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ments; but this restriction will by no means satisfy the popular expectation, which looks for nothing less than the free range of both coasts ;
of the Red Sea and the Persian gulph; of the coasts of Ava, Pegu and Cochinchina; and the whole of the Eastern Archipelago, including Japan. The fact, however, is, that a commercial intercourse with all these countries has been already tried by the private merchants established in India ; whose knowledge of trade in general, and of that of the East in particular, is not inferior to that of the merchants of Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow—yet, with all the local advantages they possess, most of their efforts have wholly failed, and the remainder, though partially successful, have subsided into a very narrow channel.
In the suggestion of the Directors that ships clearing out for the India trade should not be of less burden than 400 tons, we most cordially agree. The fair trader will have no ground to object to this limitation, as a ship of 400 tons is navigated at less expense than two ships of 200 tons each. If every petty privateer and letter of marque were permitted to rove about the Indian seas, and their innumerable islands, where there is no controlling power, all kinds of illegitimate practices would prevail, and those scenes which disgraced the buccaneers of America, might be acted over again in the East, more atrocious in proportion to the greater distance and the magnitude of the temptation. If it should seem good to the legislature to throw open the trade with India, it will behove it to adopt such measures as may not only protect the natives from oppression, but also the national character from reproach. The regulation in point of the ships' tonnage will go far in preventing mere chance adventurers from engaging in wild speculations outward, and making up for failure by smuggling homeward.
The evil which some of the Directors apprehend from throwing open the trade, and from the transmission of British capital to the East,' is the colonization of India by British subjects. Men, they say, will follow their property, and remain where it is deposited; they will there domiciliate themselves, and form connections with the natives ; new feelings towards the mother country will spring up; new interests be created; new attachments formed; as communities of Europeans and their various mixtures begin to get together, they will
struggle for popular rights the tendency of all which, it is not difficult to conceive. Not at all difficult certainly; it might, perhaps, as the Directors seem to apprehend, ' facilitate the progress of India to independence'-it would certainly be the means of improving and civilizing it; of rousing those latent energies which a cruel superstitiou has deadened and depressed; and of breaking that adamantine chain, with which a reporseless priesthood has contrived to bind down sixty millions of
human beings to a predestined and irrevocable condition. For our own parts, we cannot understand those feelings which would withhold from such a mass of our fellow subjects, the only chance they may ever have of recovering the rights and privileges of hųman nature, because some centuries hence they may feel capable of governing themselves.
An unrestrained intercourse of Europeans with the territories of the Company and the native powers, in the present state of India, could never enter into the views of any of the petitioners. The regulations on this head, now in force, will probably be continued, and others, perhaps, still more restrictive may be found necessary. For some time to come, it may not be prudent to suffer Europeans to reside in any part of the interior, without a special licence from the Governor General, or governor of one of the presidencies; at any rate, proper care will be necessary to prevent adventurers from · flocking into the interior parts of the country, and possessing themselves of the seats of the manufacturers, which was so much apprehended by the late Lord Cornwallis, as the result of throwing open the trade. • Each,' said his lordship, 'would be ready to take redress at his own hands ; disputes between merchants, as well as between them and the manufacturers, would be inevitable; and the country thus, in all probability, become a scene of confusion and disorder.'
Now, with great submission to the opinions of the noble marquiss, the case supposed would argue a total absence of all government; whereas the Company, as the act now stands, is armed with ample authority to restrain and to punish. Men, having large property at stake in a foreign country, where there is a discretionary power to punish offenders on the spot, or to send them home to be tried and punished, will be cautious of transgressing the laws estaba lished by that power. We think, therefore, that so far from prohibiting men of sound and liberal principles, and enlarged understandings, from residing in those parts of the interior where there is a Company's resident, they ought rather to be encouraged. If it be the intention of the legislature and we will not permit ourselves to doubt it) to improve the moral and political condition of the natives, we know of no method so likely to attain that desirable end, as to set before them, and in the midst of them, the influence of good example, of superior intelligence, and enterprising activity. It was by means like these that Agricola succeeded in the civilization of our rude ancestors.
We now come to the last and, in our opinion, the most important point in the whole question, as far as regards the commercial part of it. Favourably as we are inclined towards a free trade with every part of India and the oriental islands, with very few, if
any, restrictions, beyond that of limiting the size of the vessels employed, we most cordially agree with the Directors of the East India Company, that the trade with China could not be opened in any degree without extreme danger ;' and with them we contidently trust that this point will not be conceded in any degree,' without weighing well the consequences to which such a concession might lead
In the first place, the trade of China has been brought to that high pitch of importance, both to the government, the public, and the East India Company, as to outweigh that of the whole East besides; its loss must, therefore, be proportionably severe. By the able management of the Company's servants, and the wholesome regulations under which it is conducted, it has hitherto been augmented and preserved, but not without considerable sacrifices on the part of the Company: sacrifices which we are thoroughly persuaded were necessary, and such as individuals could not possibly endure. Yet, with every possible precaution and prudence, the loss of it has, more than once, been seriously threatened. The extreme jealousy of the Chinese government has induced it to limit the intercourse of its subjects with foreigners to a single port. The municipal regulations of that port are so severe; the manners, the customs, the language of the natives, have so little in common with those of Europeans; the mean opinion which they affect to entertain of all foreigners; and the little care which the very lowest of them take to conceal that opinion,—are all at variance with an extended intercourse. So much, indeed, is the government averse from promoting this intercourse, and so perfectly indifferent to any advantages which a foreign trade may be supposed to confer, that it takes care to have it understood that, by the benevolence and humanity of the Emperor alone, foreign barbarians are permitted to partake of those bounties, which nature has exclusively bestowed on the heavenly empire of China; and which, by an act of great condescension, its subjects are permitted to supply to them, in exchange for articles of little value, and less use to his happy people.
