Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

brought to London, and, being here cor- in case of a new war, will add materially rupted, would on their return corrupt to our maritime strength. Upon the their countrymen. They would thus commencement of hostilities, "Lascars carry a bad report of us to Hindostan, can be employed as substitutes; and, the English character would be degraded, without any interruption to our commerce, and the English empire in the East an immense number of hands can be shaken to its foundations. All this is really given to the navy. This is an advantage urged with gravity. Would it not be not to be derived from the trade to the possible to prevent the Lascars from ever West Indies, or any other colonial trade entering London; we trade to China, but on the globe. our men are not allowed an unrestrained The admission of India-built ships canintercourse with the Chinese. It would not be objected to, if it were for no other be an easy matter, at a small expense, to reason than the present scarcity in this superintend the Lascars when on shore ; country of timber for the navy. The and, though the expense should be consi- deficiency begins to be felt to a most derable, the profits of the trade would be alarming degree. But the wood of which amply able to bear it. It is a curious fact, these ships are built is preferable to the Sir, that the company are daily in the best oak, and it can be imported for all practice of bringing home Lascars ; and if purposes, free of expense, in the form I am rightly informed, those whom they of a ship. In the opinion of the court do bring home are allowed to wander of directors, a grand national object like about the streets and to die for want, while this is to be sacrificed, because it would those brought home by the private traders interfere with selfish views ! During the live on shore in a kind of barracks pre. war the trade of foreigners to India has pared for them, and are watched over had to struggle with considerable difficulwith the greatest care. 4. The shipping ties. Now that peace has arrived, we interest would suffer. Sir, if I am rightly shall have not only our former rivals, but informed, the shipping interest are by no France and Holland; and there will be few means adverse to the plan. The price of obstacles to their being assisted by British timber in this country'is now so enormous, capital, if, through the unhappy influence that there is scarcely any profit to be of a few merchants in Leadenhall-street, made by building ships, while there is a it is not allowed to be employed at home. great deal to be made by repairing them. France has all her colonies restored to If trade increases, and the number of her. There is no clause in the treaty to ships entering our ports is increased, they say that she shall not trade in the Indian therefore justly think they would ulti- seas. There could be none; and the only mately be gainers. 5. An argument still way in which we can prevent our commore formidable is, that the British sailors merce being wrested from us, is to free it would be injured. In all cases where they from every unreasonable restraint. are to be found, the merchants are willing foreigners are once allowed to get possesto employ British sailors in preference. It sion of it, we may discover our error is their interest to do so. Seven British only in time to find it irretrievable. Now sailors are supposed 10 be equal to we may secure to ourselves this inextwelve lascars; and, though some give a haustible fund of wealth; but if we undifferent proportion, all agree in making precedentedly allow it to slip from us, it the difference prodigious. Thus the loss is gone for ever.

Whenever our comof tonnage, when Lascars are employed, merce is ruined, we shall have no other more than counterbalances the cheapness consolation than that we have preserved of their wages.

The merchants are the sacred band of thirty directors. It willing that a clause should be introduced, likewise ought never to be forgotten enacting that, when they are to be found, that all that leaves our scale, falls into a part, or the whole of the crew shall be the scale of France, so that the loss acts English; and that certificates of the doubly against us. I think I have said impossibility of finding them shall be enough to prove the propriety of my given by the court of directors, or the motion. I do not wish the House to council at the presidencies in India. If come to a decision now. Let the whole this trade is placed under proper regula- business be submitted to a committee, tions, it will afford encouragement to a and sifted to the bottom. It will then be prodigious number of our mariners, it seen whether we are not unnecessarily will greatly increase their number ; and, weakening ourselves and aggrandising our (VOL. XXXVI.]

[U]

If

we

are

enemies; whether we are not doing every | pany, while they afforded every reasonable thing to discourage manufactures and to degree of encouragement to the efforts of cramp trade; whether

not private speculation. If the court of directors wantonly shutting up sources of revenue had not given this trade all the facilities and maritime strength; and whether, if which parliament had intended, a fair these manœuvres prevail, the sales in ground of parliamentary interference Leadenhall-street themselves will not would be opened. Agreeing most corsoon be unattended ? Sir, I am sure that dially with the hon. baronet in the expethis subject will force itself on parliament; diency of giving every possible facility to and that though this motion be rejected, the private trade, he trusted that if, from it will not determine the fate of the mea- what had been stated, he should be ensure. Sir William concluded by moving, abled to draw an opposite conclusion, the “ That a Committee be appointed to take House would be disposed to come to a corinto consideration the Papers laid before responding decision. The hon. gentleman this House in the last session of parlia- had said, that every governor in India, ment relating to the proceedings of the without exception, was in favour of the East India Company, respecting the private trade conducted on the principles Trade between India and Europe, re- which he had laid down ; but whence he ferred to in the said Papers, and to report had been able to collect this, he was unthe same, as it shall appear to them, to able to discover. Unquestionably it was the House."

