said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any sanction had been given by the Chinese Government to the trade in 341 Opium, or whether the introduction of that poison into China by British Merchants is still in violation of the laws of that country? He found that this notice ought to have been given to the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, but as he understood that it had reached the right quarter, perhaps the hon. Gentleman could reply to it.
MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
I do not quite comprehend the object of the hon. Gentleman's question; but, as I suppose it is intended to give information to the mercantile community, I will state that, in future, the introduction of opium into China will not be a violation of the law of that country, as it is sanctioned by the Treaty entered into between the two countries. The introduction is, however, accompanied by two conditions—one that opium will pay a duty of 10 per cent ad valorem on introduction into a Chinese port, and there is a restriction on the importers selling anywhere but in the port; it will be carried into the interior only by Chinese traders, and the seller is not to be allowed to accompany any one of the traders. By one of the provisions of the Treaty of Tien-Sing, British subjects are allowed to go into the interior of China with passports, but that privilege does not extend to persons engaged in this traffic, nor do the provisions in the Treaty relating to the transit dues extend to this traffic, nor are the rules which are established on other grounds applicable to the opium trade.