A thread about drug smuggling, the British Empire, and the ways in which historical wrongdoing by the Establishment persists into the present day. 🧐🧵🌳🍃🍂⛓ #EstablishmentPsychopathy #history #ToriesOut #OpiumWar #ColonialViolence
It’s generally well known that the Opium Wars of the mid nineteenth century were launched by Britain against China in order to benefit British drug smugglers… 🤨🇬🇧🇨🇳 #OpiumWars #BritishEmpire #ColonialViolence #China
After all, even the National Army Museum – not typically regarded as a bastion of anti-Establishment lefties – states this frankly in its displays on the Opium Wars. #BritishEmpire #ColonialViolence #China
The impact on China was significant and lasting, even if too many of us in Britain prefer not to cloud our imperial nostalgia with such unpleasant realities… ⬇️😔 #OpiumWar #China
Also largely ignored or not understood is the way that the enormous fortunes accumulated through this illegal trade and abuse of power STILL shape and distort our society. Let’s take a look at the history… 😐 #OpiumWar #history #BritishEmpire
By the turn of the nineteenth century, the East India Company had come to dominate India, and relied for much of its revenue on the sale of opium to China. The Company enforced a monopoly over production and sale of opium in Bengal. #India #China #BritishEmpire #ColonialViolence
Since the sale of opium in China was illegal, however, the Company did not want to take the risk of shipping the product to the customer, and thus sold the drug to “country traders” in Calcutta, British merchants who then smuggled it into China. 🧐🇬🇧🇮🇳🇨🇳 #BritishEmpire
There was no ambiguity about the illegal nature of the opium trade, nor its damaging impact. Take, for example, this statement in the House of Commons in 1833 ⬇️😳 #OpiumWar #ColonialViolence
The Company continued to dominate the trade into China in other articles, all of which was limited by Chinese law to the port city of Canton. It would buy huge amounts of tea in Canton, while the country traders smuggled in the Indian opium elsewhere. #Canton #China
Ambitious British traders outside the Company resented its monopoly powers, and campaigned for a change in the law. One of these trading companies was established by two Scotsmen, William Jardine and James Matheson. 🧐🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 #Opium #ColonialViolence #trade #China
After 15 years as a surgeon for the East India Company, William Jardine found the lucrative prospect of trade more to his liking and quit the Company in 1817 to become a free merchant in the India-China trade. #Jardine #trade #opium #China
James Matheson, younger by twelve years, also worked for a trading house in Canton. In 1828 the two men began working together, and in 1832 renamed their operation Jardine, Matheson & Co. Pic of Matheson from 1861. #Matheson #trade #China
Their principal business was, of course, opium: it proved fabulously profitable to smuggle into China. Jardine & Matheson soon became aggressive in seeking to expand their market access and end the monopoly privileges of the East India Company. #opium #trade #JardineMatheson
By 1833, the free traders had won the argument. Parliament debated the issue, and decided not to renew the Company’s monopoly on the China trade. Jardine, Matheson, and the other former country traders now had the entire China trade open to them. #JardineMatheson #Hansard
Chinese law, of course, limited them to Canton. Jardine Matheson began (illegally) trading opium further up the Chinese coast, while lobbying the British government to use diplomatic pressure to force China to open more ports to foreign trade. 🧐🇬🇧🇨🇳 #opium #JardineMatheson
With the East India Company out of the picture in Canton, the British authorities had to appoint someone to oversee the independent British traders in the city. Jardine and the other free traders wanted a figure sympathetic to their aggressive goals. 🇬🇧🇨🇳 #BritishEmpire
They succeeded: William, Lord Napier, was appointed as British Superintendent in Canton. A Royal Navy officer with no experience in either trade or diplomacy, Lord Napier was to prove a terrible choice. He had all the diplomatic finesse of a length of lead piping. 😖 #heck
Arriving in China in July 1834, Napier had barely been in post for any time at all before deciding that force was the best way of persuading China to open new ports to British trade. 😦🇬🇧🇨🇳 #BritishEmpire #opium
In brief, Napier so thoroughly mishandled the relationship with Chinese officials in Canton that by early September he felt justified in ordering two Royal Navy warships to bombard the Chinese forts protecting the entrance to the inner waters. 🤦‍♂️ #BritishEmpire
This outbreak of conflict had less impact than Napier expected. Although there was heavy fighting around the forts, Chinese forces sunk obstacles upriver and denied access to Canton itself, so the armed demonstration was a damp squib. #BritishEmpire #China #opium
With little support coming from the British traders (except for Jardine & Matheson), Napier backed down, ordering his gunships away and himself retreating to Macao. As they had promised, with Napier gone the Chinese resumed trade. #China #BritishEmpire #opium #gunboat
