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Word Count: 702
In the early days of the eighteenth century the British following venturesome Portuguese Dutch and Spanish had established a trading base at Canton where they soon outstripped in activity their European competitors From the beginning trade was restricted by regulations devised by the Chinese to keep the foreigners at arms length yet permitting the Chinese to continue to export their teas and silks and to receive desired British goods The export of Chinese commodities far exceeded the imports of British goods and this resulted in an adverse cash balance to the British traders Initially these debits had been discharged by silver payments but by the close of the nineteenth century there was a found new commodities that balanced the books and ultimately provoked a war that commodity was opium In October 1838 Lin Tse-hsu was summoned to Imperial Palace in Peking where the Emperor personally assigned him to stamp out opium addiction in China Lin accepted his assignment and soon launched his anti drug campaign in Canton where he set up headquarters and took command of the local naval forces Soon after that Lin proclaimed that the opium trade would no longer be tolerated in Canton and he began arresting known opium dealers in the local school and naval barracks Those found guilty of purchasing possessing or selling opium were sentenced to public execution by strangulation Let no one think Lin proclaimed that this is only a temporary effort in behalf of the Emperor On March 1839 Commissioner Lin gave the opium smugglers a demonstrations of the seriousness of his intent He ordered the suspension of all trade with the western merchants Troops surrounded the foreign neighborhood building barricades across the streets to prevent the Chinese patrol ships lined up in the river opposite the trading houses The ranking British Naval officer in the Chinese port Captain Charles Elliot protested Lins action Shortly after the barricades were erected Lin and his troops began the methodical
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