true, that his noble friend, marquis Mr. Chancellor Addington said, that no Wellesley, had, by the exercise of his member could possibly attach greater im- discretionary power, and by using extraportance than he did to the subject now ordinary exertions, employed several under discussion. He was ready, too, to ships in 1798 for bringing to Europe the admit, that the hon. baronet was actuated articles connected with the private trade. by the purest and most disinterested sense An order from the court of directors was of duty, while he allowed with pleasure sent out by the next fleet, prohibiting the that he had conducted the discussion of importation of any more goods in this way, a subject so extremely interesting with and, in 1799, the practice was disconti. that candour and good sense which could nued. Since that time it was renewed; not fail to have excited universal appro- and he had the satisfaction of stating that bation. The hon. baronet had traced the court of directors had agreed to shipwith great accuracy the history of the ping for the purposes of the ensuing seaEast India company, from the earliest son. They had even consented, that the period of its establishment, down to the shipping employed in the Red Sea should present moment. He should first advert be appropriated to the conveyance of the to the provisions adopted in 1793, private trade for 1803. Thus they had when the House renewed the charter. not only agreed to confirm the determinaThe private trade had not been publicly tion of marquis Wellesley, but had ex. acknowledged previous to that period; pressed their willingness to employ a large and it was in 1793, for the first time, that proportion of shipping exclusively for the it was formally recognized, and special benefit of the private trade, and were even provisions made for giving new facilities engaged to furnish additional shipping, if to its extension. At this time, the com- the trade of 1803 should require a larger pany were bound to furnish 3,000 tons for proportion than that which they had asthe importation of the articles embarked signed. From this statement, therefore, in that trade into this country. This the House would perceive, that the pri. allowance had happily been found to be vate trader would experience no inconvefar from being equal to the purpose in nience, no loss, no disadvantage whatview; but those who had framed this act, ever, till 1804, even if no new regulations foreseeing that such an allowance would were to be adopted: while sufficient time be inadequate, had lodged in the hands of was allowed to form every regulation commissioners the power ofenlarging it to which might seem to be demanded by an that amount which circumstances should impartial contemplation of the whole of require. The framers of this bill had, in the circumstances connected with so in. the provisions they adopted, endeavoured teresting a subject. The first question to give this private trade all those facili- was, Whether the court of directors had ties which might at once be perfectly given those facilities which, by the deci. consistent with the interests of the com- sion of parliament, they were required to extend to the private trade? He had therefore he was at a loss to conceive already stated that they had given the what those advantages were which the facilities required. The next was, Whe- hon. baronet had described to be in the ther or not there existed a just expecta- possession of foreigners. But here the tion that these facilities would be extend- hon. baronet had stated an object to be ed in future? In directing the attention gained by the private trade, and a most of the House to these points, he wished important national object it was: an ob. that the nature of the trade in question jeci no less than that of facilitating, by might be fully understood. The capital means of ships built in India, the supply employed in the trade, it would be recol- of timber for the commercial and royal lected, was not drawn from this country, navy of this country. The hon. baronet but was a captal composed of the surplus had dwelt strongly on this point, and had of the salaries enjoyed by the different been extremely anxious to show that servants of the company in India. This there was no other means of so effectually surplus was either vested in the Treasury promoting this great object. It was his of the company, and bills to the amount duty in answer to this, to state, that the drawn on England, or it was vested in court of directors had expressed, in the goods which constituted the trade which strongest terms, their anxiety to give the House was at present considering. every possible facility to any measure The amount of the surplus had gradually calculated for the advantage of the royal increased, and the investments in the pri- navy: they were even willing to engage vate trade had experienced a proportional to use every effort to cheapen the price of increase. In carrying on this trade, the timber, by loading particular ships with hon. gentleman had contended, that Bri- goods for their own use, so as to reduce tish subjects were not allowed