By coincidence, Napier died from a feverish illness only two weeks after arriving in Macao. This was seized upon by Jardine & Matheson as reason enough for making war on China. ⬇️😖 #BritishEmpire #China #JardineMatheson #Napier
Jardine & Matheson were the leading advocates for an assault on China, and spent much of the 1830s lobbying for war. ⬇️🤨 #China #BritishEmpire #JardineMatheson
Matheson himself attempted some pro-war PR, writing a deranged pamphlet calling for an invasion of China in pursuit of trade ⬇️😐 #BritishEmpire #JardineMatheson #China
This publication was filled with deluded rhetoric, and much racism. ⬇️😖 #BritishEmpire #JardineMatheson #racism
Jardine & Matheson also engaged best-selling authors in their PR efforts, paying Samuel Warren (famous at the time) to produce this jingoistic gibberish. ⬇️🤦‍♂️ #jingo #ToriesOut #opium
The above incoherent nonsense was published after conflict had already begun. Please see the excellent “Imperial Twilight” by Stephen Platt for the full story, suffice to say here that Jardine & Matheson had finally got their war in 1839. #OpiumWar #China #JardineMatheson
Filled with numerous atrocities by British forces against Chinese civilians (see Platt, p404), the war nonetheless dragged on due to confusion in aims and the lengthy communications with London. #OpiumWar #JardineMatheson #China
Eventually, by 1842 British bombardment and occupation of Chinese coastal cities forced them into signing the Treaty of Nanking, the first of the “unequal treaties”. #OpiumWar #China #JardineMatheson
This treaty obliged China to open five ports to foreign trade, required them to pay a large indemnity for their “offences”, and ceded the island of Hong Kong to Britain in perpetuity. #OpiumWar #BritishEmpire #HongKong
Jardine Matheson relocated to Hong Kong and swiftly became one of the dominant forces in Asian business. It remains today as a gigantic corporation, comprising all kinds of operations from shipping to luxury hotels. #JardineMatheson #HongKong #BritishEmpire
Jardine Matheson was – by quite some way – the leading smuggler of opium into China. It left the narcotics business in 1872, not through some change of heart, but because it was no longer sufficiently profitable. Pic shows Woosung Railway in 1876. 💰💰💰 #JardineMatheson
Jardine Matheson thus stopped smuggling drugs 150 years ago, and the war that the founders helped to start was some decades before that… Some would call it ancient history. Should we therefore put all this behind us and carry on regardless?
Moreover, many would argue that we should not judge the past by the moral standards of the present day… #Colston #splash
Setting aside this problematic claim [universal rights, anyone..?], even by the standards of the day the Opium War was regarded as a moral wrong, and there was a great deal of opposition to it. 🧐 #OpiumWar #BritishEmpire #China #ColonialViolence
The young William Gladstone spoke against it in Parliament in no uncertain terms. #unjust #disgrace #Gladstone #Hansard
He was by no means alone, with many other MPs opposing the motion in the debate on the war. The Government won by just nine votes. #OpiumWar #BritishEmpire #China
There was also outraged opposition from abroad, highlighting the disreputable behaviour and outright hypocrisy of the British state and commercial interests.
For example, under the heading “English Commerce”, this French cartoon from 1840 has a lanky Brit say, in a comical accent, “I tell you to buy this poison right away. We want you to poison yourself completely, because we need a lot of tea to comfortably digest our beefsteaks”…
As too often happens, however, the people with the guns and money got their way. Britain fought a disreputable war, and both William Jardine and James Matheson became extremely wealthy. #capitalism #JardineMatheson #ColonialViolence
Both men later entered Parliament, following the typical Establishment practice, in order to better protect their ill-gotten wealth. If you think this is an overly harsh judgement, please note that William Jardine made precisely one speech in his two years in Parliament…
…in which he lobbied for the China merchants (meaning, crucially, *himself*…) to be paid large sums of money by the British Government for opium previously surrendered to Chinese authorities. #corruption
Nothing much has changed, of course, as we know very well from this current wave of atrocious #ToryCorruption. Here’s one of today’s Establishment grifters using his parliamentary platform for personal gain. 🤨⬇️ #ToriesOut #grifter
Neither William Jardine nor James Matheson had any children, and their business responsibilities were inherited by a number of nephews. The Jardine fortune descended through his niece Margaret, who married a chap called Thomas Keswick. #JardineMatheson #Keswick #FilthyLucre 💰
It is through this direct line that the Keswick family still controls (and owns much of) Jardine Matheson today. #BritishEmpire #loot #ColonialViolence #Keswick
The current Keswick paterfamilias is “Sir” Henry*, and the grotesque “Sunday Times Rich List” has him and his family being worth £6.47bn in 2021. 🤨🌳🍃🍂⛓ #PrimitiveAccumulation #Keswick

