Opium was outlawed in China.
British merchants smuggled it in from India. Their diligent efforts led to a surge in the number of Chinese dependent on the mother of heroin and morphine, who charmed them with false happiness and ruined their lives.
The smugglers were fed up with the hindrances they faced at the hands of Chinese authorities. Developing the market required free trade, and free trade demanded war.
William Jardine, a generous sort, was the most powerful of the drug traffickers and vice president of the Medical Missionary Society, which offered treatment to the victims of the opium he sold.