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mous debt has been incurred, equally injurious to the national interests and to the proprietors of East India stock.
2. That the subjects of this mercantile sovereignty have been sa crificed to the profits of its trading concerns.
3. That by not enlarging the exports to their utmost limits, and by not importing as many raw materials as might be wrought up with advantage in this country, they have discouraged British ma nufactures, while they have admitted foreigners, and especially Ame ricans, to the Indian trade, by not providing tonnage to bring home the surplus produce, and the fortunes made by private individuals; thus (say the merchants of Glasgow) 'employing British capital in a trade which the laws of this country prevent its own subjects from using directly themselves, and encouraging foreigners, possessing, in consequence of the monopoly, the incalculable advantage of having to contend, not with the skill and resources of British merchants, but with the prodigality and negligence of a joint-stock company.'
1. The charge of mismanagement, in suffering a debt to accu mulate to the amount of 32 millions is, we think, satisfactorily repelled by the Court of Directors, in the printed papers. In the first place, they observe that, since the passing of the act of 1793, the war, which has been raging in Europe without intermission, has necessarily increased the expenses of the Company; that unfore seen wars with the native powers of India, over which they could bave no control, and undertaken in direct violation of the abovementioned act, have added considerably to the accumulation of their debt; that the acquisition of the numerous islands and establishments of the enemy, to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, ordered by the King's government, and made for the King's use, has been performed chiefly by the Company's troops, and at the Company's expense; that the national character has thereby been raised, and great national interests promoted, and not for any partial or exclusive advantage of the Company. It farther appears that the increase of their own military establishment, and of his Majesty's European troops serving in India, falls solely upon their revenue; that they are at the expense of raising, embodying, and conveying to India all the troops sent to serve in that country; and even of raising recruits, though their services should be, as they often are, diverted elsewhere:-that their commercial affairs (to which alone their management is restricted) have invariably been attended with success; have allowed a moderate dividend to the proprietors of East India stock; and a surplus towards the extension and improvement of that territory which has been acquired under the immediate direction of his Majesty's ministers:that among other valuable products, as objects of commerce, the rearing of silk worms, and the cultivation of indigo, cotton, &c. have been brought to per
fection in Bengal and its dependencies at the expense of the Company all of which articles, with many others, are at this moment eminently important to the interests, and contribute to the prosperity of the British manufacturers:that they have paid to the public, at various times, between 1768 and 1812, for their exclusive privilege, a sum, in direct contributions, not short of £5,135,319, of which they have produced a detailed account :*—that the revenue, paid by them on their trade, amounted in 1811 to the enormous sum of £4,213,425 in customs and excise; that this revenue being collected without expense, and with a facility unknown to other concerns, saves in the collection of those duties alone, at least £150,000 a year: that these direct contributions, and this annual revenue, have been brought into the exchequer, without the public being called upon for any pecuniary aid for the preservation of the source whence they spring; whilst all the foreign possessions of the crown are defended at the public expense that the fortunes made by individuals, in their employ, have added gradually to the accumulation of the public stock of national wealth; and the country has thus, by the commercial and political importance of the East India Company, been considerably raised in the scale of nations :-that the prosperity of the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucester, and some part of Norfolk have, in some measure, been upheld by the regular export of more than a million sterling annually of their manufactures at a loss to the company. And, finally, they complain, and, as we think, not without reason, that the magnitude of the affairs which they have to manage, is very little known, and little attended to; that, otherwise, it would at once be seen, that one of the principal difficulties which they have to contend with, is a capital wholly inadequate to the great extent, variety and importance of those affairs.
This point they endeavour to establish by a detailed account of commercial and territorial outlay made up, as to India, to the 30th April, 1810, and the home accounts to 1st March, 1811. The abstract is briefly as under.
£. 14,847,678 21,282,279
Territorial outlay at home and in India
Forming an aggregate capital, necessary to 51,182,127
Printed papers. Account D. p. 60.
