Indian opium trade is a subject which as yet it seems impossible to discuss with fairness and moderation. But the remedy for this undoubtedly lies, not in silence, but in increased discussion. That millions of human beings have been and are beingMoreIndian opium trade is a subject which as yet it seems impossible to discuss with fairness and moderation.
But the remedy for this undoubtedly lies, not in silence, but in increased discussion. That millions of human beings have been and are being ruined by opium is a fact that cannot be denied, nor is it palliated by the equally certain fact that millions who have never tasted the drug are daily ruined by other forms of self-indulgence. If it can be proved that the English nation, as a body, is responsible for the first evil, who would bid her delay her repentance until she had purged herself of her other sins?Mr.
Cleiffes book, Englands Greatest National Sin, contains an indictment not so much of the English nation as of the Government and the Civil Service of India, who are even accused of falsifying the records presented to Parliament, with the object of concealing from the British nation the full extent of the evil which they are working. He assumes throughout that the English nation is ignorant of what is being done in its name to those whom he is pleased to call our subjects. We wonder if Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji would acknowledge himself as a subject of Mr. Cleiffe and those whom he addresses. We believe that, so far as India is concerned, there is an honest desire on the part of all who have any authority to diminish as much as possible the temptations to indulge in opium 6moking.
Excess in eating opium it is impossible to prevent, except by the systematic destruction of the poppy wherever it grows. Mr. Cleiffe is consistent in advocating the entire destruction of the poppy plant. If this plan were carried out land it is quite feasible in India, where the poppy does not grow wild), the probable effect would be to increase the consumption of bhang, the juice of a plant which grows wild, and is far more deleterious in its effects when indulged in to excess than opium.
If bhang also were proscribed, the vicious would fall back upon dhatura, which is still more deadly. If the entire export trade in opium from India were done away with (and so far as China is concerned we believe that every Anglo-Indian official would rejoice if this could be done), it would still be necessary to regulate the consumption of drugs in India itself, and whether this could be done in any better way than by the Government monopolizing the traffic is extremely doubtful.It is not many weeks since a high dignitary of the Church, whose motives are beyond all suspicion, publicly suggested a Government monopoly of the liquor traffic in England as the best remedy for the drunkenness of this country, which, whatever may be said to the contrary, is a far greater curse to humanity than the opium smoking of India.
It is one of Mr. Cleiffes methods to use the word license, as if it had no correlative in restriction. This is very much the case with liquor shops in this country, which appear to be actually more numerous than the shops for the sale of any other commodity.
But in India a license does presuppose restriction. Mr. Cleiffe admits that1 Mm shops are Bo hidden that it would be possible in many cases to pass near them for years without knowing of their existence. Could this be said of the London gin palaces? In the city of Lucknow there are only three shops for the sale of opium- in the whole of the North Western Provinces and Oudh. containing a population of about fifty millions, and more than a hundred towns with a population over ten thousand, there are 1,128 shops, that is to say.one shop for about fifty thousand people.
If the English gin palaces were distributed at the same rate there would bo altogether eighty in the county of London....-The Literary World, Vol. 46