Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 400.]

Sir: In continuation of my dispatch No. 393 of the 8th instant, I have the honor to transmit herewith a translation of an imperial edict which appeared yesterday, decreeing the abolishment within ten years of opium smoking and ordering the council of state to draw up regulations for carrying the same into effect.

I have, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill.
[Page 360]

Imperial edict prohibiting opium smoking.

Ever since the relaxation of the prohibition of opium smoking the vice has spread nearly everywhere in China. The smokers waste their time, neglect their business, become sick in body, and ruin their families. For several decades there has been a daily increase of poverty and weakness which may be traced to this cause. In a word, it deserves the strongest condemnation. The Imperial Government is now earnestly seeking to make the State strong, and finds it necessary to urgently warn its subjects that all may bestir themselves and put away this long-standing evil and walk in the paths of health and peace.

It is hereby decreed that within a period of ten years the injurious practice of using opium, whether foreign or native, must be entirely abolished. As to the measures needed for a strict enforcement of prohibitions of opium smoking and the cultivation of the poppy, let the council of state carefully consider the question and draw up satisfactory regulations to be submitted for our approval. Respect this.