12 JUNE 1880, Page 2

Mr. Pease on Friday week raised the annual debate on

the opium monopoly, and Lord Hartington made his first speech upon it. It was not a very prudent one, for he spoke of his opponents as advocating a "cheap morality," and so irritated

them into overlooking his strong points. These were, that opium in itself was no worse than spirits, that an excessive tax like the opium monopoly could not in- crease the sale of anything, that we had no power to pro. hibit the cultivation of the poppy, and that, consequently, the abolition of taxation would greatly increase the sale of the drag. Moreover, the mass of the opium eaten in China is grown and made in China, the Indian drug being only imported as a fancy article, OA Havannah cigars are here. The weak point of the speech, as of every other speech in defence of the existing arrangements, is the defence of the Treaty of Tientsin. Under that treaty, the Chinese are prohibited from taxing the import of opium, an unfair, or at all events high-handed violation of a right conceded to every other country on earth. The injustice was partly corrected by the Convention of Chefoo, and we do not understand the admitted delay in carrying that convention out. Are we not avoiding an obligation, for fear we should lose money ?