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ia*erest. And, in the year 1808-9, May these predictions be verified the fun of two millions sterling by experience! and not undergo the might be applied to the invest- too common fate of the great Bents. The application of the plans of political economy, foundsurplus, thus increasing from year ed on the most favourable views, to year, would, of course, lessen and the hypothesis of peace, prutLe demand of India on the home deuce, and an active zeal for the treasury: so that a balance of costs common good! could not fail of increasing to an immense amount.
uiscuffions concerning a free Trade•■•between Great Britain and India.—Motion ill the House of Commons, relative to this, by Sir William Pulleney. —Discussions and Dshales thereon in the India-House.—History, or Origip, os the Que/lion.—Difference os Opinion between the En/!- India- House and the Board os Control. —Letter from Mr. Dundas to the Court of Directors, containing his Opinion and Advice respecting the Mode os carrying on the Trade between Great Britain and India:—Taken into Consideration by a Committee os the Court os Directors.—Report of that Committee.—Consequent Resolutions.—Second Letter to the Court of Directs rs from Mr. Dundas.—letter lo the Directors on the Subject of free Trade from the Governor-General of British India, the Marquis of Wellejtey.—Taken into Consideration by a Committee os the Court, os Directors.—Ueport-of that Committee.—Motion in the India-House for the Production of printed Papers respecting a free Trade with India.—Debates thereon.—Motion negatived.—Sir William Pulteney's Motion in the House os Commom carried.—Prorogation os Parliament.
QN the same day that Mr. Dundas produced his statements, acting the affairs of British India, sir William Pulteney called the attention of the house to a subject which appeared to him to be of the highest importance, as affecting the commercial and maritime interests of this country. His intention was, to move for the production of a number of papers respecting the trade between India and Europe, printed by order of the directors, which \fti conceived to be ne< effary to put the house in possession of certain facts respecting the trade between Great Britain and India. The object he had in view, was not, in any degree, to interfere, with the monopoly which parliament had granted to the I ast
India-company. There was, however, a surplus'trade, beyond what the company had the means of carrying on, and great benefit would result to India, and the manufactures of this country, if that surplui trade were allowed to be imported into this country in India -built ships. But, before we proceed to give an account of what passed on this subject in the house of commons, it will be proper, as the question of a free trade with India is of vast moment, both commercial and political, and likely to draw more and more the public attention, to take some notice of the previous discussions respecting it in the India-house; and, first of all, os the history, or origin, of that question. The profits arising from
the regular commerce of (lie company are extremely small, seldom amounting to more than seventy ot eighty thousand pound* a year more than common interest for (he Joint stock employed in that trade. Al the same time, the advantages arising from contracts for building ships, furnishing stores, and from patronage of one fort or another, are immense. This patronage, necessarily, is in the hands of the stockholders cither as directors, or voters in a general court. It was from this cause, that the violent contests about the old shipping interest, which have been so earnestly discussed since 1735, originated. One parly contended for the continued employment os the old builders of (hips, at their own prices. The other maintained, that the company ought to avail itself of competition, and contract, where they could make a corit ract at the cheapest rate. Though low prices apd competition wear a popular and feasible aspect, the old shipping interest were nor deficient in combating the arguments of the party who recommended the employment cfihe cheapest ship*, by arguments, not so popular, but not, indeed, fesi plausible. In answer to the pubik.-ations of Mr. Anthony Burgh and others, whom, to lave circumlocution, they styled projectors, they published a. pamphlet,* in 1886, fating, among a variety of considerations favourable to their cause, "that under the old system, the iflairs of the East-India-company had taken root, grown up, and fioarifhed greatly: that in all innoTitions, the remote and unforeleen woseq-jentes are usually os infi
nitely rrtore consequence than the allainntent of their immediate object, and (hat Consequences'of the most dangerous nature might possibly arife out of the proposed change in the system of the company's (hipping. Bus that such consequences would arile in part, \va> more than probable. The projectors would, in the construction of their vessels, study cheapness; whereas, that of their present (hips were subject to strict regulation in their construction, and' inspection when constructed. The merchandise of the company, would neither be so safe in vessels furnished by the projectors, nor in the hands-ot unknown, and, probably, in many instances, necessitous adventurers employed by (he projectors, as captains and officers. The great and . wealthy body of ships owners, gave a consolidation, strength, and permanency to the general affairs of the company, and their fine (hips were many of them so framed, and more were offered to be constructed, oil such a plan, as not only to defend themselves against attacks, in case of war, but even, occasionally, to add to (he strength oi the British navy. An enlargement in the size os the stiips to be built in suture, would enable the owners to make a reduction in (he freight. Every thing possible (lionId be done in this way. But, on the whole, for the fake of the national interests, as well as those of the company, care sliould be taken lo uniti with present economy, permanent security. In the present management of the company, there was an unity, harmony, and even splendour, tl*t had an imposing air on the minds of the
natives; an opposite system would lead to disunion, distraction, endless adventure,and finally tocolonization. Ip the frequent dilcustions, that took place on this subject in the India-house, the question was always carried by vast majorities in savour .of the old ship-owner*.— The same interest prevented the employment .pf ships built in In; dia, and,, as mach as possible, all encroachments on the monopoly of she company, by what has been termed free-traders. Mr. Duudas and the board of control uniformly dissered in opinion from the majority of the, India-house; but, as it was not the business of that board to interfere directly in matters of commerce, Mr. Dundas contented himself with giving his opinion, with the reasons on which.it was founded. In a letter to the chairman of the directors, dated Somersot-p!ace, April 2, 1S00, .on the
subject of private trade and Iudia
.built (hipping, he declared his satisfaction as^to the propriety of continuing a monopoly of the trade
iHvith India, in the hands of the EastIndia-conjpany. "Ifthe trade; were laid open,,the advantages expected to arise frqni thence, were at ljest,
•very problematical, and would certainly be very precarious and sliort
..liv^d; but the question was not to be treated merely as commercial.
