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profit and loss, and which is carried on upon a capital totally borrowed, at a large interest, is surely a most unpromising concern. Yet though the Company lost by their exports, it is clear that merchants of other nations, trading without a monopoly, could gain; since, by the statement of Lord Wellesley, which we have inserted above, the cargoes voluntarily carried to Calcutta by the Americans and Portuguese, exceeded the cargoes they carried back; and nearly doubled, in the same year, the amount of imports into that province, by all descriptions of British subjects.
The truth is, however, that it is absurd to suppose, that the Dierectors of a joint stock concern should ever trade on the terms of private merchants. Whatever advantage the private merchant may gain in saving expense, in saving time, by the utmost vigilance, by the severest labour, by the keenest pursuit of information,-is all his own advantage. He is therefore prompted to make all those exertions, and submit to all those privations on which success in business essentially depends. The gains of a joint stock concern, on the other hand, are the gains of the proprietors; and a very small share of them, at best, the gains of the Directors. The Directors have, therefore, no adequate interest to make those exertions which success in trade requires ; but they have an interest in so managing the joint concern, as to make it, if possible, useful to themselves, though, by that means, less productive to the owners of stock. The ways of obtaining such oblique advantages are innumerable. One of them, and that a standing and remarkable one, is the increase of patronage, the multiplying the number of persons in the employment of the Company, and increasing their emoluments. These emoluments, of which the disposal is in the hands of the Directors, are, in a secondary sense, their emoluments. In all purchases, too, made by the Company, the Directors, if they do not make them from themselves, in their separate character of private merchants, (and there are various ways of doing this in secure privacy), can often make them from some friend or relation; or froin some dealer, who will grant a favour in his turn for a favour received, and in regard to whose price it may not be adviseable to be very
When, to these causes of bad management, are added the avocations, or rather the overwhelming load of business, arising from the government of a great empire, who docs not sce that commercial prosperity, in the present circumstances of the Company, is a moral impossibility ? Set the British cabinet at the head of a great mercantile concern, and what sort of management would it be reasonable to expect ?
It is curious to observe the language which has been held by Chairmen, and other functionaries, at different times. In 1806, when Lord Morpeth, in the House of Commons, exhibited the large deficit in the Company's finances, and when an ho
nourable member hinted something about the necessity they would be under of coming to a loan, the allegation was treated as a gross calumny-as an unfounded defamation--as an imputation highly injurious to the honour and credit of the Company.
• Lord Morpeth wished to know upon what authority the Hon. Gentleman stated, that a loan would be wanted for the India Com. panyHe certainly had made no such statement, in bringing for. ward the Company's affairs ; nor did he hear any such thing mentioned by any of his Majesty's Ministers in that House.
• Mr GRANT also disclaimed, on the part of the Company, the re. presentation of their affairs made by the Hon. Gentleman, and which he could not suffer to pass uncontradicted. He knew nothing of any loan proposed or desired by the Company :--they stood not in need of such assistance ; nor did he hear any thing of any such proposition with which their authority or wishes were connected.'*
This was on the 16th of July 1806. On the 26th of April 1808, Mr GRANT presented a petition from the East India Company, stating the various expenses the Company had been obliged to incur, and praying that 1,200,000). due to the Company by Government, might be paid them; and that a further sum might be advanced by way of loan--making in all 2,400,0001.'t
With regard to the 1,200,0001, here coolly set down as q debt due to the Company, it was, in truth, a disallowed claim. In 1808, the accounts between the public and the Company were referred to the Select Committee, who reported that 1,00,0001. was the balance due to the Company. I This balance was paid; and Mr Dundas, then Secretary of the Board of Control, declared, that the account between the Company and the public was closed. $ The Company, however, expressed dissatisfaction with this adjustment;-and, in the very teeth of a Parliamentary settlement, present their disallowed claim as a debt. The entire sum of 2,400,0001. was, in truth, a loan; of which, however, it was wished, we see, that only one half should be at the credit of the Company. In 1807, a petition was presented for leave to increase the bond debts of the Company—that is, to borrow money on their bonds ;--and the increase, so made, is stated to have been 2,572,8751. on the 1st of March 1808. In 1809, the 1,500,0001. paid by Government in name of balance on the adjustment of the accounts, with the issue of 756,7001. of bonds, supplied the deficiency. In the year 1810, a new petition was presented; and a new loan of a million and a half for the Company was raised on Exchequer bills. In the year 1811, another petition was presented, exhibiting a deficit for that year Q 2
of * Proceedings in Parliament.--Asiatic An. Reg. 1806, p. 287. + Ibid. for 1808, p. 410. # First Report from the Select Committee, 1808.
Cobbeti's Parl. Debates, vol. xiv. p. 972.
of 2,038,9481.—and a new loan of 2,000,0001. was permitted to be raised on the Company's bonds. It thus appears that a supply of about 2,000,0001. annually, from the people, whom they exclude from a share of the India trade, is absolutely necessary to keep the Company afloat. Since 1807, they have received, on their own or Parliamentary account, about 10,000,000 of the money of the British people ;-—and, in the estimate of the payments and receipts for the year, 1st March 1811 to Ist March 1812, the deficit is stated at 3,531,6731. * -Such is the support the nation is deriving from its East India empire !
Under these extraordinary payments at home, has there been a surplus, for the liquidation of debt abroad? There has been a positive deficiency :-The revenues of India have not sufficed for the expenses of India. Year.
Net Deficiency. 1807-8
131,281 1809–10 (estimate). . 119,806 The utmost that such heavy demands upon the home treasury has been able to effect, has been a reduction of the deficit in India. It was in 1806–7, the year before the loans in England, 3,253,9811.; t and it would have continued as great, but for the extraordinary sums extracted from the people of England.
One great cause of those oppressive demands upon the home exchequer, was that part of the Indian debt, payment of which was demandable, at the option of the creditor, in London. Great efforts have been making to extinguish that option. А lonn was opened, at an interest of 8 per cent., the same interest as that of the optional loans. It was chiefly desired that the optional debts should be subscribed to the new loan ; and for this purpose they were received at par; and certain accommodations, which were supposed of great importance in remitting the interest of the new loan, were presented as a bonus. This had its effect. By the amount of the optional debts subscribed, with that of the cash received on the same grounds, and employed in paying off the optional debts, a considerable proportion of them was rendered payable only in India. The Company, however, knew not when to stop. The success of this measure stiinulated them to another. They now opened a loan for the reduction of interest from 8 to 6 per cent. This is a proceeding which, by the best accounts we have yet received, (for we have not received any that are very full and explanatory), has been much worse than unsuccessful; for it has created the highest alarm, disgust and disaffection. It has created what may be called a complete run upon the Company; and it is affirmed, that not another shilling demandable in England will be left for payment in India. In conformity with this information, it is stated, in the accounts of the Company, that in the year ending 1st May 1810, no subscription of debts whatever had been obtained. *
* East India Annual Revenue Accounts, May 1811, p. 57. + Exposition of the Company's Revenues, ut supra, p. 71.
We here close abruptly these few remarks on the finances and trade of India; and we have been induced to press them at this time on the consideration of our readers, by the recollection, that a crisis is fast approaching, when we must make our election between the present or a different system. To let such an opportunity pass away, without any attempt at reformation, will not merely be shameful. Things are now come to that pass, when the evils of mismanagement will not be negative. The important questions which relate to the Government of India, will occupy us on another occasion.
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