in an age of narrow sympathies and vitiated taste, in which the highest ideal of poetry was represented as existing in the works of Homer and Virgil and in the inferior but more popular works of Horace and Juvenal. Their influence upon French and English literature was wide and injurious, and continued to operate almost to the time of Victor Hugo in France, and of Wordsworth and Byron in England.

Whatever the divergencies of genius of the last-named English poets, they agreed in the one great essential of being natural, and of looking at life with their own eyes without deigning to wear the rusty spectacles of the ancients. It cannot be said that the example of Boileau and Pope has ceased to impress the minds of imperfectly educated or common-place people who think that they love poetry without understanding in what it consists. Were it otherwise, such persistent currents of inane verse would not continue to overflow in the “Poets' Corner' of newspapers, in the pages of less ephemeral periodicals, and in the countless volumes which booksellers continue to publish with a pertinacity that is almost wonderful until the commercial reasons which govern their actions are duly weighed and considered. Being tradesmen and not critics, they run no risk, and will publish almost anything that is not libellons or indecent, provided the young men and women who fancy themselves poets and poetesses will pay all expenses, and a commission on the sale, if any sale there be, which is sometimes more than doubtful. Verse-making in our day has become a nuisance, partly in consequence of the reputation too easily acquired of such writers as Pope and Boileau, and partly in consequence of the belief that prevails among ardent and inexperienced youths that admiration of poetry qualifies a person for writing it.

One may

admire a fine statue and think oneself a judge of sculpture without proceeding to carve the marble or model a Venus or an Apollo in the nude. But unluckily every one who admires poetry thinks he can write it. The more's the pity! True poetry, as distinguished from mere verse, is as rare in our day as ever it was, and will never cease to be a benefit and a blessing to the world, and the brightest jewel in the crown of a country's literature.

CHARLES MACKAY.

OPIUM AND COMMON SENSE.

* THERE is no subject connected with China and our relations with that country which has attracted, upon the whole, so much attention as the opium trade, and our active intervention in its supply. It was the immediate cause of our first war with China in 1839, the result of which was materially to change our position in the country, and that of the Chinese nation in respect to the whole Western world. It has formed the subject of inquiry before a Special Committee of the House of Commons. It has been one of the stock pieces of agitation and discussion among a large body of our countrymen at Exeter Hall and elsewhere, in connection with missionary objects, thus enlisting some of the best feelings of our nature in a question often urged upon the nation as demanding a national decision and a policy in accordance with it. As a political question, bearing upon all our relations with China, it has of necessity been often pressed upon the attention of successive governments by the course of events, both before and since the war; attacked among ourselves on hygienic grounds by the denouncers of stimulants under every form—and of narcotic stimulants as the most pernicious of all forms--on moral and religious grounds by missionaries and their friends, it still remains the “vexed question " of Exeter Hall—a weapon of offence in the hands of Continental carpers at our national morality and policy; and a permanent source of opprobrium and difficulty with the Chinese.'

More than twenty years have passed since I wrote these words, and they remain as applicable to our relations with China and the opium trade at the present day as they were in the year 1858. It would seem much easier, therefore, to fill the Egyptian Hall with enthusiastic supporters of resolutions denouncing the opium trade and advocating its suppression, than to grasp all the bearings of the subject and devise a practical mode of dealing with its difficulties.

The meeting which took place last month at the Mansion House, with the Lord Mayor in the chair, and an Archbishop and a Cardinal as chief supporters, passed resolutions declaring it to be the duty of this country to put an end to the opium trade,' and among other things to prevent the growth of the poppy in India, except for medicinal

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purposes, and to support the Chinese Government in its efforts to suppress the traffic. I should like to know whether any one of those present ever seriously endeavoured to realise with what result to the Chinese population, and that of India, these measures could be, I will not say carried out, but attempted ; or whether it was in the power of one, or even of both Governments united,' to put an end' to the trade, and prevent the culture of the poppy in their respective dominions. Of course, the object contemplated was moral and philanthropic, for the benefit of the Chinese under both aspects.