those ad- the freight to a more moderate rate. The vantages which were given to the foreign price of ship timber within a few years trader. On examination, however, this had increased in a most extraordinary assertion would be found to be groundless. manner, and every plan for effecting a To ascertain this, it was only necessary reduction was deserving of serious attento attend a little to the manner in which tion. With respect to the use of ships the trade was conducted. No persons were, built in India, for the private trade, this allowed to engage in it who were not was one of the cases in which the opinions licensed by the company's servants; and on the subject proceeded to extremes. It they were prevented from buying goods was the opinion of his noble friend, the formed of the choicest materials, and ma- governor-general of India, and of a right nufactured in the richest manner. Salt- hon. gentleman, that ships built in India petre, too, found an exception to the ar- should only be employed in the trade ; ticles which they were permitted in the and this was the point in which he had first instance te purchase. But this ex- the misfortune to differ from them, while clusion with regard to fine goods referred the court of directors up to that day, had only to the period prior, to the supply of as strenuously maintained, that the trade the ships of the company with these arti- should be exclusively confined to British cles. After this supply was obtained, the ships. He had now, however, a high demarket was open to the private traders, gree of pleasure in being enabled to state and the previous exclusion ceased to ope that the directors had agreed that either rate. They might then purchase, not British ships, or those built in India, if atmerely the rough part of the goods, but tended with equal convenience, should be the richest materials, and the most costly employed; their only objection being manufacture. With the exceptions he with regard to the price. In calculating had specified, every other branch of ma- the comparative expense of British and nufactures, and every other article of India built ships, the hon. gentleman had produce, were within the range of their founded his calculations on a state of war; purchase. Such was the situation in but was it fair to assume, that during a which the private traders were placed; period of peace this expense would not be and he knew no difference with respect to diminished ? It certainly was not; and foreigners, except that it was not neces- this was another reason for opposing the sary for them to be licensed previous to motion that time might be allowed to try their engaging in the private trade. They the experiment for three years. By recomenjoyed no other privilege which was not mending delay, he trusted that he should participated by British subjects ; and not be thought indifferent to the importance of the question. The trade was un- , motion would have been unnecessary. Its questionably of very liigh consequence. object was, merely to put to fair trial the While it opened a channel for the impor- plan which the niarquis Wellesley had tation of the branches of Indian manufac- sanctioned and acted upon. If this plan tures, and the articles of Indian produce, was to be fairly put to the test for two which the company had not the means of years, the private merchants would be perintroducing on their own account; and fectly satisfied. Was, however, any such while it enabled those of the company's disposition apparent on the face of the servants, who had a certain portion of ca- papers on the table? Certainly not; and pital to dispose of, to dispose of in an ad-hence had originated the necessity for the vantageous manner; it, on the other hand, motion. The right hon. gentleman, when presented new openings for the commentioning the subject of the concession merce, and new encouragements to the offered by the court of directors, did not manufactures, of the mother country. It seem to understand the nature of the conwas a trade not only attended with great cession to be granted. He had thought advantages, but accompanied with little that the ships in the Red Sea would be risk. It took little capital from the coun- amply sufficient for every purpose of the try, yet in its consequences was calculated private trade in 1803; but for his part, to make London the emporium of the he could not help being of a different opitrade of India. What was said on the con nion. The House would recollect, that sequences which would flow from the em- 40,000 ton of shipping had been originally ployment of Lascars in the navigation of employed in conveying the division of the ships coming from India, appeared in his Indian army up the Red Sea. Of these, mind extremely inconclusive. That fo. 20,000 tons had already returned to difreign seamen might, without the smallest ferent ports in India, and of the other impropriety, occasionally come in aid of half, a number of ships were disabled, British sailors, could not be denied; but while others were discharged, and would that there was any reasonable fear of the come home in the ensuing season.

