River of Smoke – notes 2

River of Smoke Notes – continued from NOTES 1


Ghosh, Amitav (2011-09-27). River of Smoke: A Novel. Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

Page  186  William Jardine    (note 2nd paragraph – this must be taking place about 1839. Napoleon was at St. Helena from 1815 to his death in 1821.

p. 187 – Lancelot Dent

p. 188 Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland   (he wasn’t there long)

pp. 190-191:

Just because an order has come from Beijing does not mean that all of China is for it. If the people were against it, then the opium trade wouldn’t exist. There are many things in the world, Bahram-bhai, that do exist, despite the wishes of the people. Thieves, dacoits, famines, fires – isn’t it the task of rulers to protect their people from these things? Zadig Bey, said Bahram, you know as well as I do that the rulers of this country have all grown rich from opium. The mandarins could stop the trade tomorrow if they wanted to: the reason they have allowed it to go on is because they make money from it too. It’s not in anyone’s power to force opium on China. After all, this is not some helpless little kingdom to be kicked around by others: it is one of the biggest, most powerful countries on earth. Look at how they constantly bully and harass their neighbours, calling them ‘barbarians’ and all that. Yes, Bahram-bhai, said Zadig quietly. What you say is not untrue. But in life it is not only the weak and helpless who are always treated unjustly. Just because a country is strong and obdurate and has its own ways of thinking – that does not mean it cannot be wronged.

Re the above quote,  times haven’t changed – same exact arguments but this is fiction – Ghosh is imagining this conversation – )  Nevertheless,  I can understand the arguments occurring  with the English and Chinese power brokers,  the newspapers and other media of the times – perhaps the literate public.

p.  192 – Lady’s Slipper Orchids 

p.  193 Sarcanthus teretifolius.

p 195 –  Hog Lane in Canton – Fan-qui district  great drawing of a factory there.

p.  196
Having spent weeks at anchor in Whampoa the poor fellows
are half crazed with boredom

p 196

… will clear a path by laying about with their whangees – but since I cannot conceive of carrying one I generally try to stay clear of this street.


p.  198  Hodgson’s ale

p. 198 – “ketjup”    (lots of theories about the terminology) ]

p. 203 –  Charles King – (American merchant in Canton)

p. 307 war-junks  (scroll down)

p 311    Cangue

p. 314  13th factory  


NOTES 1,      NOTES 3




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