Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Across China on Foot.
of opium are less prominent.  But no language of mine can exaggerate the evil, and if I would be honest, I cannot describe it as anything but China’s most awful curse.  It cannot be compared to alcohol, because its grip is more speedy and more deadly.  It is more deadly than arsenic, because by arsenic the suicide dies at once, while the opium victim suffers untold agonies and horrors and dies by inches.  It is all very well for the men who know nothing about the effect of opium to do all the talking about the harmlessness of this pernicious drug; but they should come through this once fair land of Yuen-nan and see everywhere—­not in isolated districts, but everywhere—­the ravaging effects in the poverty and dwarfed constitutions of the people before they advocate the continuance of the opium trade.  I have seen men transformed to beasts through its use; I have seen more suicides from the effect of opium since I have been in China than from any other cause in the course of my life.  As I write I have around me painfullest evidence of the crudest ravishings of opium among a people who have fallen victims to the craving.  There is only one opinion to be formed if to himself one would be true.  I give the following quotation from a work from the pen of one of the most fair-minded diplomatists who have ever held office in China:—­

“The writer has seen an able-bodied and apparently rugged laboring Chinese tumble all in a heap upon the ground, utterly nerveless and unable to stand, because the time for his dose of opium had come, and until the craving was supplied he was no longer a man, but the merest heap of bones and flesh.  In the majority of cases death is the sure result of any determined reform.  The poison has rotted the whole system, and no power to resist the simplest disease remains.  In many years’ residence in China the writer knew of but four men who finally abandoned the habit. (Where opium refuges have been conducted by missionaries, reports more favorable have been given concerning those who have become Christians.) Three of them lived but a few months thereafter; the fourth survived his reformation, but was a life-long invalid."[BA]

Much good work is now being done by the missionaries, and the number of those who have given up the habit has probably increased since Mr. Holcombe wrote the above.  In point of fact, helping opium victims is one of the most important branches of mission work. China’s Past and Future (p. 165) by Chester Holcombe.


[Footnote AY:  The range of mountains which I had skirted since leaving Tali-fu.—­E.J.D.]

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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