10 JANUARY 1914, Page 14


[To ras Roma or Tar "SPECT■201...] Sza,—Before leaving Batavia, I visited the Dutch Govern- ment's opium manufactory in that city, and was shown all the processes by which the crude opium is turned into the finished article, ready to be sold, retail, by the Government agencies established over the whole of the Dutch East Indies, to the owners of the innumerable opium dens, and to all the countless and wretched slaves of the drug. Singapore, as you are of course aware, is also the headquarters of an opium monopoly (belonging to the British Government). While staying in Singapore, I saw the Government opium manufactory, but did not enter it. I conversed with one of the employees and, finding that the methods of manufacture were similar to those used in Batavia, did not think it necessary to apply for admission. The audacious effrontery of the Government opium monopolies in Asia, whereby Governments deliberately corrupt and destroy their own subjects for the sake of gain, seems almost incredible. The situation has, however, this advantage—namely, that those Governments which have established complete monopolies in opium can at any moment extinguish the vice completely in the countries which they rule, by the very simple method of closing their own Govern- ment opium manufactories. By conferring such an inestimable benefit on the races which they govern, by wiping out this destructive vice from their Asiatics possessions, the European nations concerned might justify their own position as conquer- ing and ruling forces ha the East. By continuing their present action they are furnishing a powerful and unanswerable argu- ment to those dangerous agitators who are now preaching rebellion in every European possession in Asia, I have myself heard that argument used, with telling effect. —I am, Sir, &c.,


At sea, between Singapore and Rangoon : November 21st, 1913.

[Having allowed Mr. Shadwell to condemn the methods of the Dutch in dealing with the opium trade, we cannot deny publication to this supplementmy letter, in which he levels a similar charge against our own Government. It must not be supposed that because we print his letter we endorse his charge. Our policy may be open to criticism, but it aims at the ultimate suppression of the opium trade. We cannot continue this correspondence—En. Spectator.]