A Letter to Queen Victoria

In Lin Tse –Hsu’s ‘A letter to queen Victoria’, we are given an account of  a letter that is written to the queen of England by a Chinese commissioner whose son had died because of an opium overdose purportedly supplied by British traders. He wants to stop the supply of the harmful commodity from England. When the English merchants become uncooperative, he seizes their stores. This leads to a violence in which the Chinese are defeated.  He is forced into signing a treaty that legalizes the sale of opium. Lin is later dismissed from his position as commissioner and forced into exile.

In the letter, he reiterates that British had benefitted from the trade and consequently amassed lots of wealth. He complains that the British were amassing profits by supplying poison. The letter also points out that the government was going to put in place measures that would see those supplying and smoking opium receive death penalty.

Furthermore, he tells the queen to imagine what the situation would have been like if it was China distributing opium in England. He concludes that it cause deaths and misery like it was in China. He wonders on how much harm this would bring to the world at large. The letter ends with a humble appeal to the queen to act on behalf of mankind and get involved to stop the madness of spreading opium.

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