*I have abolished the honours system and do not recognise titles for living people.
Henry is married to the political operator “Lady” Tessa Keswick*, and they are highly active in the world of politics despite never being elected to anything. 🧐 #ToriesOut @JaneyGodley

*I have abolished the honours system and do not recognise titles for living people.
With Henry’s brothers Simon and the improbably named “Sir Chippendale Keswick”, they have made hundreds of political donations over the years. The following is far from comprehensive, just a sample of their donor activity… #Keswick #ColonialViolence
Henry has donated to haunted pencil and Member of Parliament for the Eighteenth Century, Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the principal loons pushing for a hard Brexit. #BrexitDisaster #ToryCriminals #ToryCorruption
Henry Keswick has also donated to Danny Kruger, the MP for Devizes, evangelical Christian and Brexit freak. Troublingly, Kruger was also a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute… 🤮 #gross #ToriesOut #BrexitDisaster #Brexit

This is a bad thing, because the Legatum Institute is a lobbying outfit pushing for the most extreme/libertarian Brexit, financed by dark money from a dodgy founder with links to Russian intelligence services… 😠 #ToryCriminals #BrexitDisaster

Henry & Tessa together donated £100,000 to the Tory party for the 2017 general election. 😖 #gross #ToryCriminals

Tessa Keswick has made many political donations of her own, including numerous contributions to pro-Brexit MPs in June 2016, specifically for the Brexit campaign. #Brexit #BrexitDisaster #liars
This included the horrifying Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, a former member of the notoriously racist Monday Club and creepily fascistic flag enthusiast. 🤮
Rosindell supports the death penalty, wants asylum seekers imprisoned and is, of course, violently pro-Brexit. He is also a firm supporter of the Chilean dictator, General Pinochet. ⬇️😳

Tessa also donated to James Duddridge, MP for Rochford & Southend East, who heroically told the EU to “sod off”… 🙄 #Brexit #BrexitDisaster #ToryCriminals

…and mixed up Zambia and Zimbabwe at a diplomatic function despite being the actual Minister for Africa… 🤦‍♂️ #duffer #ToriesOut

Tessa also donated £20,000 to the “leave” campaign, making her one of the biggest anti-EU donors. ⬇️🤨 #BrexitDisaster #ToryCriminals #ToriesOut

Additionally, she is also on the board of the Daily Mail parent company… 🤮 #ToryCriminals #IdeologicalStateApparatus

