" BRITAIN'S OPIUM MONOPOLY "P [To THE Emma of THE
" i3PECTATOR."] BIR,—I have just received a copy of a book published by Messrs. Macmillan in America which contains a grave indictment of Great Britain. The theme of the book is that -for sordid ends Great Britain is deliberately• fostering the production of opium in India and the sale thereof in the British Colonial Dependen- cies; further, that British financial interests are behind the attempt to force the sale upon China, and ultimately Japan and Ameriea.
These allegations are supported by an array of figures which are astounding to those of us who had believed that Imperial policy in this matter was directed towards abolition. We, are told, for example, that Indian revenue from this source has leapt up from 691,624,878 in 1913 to .83,160,005 in 1917, whilst cultivation has increased to the highest point since 1919; and further, that the Indian Government finances opium produc- tion by loans free of interest, and that this applies to no other agricultural product.
The book is professedly written by an admirer of British Imperial Government; its internal evidence points to a desire to inflame to white-heat the whole of American public opinion against Great Britain, guilty of a "cold-blooded atrocity unparalleled by any atrocities committed in the rage and heat of war."
My object in drawing attention to this indictment is the hope that some one capable of speaking with authority will be in a position to deny these serious allegations, and thereby do something to mitigate the profound impression which this book on " Britain's Opium Monopoly " is bound to make.—I am,