Giles Jackson, the orphan alone in the world, continues his autobiography as viewed from his old age and a selective memory. This second instalment details and comments upon his experience in the opium trade between India and Canton – his highly profitable dealings in Foreign Mud and his involvement with the Triads, country merchants and John Company. He explains how he came to leave China and then was forced into the service of His Britannic Majesty’s government in Gibraltar and Morocco. He also casts light onto the circumstances leading to his long and generally happy marriage.
It may be noted that British firms were engaged in the opium trade from India into China until 1939, though publicising their activities less as time went by. Opium – and all its derivatives – was unlawful in China from 1780 but did not become a prohibited and controlled substance in the UK until the early 1950s. (Of interest to the historian is that heroin abuse in the UK only increased after the substance was made unlawful. It is estimated that only 300 addicts were known in Britain in 1953.)