Coffee, tea, or opium Essay

This essay has a total of 988 words and 4 pages.

coffee, tea, or opium

"Coffee, Tea, or Opium?"
In "Coffee, Tea, or Opium," the authors main point is that even at this point in history
some rulers felt that drug importation throughout other countries was immoral for their
economic and social status. China's commissioner for foreign trade, Lin Zexu wanted to
stop the illegal importation of opium into his country. Lin saw that the opium trade was
damaging the publics health and was bleeding China of its wealth. The emperor of Manchu
had given Lin extensive power and ordered him to control the demand of China's people for
opium and force the barbarian merchants to cut off the supply.

Throughout this article Wilson shows that as the years past the opium use in China grew substantially:
"During the trading season of 1816-17, about forty-six hundred 150-pound chests of opium
entered China. This number rose to 22, 000 by 1831-32 and 35,000 by 1837-38.. That was
more than 5.25 million pounds of opium, the carefully collected and dried sap extruded
from 4.8 trillion opium poppies" (Wilson pg 38).


Not only was the did it spread rapidly into China, but other countries found that highly
addictive substances made great profits in exportation. The traders were not the only men
making a quick dollar, but the middlemen, and the farmers as well. The people that fell
short we the addicts themselves and the importing countries, due to the fact that the
opium ran up uncontrollable trade deficits.

England and other countries profited by exporting opium into China because these countries
were receiving goods like tea and silk while China was getting opium. This meant that the
other countries were getting items they could sell and receive items that were reusable or
they could use for resell in their country for higher prices than what they had spent in
China. Not only that but they could sell small amounts of opium for a large sum of money.

Lin wrote a letter to Queen Victoria to explain his troubles about the effects opium was
having on his country, but to no avail. All he wanted was someone who understood his
desire to stop the selling of opium in China. Hoping that the Queen would respond and
agree with him never happened. Unfortunately the British were determined to keep the sales
going even if it meant by force. They wanted to keep the profits in by taking some of
China's main ports. They also abused their right to port in these areas by staying longer
than needed, so that they could gain more leverage in China. Not mention more profits.

The emperor found Lin to be a failure and wanted the excuses of why the sales had not
stopped to end. Lin's response was to ask the emperor to fight against the British so that
they would not expect them to fight them with arms. By doing this Lin believed that they
would be able to reach their fruition on the fight against opium.

The authors conclusion to this article is that in 1839, Lin had 20,000 chests of opium
disposed of. This did not prove to be affective for China though because in 1942 they had
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