AlfredJ. Smith
1893 The Lancet  
294 inaccuracy of the anti-opium contention ; that it shares with the many narcotics and stimulants in use in all eivilised countries the characteristics of a poison when used in excess, but in a minor degree to most of them ; that such excess is exceptional in India ; that the revenue raised from its sale in British India as an excise is no more immoral or degrading than the revenue raised in Great Britain from the spirit licences and other means of taxation applied to alcohol in its various
more » ... rms, or to tobacco, which is also in universal use ; that the fiscal action of the Indian Government in restricting its use is a really humane and moral measure when contrasted with the spirit licences issued in Great Britain, and is itself in practice and intention a thoroughly moral proceeding ; and that the persistent mixing up of China with India in the opium question in the present commercial and friendly relations of the two countries would justify much stronger language of reprobation than I care to employ; not from the moral cowai (lice which Dr. Maxwell attributes to me, but because the interests of commerce are not governed by the fads and fancies of enthusiasts, and the question is in process of solution by the means which regulate and govern all questions of international relations in their politico-economic bearings or their social aspects. As Dr. Maxwell, after my annihilation, kindly left me in the congenial society of Sir Benjamin Brodie, to whom I was much indebted in early life, I feel bound to introduce him to a companion of rare merit in dealing with questions of evidence in history. The anti-opi urn agitation professes to be based on the interests of religion and humanity. In his admirable inaugural lecture as professor of History at Oxford the distinguished historian Froude referred to the still more celebrated philosopher of Chelsea the question of the interests which guided most human actions. " Interests, " said the sage, I what have men to do with interests ? There is a right way and a wrong way. That is all we need think about. " In another portion of his discourse on the Crusades Professor Froude says : "More than once in the chequared experiences of mankind there have been epidemics of enthusiasm. Ideas have taken possession of enormous masses of people, calling themselves sacred, sweeping all before them for generations, and ending in the sands like African rivers. " The ineffectual results awaken them from their delusion to find that their duties lie at home. " Generosity of intention," he continues, "cannot confute facts ; and enterprises inspired by passion, and unguarded by wisdom, stand in history as monuments of folly."
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)00511-1 fatcat:4bdm52hgcredxg44zaruem7p6y