In the exercise of this transcendent mark of favour towards undeserving foreigners, he has thought fit to reserve to himself the nomination of such persons as shall alone be permitted to trade with them. Their number varies from about six to twelve, each of whom may trade on his own capital, and must enter into security for the good conduct of every ship's company that enters the river of Canton; the Hong merchants (for that is their name) being collectively responsible to the government for any disturbance that may happen in the port. For every offence, less than capital, committed by any person belonging to a particular ship, the individual security merchant is held to be immediately responsible, and is fined, or VOL. VIII. NO. XVI.
imprisoned, or bambooed, as the case may require. He again looks for redress to the chiefs of the European factories, who have on some occasions found themselves placed in a situation of great delicacy and danger: for, as retaliation and responsibility are fundamental principles of Chinese law, it is the common practice, when the actual criminal cannot be discovered, to compel the security merchant, either to undergo the sentence of the law, or to produce a substitute. Hence the foreigner, however innocent, is always liable to the punishment due to the guilty; and instances are not wanting, where he has actually suffered it.
On the other hand, the government of China, in constituting the Hong monopoly, has made itself responsible for the due performance of their engagements with Europeans; and, in case of the bankruptcy of any one of them, it either compels the collective body to inake good the deficiency, or advances the amount of it from the imperial treasury; instances of both methods have occurred. The governinent, however, takes care to indemnify itself by the imposition of additional and permanent duties on all articles of import, and the Hong merchants reimburse themselves by advancing the prices of exports ; so that, in fact, we, who are the consumers, are serious sufferers by this system of responsibility; and by so much the greater shall we be so, in proportion to the extension of the capital of the Hong merchants, and the risk incurred by their promiscuous dealings with individual adventurers; and this affords an unanswerable argument in favor of the Company's exclusive trade with China.
Such being the system, it may fairly be asked, who is to be responsible for the conduct of interloping adventurers? It cannot surely be expected that the chief of the Company's factory should be answerable for the conduct of the Company's rivals—or, that he should risk his life for any delinquency of those over whom
Several instances might be quoted to show, that these are not merely the principles, but the practice of Chinese law. One of Captain Shelvocke's men committed an accidental homicide. The corpse of the Chinese was laid before the door of the English factory, and the first supercargo that came out was seized and carried to prison; and would certainly have suffered death, had not the unfortunate man been given up and strangled.
The gunner of a country ship killed a Chinese in firing a salute by order of the Captain. After a long resistance he was persuaded to surrender himself, and was strangled.
A Chinese was killed in an affray with soine Portuguese ai Macao; a Portuguese was peremptorily demanded to satisfy the law. The governor, unable to fix on the delinquent, or compromise the affair, abandoned a Spaniard of Manilla, to appease the rigour of Chinese justice.
In the case of Edward Sheen, (Quar. Rev. No. VI. Art. I.) the security merchant pressed the chief of the factory to purchase a negro slave at Macao to substitute, as the hornicide of a Chinese; and was quite surprized that he should hesitate to get out of the scrape at so cheap a rate.
he has no controul. We anticipate the answer-let a consul be appointed. In the first place, how do we know that the Chinese will receive a consul? As the representative of His Majesty we know they will not-when hinted at by Lord Macartney, they could form no idea of a being so perfectly anomalous in the constitution of their government. But the Americans have a consul there:---that is, they have a person who chooses to call himself by this name; but we know that he is neither acknowledged nor respected by the government, which merely considers him as the person on whom they can fix a responsibility for the conduct of the Americans. We doubt whether any British subject of respectability would expose himself to the chance of the degrading treatment he might receive at the hands of the Chinese ; and are pretty certain, that the House of Commons would not arm him with the power of delivering up a British subject, who may have committed
oluntary and accidental homicide, much less to deliver up an innocent substitute. And after all, we have no doubt that recurrence would be had, on all occasions, to the Company's factory, rather than to this newly established officer, of whose duties the Chinese have no distinct conception.
It would seem, however, that we have all along suffered ourselves to be grossly imposed upon with regard to the supposed delicacy of allowing a general intercourse with the people of China,' and that the notion of danger is completely contradicted by the success which has attended the American traffic.* That the utmost delicacy' is necessary to be observed in all foreign intercourse with China, the experience of every maritime nation of Europe (some of them for 300 years) can testify; that there is no 'danger,' is a conclusion which the records of Leadenhall-street, for the last 150 years, most forcibly refute. We shall mention but a single instance of danger, which is not, perhaps, on those records. When the expedition, which was indiscreetly sent from India to take possession of Macao, (a part of the Chinese territories, lent to the Portugueze,) arrived off that peninsula, the first impulse of indignation on the minds of the Chinese viceroy, and other officers of government, determined them to expel the English from Canton, and close that port for ever against them; but on consulting the Hong merchants, whether the Americans could not oceupy that part of the commerce which had been carried on by England, and receiving a decided negative, they were induced to enter into negociations with the officers commanding the expedition, and invented a thousand falsehoods to avert the wrath of the court of Pekin from the