The actual capital of the Company consists of-
Capital raised by bonds
Leaving a balance short of the capital ne-
which, added to the sum now wanted to discharge a part of the India debt transferred home, constitutes, at this moment, a permanent debt in India and Europe of about 32 millions; being just four times the amount of what it was in 1793. But when this is brought forward as a charge of mismanagement and prodigality," it should be recollected that the territorial revenues, since that period, have been increased from seven to seventeen millions; that the revenues paid by them to the crown have gradually risen from about one million, at that period, to upwards of four millions at present; that the tonnage of shipping employed by them has been, doubled, and their commerce increased in the same proportion. But, leaving their lucrative commerce (for so it is after all) out of the question, it must be admitted that a territory of 17 millions revenue, paid mostly with great punctuality, has been cheaply obtained by incurring a debt of no more than 32 millions. It would be fortunate for England if the conquests made by the crown were effected at so cheap a rate, or so productive, when effected. We should as soon consider a private gentleman to be ruined,' whose estate was encumbered with a debt not amounting to two years rental, as suppose for a moment that $2 millions of debt could in any shape affect the credit of the East India Company. Ample are their means for liquidating this debt; and the time is now come when it may be expected that they will redeem the pledge made to the public, bring their expenditure within their income,' and repay the trifling aid which they have received from govern
It was hardly necessary, however, we think, for the Directors, in their justification, to bring into the account, the increase of expense and diminution of mercantile profits by the numerous class of large and excellent ships, constructed and fitted for warlike defence as well as commerce,' which political considerations induced them to employ. We can allow them no credit on the score of these ships being suitable for ships of war, in aid of the regu
lar navy.' It is very true that fourteen of them were, as they state, converted into ships of war at a moment of great apparent danger of invasion, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, at a moment of greater alarm than was necessary; but they proved the hardest bargain that was ever made for the navy, nor was there an officer appointed to the command of any one of them who did not rejoice to get rid of his charge. We are also compelled to refuse them our assent to the proposition, that the trade of the Company has been highly beneficial to the public, in affording a nursery for seamen in time of war.' It is rather a drain from the navy than a nursery for it; the common refuge of deserters who hope to escape detection by length of voyage and distance from home. Their officers and artificers are all protected, and the remainder of their crews are for the most part made up of landmen and foreign seamen, neither of whom afford any supply to the navy. Indeed so little does the trade of the East India Company deserve to be called a nursery for seamen,' that the whole of their 115,000 tons of shipping, we will venture to affirm, does not breed up for the sea service a single apprentice. On what grounds they are exempt from the operation of the several acts of the legislature for the encouragement of seamen' we are not prepared to say; but it is a privilege' which we trust will not be found in the new bill; and that the ship owners will hereafter be compelled to take a number of apprentices proportioned to the tonnage-then indeed may the Company boast of their shipping being a nursery for seamen in time of war.
Their army has necessarily increased to a vast extent, and its expenses have been augmented in proportion; nor do we think they could with safety have been reduced before the present period. It is, however, highly remarkable, and therefore proper to observe, that there is no other power, of the same extent of dominion, of coast and inland frontier, and of population, defended by so small a military force. Little danger is now to be apprehended from any foreign invasion of India on the land side; still less by sea. No confederation of the remaining native powers is likely to disturb its tranquillity. Some reduction may therefore be effected, especially in the enormous staff of the army, which, with a judicious retrenchment in the various departments and establishments both civil and military, and a regulated system of economy in all the branches of the service, would not only allow of a gradual liquidation of the debt, but afford also the means of augmenting the trading capital of the Company, which, they complain, and not without reason, is inadequate to the increased magnitude of their commercial con
2. We are not quite sure that we rightly understand the direct meaning of the second charge. One fact at least is fully establish
ed, that all the Indian territories under the Company's dominion have been signally improved, and the happiness and security of their vast population increased in an extraordinary degree. For half a century, nearly, the province of Bengal has enjoyed a state of unusual and uninterrupted tranquillity: and the history of the world affords not perhaps an example of the rapidity with which the Mysore country has advanced in population and agricultural improvement, since the fall of the tyrant by whom it was oppressed, and its transition under British protection. In all the conquered provinces indeed the condition of the natives has been wonderfully improved, and their lives and property secured from rapacity and oppression. So far back even as 1793 Mr. Dundas congratulated the House on the good effects of the then established system, declaring that the Company's possessions, when compared with the neighbouring states of the peninsula, were as a cultivated garden to the field of the sluggard.'
But if the charge has relation to the inadequate means of sending home the surplus of the territorial revenues, in produce and manufactures, and to the deficiency of capital which prevents the augmentation of the Company's annual investments, the truth of it has partly been admitted by the Directors; and it furnishes, in our opinion, one of the most powerful arguments for allowing a participation to British merchants in the Indian trade, who neither want capital nor activity to excite and to encourage the industry of this country as well as that of the natives of India: To exact a tribute from those natives, in the shape of rent, and to exhaust their circulating medium by remittances home in bullion, which might be so much more advantageously employed, both for England and India, in raising the numerous valuable products of the latter country, is indeed to sacrifice the interests of the subject,' and without adding either to the profit of the merchant' or the benefit of the 'sovereign.' One thing is sufficiently obvious,that to the natives of India, at least, the immediate operation of an increased commmercial capital and intercourse would be that of mitigating one of the inevitable evils arising from a foreign and non-resident government, receiving, directly or indirectly, a large tribute.'
We are satisfied then that it would be but just to ourselves and our Indian subjects, to enlarge the trading capital between the two countries by the admission of British merchants to a participation of that trade; but we do not therefore subscribe to the doctrine of those theorists who would contend that the whole system is radically wrong, and that a set of merchants, governing a large and distant territory, (however incompatible it may be thought with the theoretical principles of political economy,) cannot possibly govern it as it ought to be. It is not enough to convinse us of the inca