But statesmen and ministers, on whom the responsibility of administration and government rests, are not able to proceed on such lines without reference to the means and the probable results. And not only is it necessary that in such a case as this they should carefully consider by what practical means the end could be attained, but whether other and worse evils than those denounced might not follow their adoption. Under these circumstances, and in view of the important bearing of this trade on our relations with China, and the material interests of our Indian Empire, it would seem desirable that the chief arguments and facts on both sides should be placed at this time before the public in a compact and readable form. It is true that these may be found in various Blue Books, and minutes of the evidence obtained by Special Committees of both Houses of Parliament, and other public documents. But many of these, going back over a series of years, are virtually buried; and, judging from the speeches at the Mansion House and the successive debates on the opium question in Parliament, there would appear to be great need of some more accessible information on the whole subject of our relations with China and this vexed question of opium. I propose, therefore, in the following pages to review briefly all the leading facts most necessary to a right understanding of the points at issue.

Some recent information of a valuable and reliable nature has quite recently been afforded by a Yellow Book on 'Opium,' emanating from the Inspector-General of Maritime Customs in China; and, like all that proceeds from that source under the able and energetic ada ministration of Mr. Hart, it leaves little to be desired in lucid arrangement. The, Statistical Department of the India Office has also opportunely furnished valuable papers bringing our knowledge up to the latest date as to the opium revenue, culture, &c. In addition, a further correspondence between Sir Thomas Wade, our Minister in China, and Prince Kung, respecting the delay in ratifying the Convention of 1878—the latest attempt on the part of the two Governments to deal with this burning question-has just appeared. Under these circumstances, agreeing with one of the most strenuous advocates of anti-opium agitation, tható few are acquainted with the facts, and one of the first things is to spread relevant information,' I proceed to do my part in this good work.

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To understand the present state of the opium question and our relations with China in respect to it, something must be known of the past history of both.

The foreign trade in opium is comparatively of recent growth. In 1707 the importation of opium did not exceed 1,000 chests, and it continued at that rate in Portuguese hands for some years. It was not until 1773 that the East India Company made its first shipment in a very small way. In 1781, exactly a century ago, they freighted a vessel with 1,600 chests. Sold at a loss to one of the Hong merchants at Canton, and found unsaleable, it was finally reshipped by him for the Archipelago. A depôt of two small vessels had the same year been formed by the English in the Canton waters.

In 1793 only, the Chinese authorities began to object to this proceeding. A single vessel was then sent to Whampoa (an anchorage twelve miles from Canton), in no way connected with the East India Company, and does not appear to have been molested. This state of things continued without any noticeable incident until 1820, during an interval therefore of some twenty-seven years, when an order was issued by the Governor of Canton forbidding any vessel entering the port with opium on board. To judge by the language—a very uncertain guide, however-His Excellency was quite in earnest. Be careful,' he concludes,' and do not read this proclamation as a mere matter of form, and so tread within the net of the law, for you will find your escape as impracticable as it is for a man to bite his own navel.' The appearance of this document was no doubt in consequence of an edict emanating from Peking, prohibiting the drug under heavy penalties, for the alleged reason that it wasted the time and property of the people of the Innerland, leading them to exchange their silver and commodities for the vile dirt of the foreigner.' Notwithstanding these official acts, however, from this time to the close of the East India Company's monopoly in 1834, so far from escape from the net of the law' being impracticable, the contraband trade in opium off the Bogue, at the mouth of the Canton River, and along the coast northward for some distance, continued uninterruptedly and assumed something of a regular character: so far as an established tariff of fees to be paid for the undisguised connivance of the authorities at Canton could regularise an officially prohibited, and therefore technically a contraband trade. During the eighteen months before Commissioner Lin's raid in 1839, the trade at Canton was actually carried on in four boats carrying the Viceroy's flag, commonly called • Postcrabs' and “Scrambling Dragons,' which paid a regular fee to the Custom House and military posts.

In the interval, however, after the end of the East India Company's monopoly, Her Majesty's Government had taken over the direction, and sent out a Commission, with Lord Napier as its chief. From this change, not very wisely inaugurated without any previous com

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