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Merchants of War and PeaceBritish Knowledge of China in the Making of the Opium War$
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Song-Chuan Chen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390564

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390564.001.0001

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The Regret of a Nation

The Regret of a Nation

(p.126) 7 The Regret of a Nation
Merchants of War and Peace

Song-Chuan Chen

Hong Kong University Press

The Warlike party did not get its way entirely. To further elaborate the history of the Pacific party’s efforts in arguing against the war, this chapter shows how the British public opposed the war. Anti-war arguments in the London print media, drawn from Christian universalism and Enlightenment humanitarianism, were often discussed in one breath and became inseparable. Even before the British expedition arrived in China in the summer of 1840, the war was already being called an ‘Opium War’ by the anti-war campaigners, which has stuck ever since. Their opinion of the war prevailed in the second half of the 19th century. After 1860, while British imperial expansion worldwide continued, British parliamentarians, more often than not, condemned the war, and regretting that the ‘Opium War’ was ever waged.

Keywords:   Anti-war movement in London, peace movement in the UK, insular China vs. peaceable China, origin of the name Opium War

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