About two years ago I had occasion to go thoroughly into the question of the opium-trade between India and China. Up to that time, knowing practically nothing about the matter except what the Anti-Opium Society and their supporters had to say on the subject, I was as zealous an opponent of the traffic as any of them could wish. But as soon as I came to read both sides of the question, and consult original authorities, I felt myself forced, much against my will at first, to abandon my previous opinions. And I may as well say at once that I have no personal interest whatever, direct or indirect, in the maintenance or defence of the traffic. My only wish has been to treat the[Pg iv] question on the broad principles of practical justice, and not in deference to that cosmopolitan patriotism which would have us love our neighbour not indeed as ourselves, but much more than ourselves. The object therefore of this little work is to clear the fair name of England from the foul aspersions cast upon it by a comparatively small body of well-meaning but misguided philanthropists.