Letter To Queen Victoria Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

In 1839, Lin Zexu wrote The letter to Queen Victoria, in attempt to stop the evolving addiction to opium in China. The letter expressed China's desire for a peaceful resolution to the opium trade. He the limited and quite incorrect knowledge he had on the issue in hopes to gain sympathic understanding. Lin used Confucian teachings, historical events, plus forceful reasoning on moral grounds in order to persuade the English monarch that he would not ask of them anything he would not be comfortable doing himself. The letter created an ultimatum made by Commissioner Lin on behalf of the Qing Emperor to the English monarch, delivering the clear message that he and the Qing government were ...view middle of the document...

This goes along with the Confucianism concept that, as quoted in paragraph 8, “Naturally you would not wish to do unto others what you yourself do not want.” In acting on this moral warning, Lin shows his elementary knowledge about the British, and his mistakes under-mind the effort of his argument. He first assumes that the sale and smoking of opium are forbidden in Britain, which wasn't true for most British, who felt opium was no more harmful to humans than alcohol. He also believes tea and rhubarb to be indispensable to the health of the British, which was wrong as well, due to tea drinking had become a national habit in Britain. Thirdly, Lin states his most valuable point, that without Chinese silk, other products and merchandise can not be created. In actuality, the British needed the Chinese and their resources more than the Chinese needed British goods. S the question arises of why the British would continue to sell the Chinese such a harmful drug when it is Britain who are dependent on the Chinese for a stable economy? In paragraph 6 Lin compassionately asks , “Where is your conscience?” It would have been looked down on and quite hard the British ruler to go against this argument.
After asking such hard hitting questions, Lin softens his tone in paragraph 9. He writes that perhaps the British ruler was unaware that some British subjects have been involved in opium smuggling in china, since in the British homeland, because of the queens “honorable rule” no opium is produced. He then asks the British ruler to extend the edict against planting opium from Britain to India and grow the “five grains” instead. This plea is also made on the moral ground that for such an ethical course of action, “Heaven must support you and the spirits must bring you good fortune.” Lin's notion that the “five grains” are essential to humans and his belief in both “heaven” and “spirits” are distinctly Chinese.
Paragraphs 10-12 give a deeper understanding of the new regulations from the imperial court stating that the same punishments will be extended to the British if they continue ignoring Lin's anti-opium...

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