Simon Keswick has donated to prominent Tory duffer Dominic Raab, one of the “Britannia Unhinged” authors, and Chips has given money to David Davis, who Cummings calls “thick as mince”. #duffers #ToryCriminals
The Keswick family have therefore been highly active in supporting the enablers of Brexit, and especially those working for the hardest, least rational form of Brexit. This includes some of the most awful people in the country. #loons #BrexitDisaster #ToryCriminals #crooks
These are all entirely legal donations, declared as required, and I’m not suggesting any impropriety, at least not in a narrow legal sense…
On a higher level, however, this is deeply problematic. The Keswick family have used their fortune (of dubious origin) to influence our politics in ways that are ruinous for ordinary people, and benefit only wealthy tax avoiders and asset stripping corporations. #Brexit
There is an unbroken Keswick line from the outrageous war launched upon China in 1839, to the ruination of the UK through the madness of Brexit. The opium money that Jardine Matheson made in the illegal drug trade is being put to use for a different kind of economic war. #Brexit
That unbroken inheritance from the Opium War to Brexit Britain means that the Keswick family serve as a useful illustration of the Establishment wrongdoing embedded in our system. #Brexit #ToryCorruption
They continue to use that recycled opium money to distort our politics and ruin the lives of ordinary people in order to add to their ill-gotten lucre… 😠 #BrexitDisaster #ToryCriminals
Are we OK with this? Do we want to continue living in a society in which so much privilege & inequality is locked in via past crimes and hypocrisy? Or shall we set about making some changes? [ends] 🤨✊🌳🍃🍂⛓ #ToriesOut #SystemChange #RevolutionNow

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More from @paddydocherty

27 Oct
Today marked a significant milestone: @JesusCollegeCam handed over the Benin Bronze in its possession to representatives from #Nigeria. Well done to Jesus College. There is simply no excuse for anyone else keeping stolen property. 🙏🇳🇬 #BeninBronzes

I’ve just written an account of the brutal 1897 British Invasion of the Kingdom of Benin, based largely on new archive research:

@HurstPublishers #BeninBronzes 🇳🇬

Happily, @OUPAcademic will distribute #BloodAndBronze in North America:

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12 Oct
Twitter pronouncements by @JimMFelton are incorporated directly into English common law, right? ⬇️😋 In that case, I’m legally obliged to plug the bejeesus out of my forthcoming book… 🤪👩🏼‍⚖️📔 #history #books @HurstPublishers #BeninBronzes
It’s called “Blood and Bronze” and tells the true story of the 1897 British invasion and destruction of the Kingdom of Benin, when the famous Bronzes were plundered… Empire loons like @NigelBiggar will absolutely *hate* it… 😃 #history #BritishEmpire

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@PriyamvadaGopal Hello Professor, thanks for your kind words about my forthcoming book, much appreciated! ☺️👍📔 #history #BeninBronzes #repatriation #reparations @HurstPublishers #books 🌳🍁🍂

If anyone would like to know more, please sign up with @HurstPublishers for their New Book Alerts… ⬇️🤓📚 #books #history #BookTwitter

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One month ago today I posted this modest call for peaceful action against the kleptofascist crooks in Downing Street... ⬇️☺️ In that time, their attacks on democracy have only got worse. 😠✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #ToryCorruption #ToryTraitors #resist
Some regime apologists try to rubbish the possibility, but the capacity of the country to resist this Tory cabal through peaceful protest is clear. ⬇️🙂✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #ToryCorruption #ToryTraitors #RussiaReport #crooks
Will you do what you can to protest this corrupt “government” and oppose the kleptofascist takeover? 🧐✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #ToryCorruption
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22 Aug 20
A thread about the power of protest, the meaning of 3.5%, and why the corrupt Cummings/Johnson cabal must be removed from No 10… 🤨✊🌹🇪🇺 #3Point5Percent #resist #ToriesOut
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1 Aug 20
Peaceful revolution in the UK: some personal thoughts on the need for #SystemChange and the potential for making it happen. [thread] 🤨✊🌹🇪🇺#ToryCorruption #ToryTraitors #resist #revolt #remove #JohnsonMustGo
In the wake of the #RussiaReport ⬇️ & the ongoing #COVID19 & #ToryCorruption scandals, there has been a noticeable increase in talk about protest against this obviously compromised “government”… 😠✊🌹🇪🇺 #resist #revolt #remove
For many, the flagrant corruption of the new “honours” list feels like the last straw. We can let this anger & stress gnaw at us, or we can harness it against these disgraceful crooks… 😖✊🌹🇪🇺#ToryCorruption #ToryTraitors #resist #revolt #remove

Read 34 tweets

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