. The fame principles which proved the necessity ot the present form and
: mode of Indian government, ei;ip.
- ced (he necessity of the monopoly os trade. By the commercial capital os the.company at home, acting
.in connection with the public ,ic-_ riiij; the fortunes of servants "u\ Tft, venues u»dvx their administration .. dia.lo Great Britain; and llm "the • ■' •' ■ *:•'•-'••.-.. J. ... . j, .,. j, ,,,, in .... .„ ,.. i,^ _
• From thafiiViHjnt events, in the judgement of Btlajr>, at,this, time, a very diffe
- teat result wa> ts be apprehended- .
abroad, they had naturally anted and administered to the wants of each other; and the result had been the fortunate achievement of thoTe, brilliant events, on the success oswhith the existence of Hie governments ffte territorial wealth, and the trade of India depende J.m
On the subject os freight*, he was of opinion, that this ought not to be the exclusive object of the company's attention, and that the fame kind of sliips, built under the sirne inspection and regulations, should continue to be employed as those hitherto employed; and that a freight, fully adequate to secure that advantage, ought not to be churlishly withheld. As to the Company's monopoly, that it was a monopoly attended with these two material circumstances: lit. That tire exportable produce of India exceeded what, at present, the capital os the company was capable tif embracing. 2d. That the morropoly of the East-India-company $jd not rest on principles of colonial exclusion; but, if the trade carried on by the company be, of iiecesfitV, limited by their'capita],'what vv&s to become os the surplus' trade"? Was it to be left exclusively to foreign nations? or'so modified in the exercise os it, as' to open that surplus market, to the capital of Britisti subjects? From a consideration of all circumstances, Mr. D'un'dat drew the conclusion, that'the fo¥plus produce of India, beyond what the appropriated capital of the company could bring, home, stioold'oe considered as the means of* transfer
eoasaerce should be managed; there, either by the parties themselves in— leteied in it, or by their agents, ading under the licence, ana sub; ject to the control and regulations of the East-India-iompany.
With regard to the policy and beneficial tendency of that measure, Mr. Dundas referred the directors to the unanimous opinion ot all their ablest servants in India, who had, from tine to time, anil in the moll explicit terms, pointed out to the directors the expediency of that indulgence, both with a just attention to the interests of tlieir servants in India, and with a view to make Great Britain the great emporium of the trade of Asia. This measure would not diminish the company's shipping a siugle ton: for the company ought, and would send out, if the mealure were not adopted, just as much of the regular British-built India Slipping, as (hoiild be necessary to bring home the whole of tbeir investment, and no more. He also observed, on this head, that tfiose interested in the regular shipping of she EastJndia-company, would do well to consider the benefits they already enjoyed, in place osendeavonring to cramp and check. lie just pretensions ofothers. They should also recollect, that it had always been considered as a very problematical question, how far, consistently with national honour, so miich osthe ship timber of this country ought to be appropriated lo its commercial concerns, in the manner practised by,the builders of India (hipping. We had a national resource in India, which ought to lead to ihe very reverse os any invidious or unjust discouragement being given to the ship-building of India. To inquire how far it would
be right to hold our Indian posses siou>,on principles oPcoJoniaf mo-' hopoly, would be to enter on a discussion- foreign to the question in hand.' It was sufficient''to observe, that, in point os fact, it was thought expedient, for the Interests of the empire at large, that oils' East-India possessions should not"be regu^ later! on the principles of colonial exclusion; and, therefore, that rid part of the subjects of Great Britain could be perinitted.'lo sel up-a separate interest of their own against that: general policy.'
In contending fb'r the indulgence proposed to the British subjects resident in India, he was contending sor a material national interest; which was this: that their fortunes, capitals created in India, sli on Id be'transferred from that country to this, hi a manner most beneficial for themselves, and the kingdom at large/ in place of being transferred through the medium of commerce by foreigners, and thereby adding to the navigation and capital-of other courttries. There was not a single circumstance, in which this was applicable to the cafe dt merchants in this country. The only effect of giving such an indulgence to merchants resident in this country, would be, a temptation to withdraw a part osthe capital of the cotihtry from'a more profitable trade, and more beneficial applications os if, in order to divert it to another trade,' less profitable to themselves, and less beneficial to the public! 'WithoW a tingle reason, either of private justice, or public policy, it would be introducing a rival capital into India against the' remittance trade of'the Ealt-lndia-companv, and'in competition likewise with those individuals, whose capital, by. lbe«pro-
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