Festering Cancer Spreads Evil Influence


This work is a manuscript copy with a table of contents, but without a preface, which takes its title from the cover of the first volume. The work has six juan in six volumes and contains memorials written by Qing official Huang Juezi (1793–1853), who played an important role during the First Opium War (1839–42). In the first memorial, dated the 18th year of the Daoguang reign (1838), he recommended the enactment of drastic laws to prohibit opium. The memorial was sent to all high administrative officials in the provinces for discussion, the results of which were reported to the throne by Lin Zexu, the imperial commissioner with plenipotentiary power appointed by the emperor to end the domination of opium at Canton. In the last memorial, from 1843, Huang Juezi requested the emperor to issue an imperial edict to remove three high officials, Qishan, Yijing, and Wenyu, from office and order them to reflect on their misdeeds. Qishan, who held various high offices, replaced Lin Zexu in 1840 and headed the negotiations with the British, in which he agreed to the cession of Hong Kong and an indemnity of $6 million in silver. Qishan was condemned, dismissed, and banished, but after the termination of the war in 1842 he was reinstated and became governor-general of several provinces. Yijing, a great-grandson of Emperor Qianlong (1711–99), was given the rank of general as the commander of Zhejiang province, and Wenwei was made an assistant commander. In March 1842, Yijing’s forces attacked Ningbo, which had been occupied by the British, but were totally defeated. Yijing also failed in other military actions. He was imprisoned the same year but was later pardoned and reinstated. Huang’s memorial indicated that these three officials were responsible for the military reverses of the war. In addition to memorials and imperial edicts, this manuscript contains correspondence, biographies, and verses. The texts are well organized and are useful sources for the study of the Opium Wars.

Last updated: March 18, 2015