So foreigners supplanting the British sub- that he was afraid, that out of the 20,000 jects, was a proposition to which he could tons, appropriated for the use of the prinot accede. It was impossible to imagine, vate trade, there would not be a sufficient that, known, as the superior skill and in- number of disposeable ships to bring home trepidity of British seamen were, their the property vested in the private trade. services would be refused for the services There seemed to be a wish among the of another description of men, whose qua. enemies of the private trade, to represent lifications were confessedly inferior. On the plan as altogether new; whereas it the subject of colonization he was not was not new, but had been pursued in the prepared to agree with the hon. gentle several seasons since 1798, when the go

He thought it an object of high vernor general of India had acted upon it importance, to prevent an increase of set by sending home private property in ships tlements in India, and to discourage every built in the country. After the trial it plan which was designed to increase had undergone, he defied any one to point or consolidate such settlements. He ad out a single inconvenience that had arisen mitted, that the cases of America and our from it. It had received the support of settlements in India were not parallel ; every one of the company's servants in but at the same time he thought that our India, who had acknowledged the benefiexperience in America ought at least to cial effects that it was calculated to pro: have the effect of teaching us caution. duce. The right hon. gentleman seemed On the contemplation of the whole ques- to think, that the private trade was solely tion, he did not think that the hon. gen. a trade of remittance, and that the capitleman had made out such a case as could tal was made up of the saving of the sabe considered by the House as a full and laries of the different servants of the comfair ground for instituting an inquiry. He pany in India. This was, however, an therefore felt it his duty to move the pre- exceedingly erroneous idea of the nature vious question,

and extent of this important branch of Mr. Johnstone said, that if there ever trade. He believed the whole amount of had been discovered any disposition on these savings to be a million and a half the part of the court of directors to agree yearly. Now it was known, that the to ao amicable arrangement of the dispute company had bills drawn on Europe to with the private merchants, the present this amount, and thus the whole of the

man.

sum which was to form the capital of the , he should vote, in opposition to the proprivate trade was completely absorbed. posal, was, that he held it to be a direct The truth was, that the facilities of navi- attack upon the charter of the India come galion had opened a variety of new chan. pany, without any plea of justice or nenels; and the East Indies would have to cessity. The opinion of Mr. Dundas was receive, at no remote period, a balance confidently quoted in this discussion; but, in specie. The private trade, indepen- in his judgment, that opinion went to an dent of all the concerns of the company, extent which no reason could be advanced could not now be estimated at less than an to warrant. He, for one, was not preannual sum of from four millions and a pared to go so far. From the papers on half to five millions sterling. It had been the table lie drew his principal argument asked, what were the advantages which against the motion ; for it appeared, that foreigners possessed in carrying on this the India company could not be found to trade, above British subjects ? Un- allow the private trading at all beyond doubtedly, if the plan of marquis Welles- the amount of that settled by the act of ley was to be acted upon, and if the pri- 1793, unless it was intended glaringly to vate property of British traders was to be entrap their charter. However the mosent home in ships of the country, instead tion might be disguised, it would tend to of ships sent out by the company, fo- put the spirit of the act of 1793 in opposireigners would possess no advantage. tion to its express letter, and to introBut, on the other hand, if the plan was duce a question between public faith and given up, if the company were to send out public expediency. The principles upon ships to bring home private property, and which that act was founded, he stated to if they were to be allowed to assort and be, to procure to the merchandise and manage the cargoes as heretofore, these manufactures of the British empire exchecks went certainly to put the British clusively the market of India ; and to merchant in a far worse situation than maintain the influence and power of the that in which the foreigner was placed. company, as interwoven with the power On the subject of colonization, he had no of the country, by securing to them alone liesitation in saying, that he was de- the communication between India and cidedly hostile to any system which would Europe. At that time a private trade did attempt to colonize our eastern posses- exist, under the patronage of the comsions. He would not say how long we pany, but in a crippled state. It was encould expect to retain our dominions in larged, and wisely, for many reasons. India; but he was sanguine man, in- Among others, from the state of timber deed, who could expect our empire there in India, and the demand here, it was deto continue for 200 years. It appeared sirable that India-built ships might be alto him to be an empire of opinion, chiefly lowed to import it into Great Britain. It inspired by the awe of our first conquest'; was also desirable to prevent the effects of and it was our interest not to pursue a foreign intrigue, and the aggrandisement plan that might lead the natives to reflect of foreign power in India. That was the upon their own strength: for which rea- policy which saved India from the machison, he thought there was no sound po- nations of France. Now that, by the licy in having a great many Europeans treaty of peace, the French establishments seitled there ; but rather that the plan of were restored, it was more necessary than European settlers should be discouraged, ever to persevere in that system ; for, by because this must have the effect of giving facility to the trade of India with teaching the natives, in time, the force this country, we should make the foreign of their own natural strength.

factories scarcely worth maintaining. With Mr. Wallace said, that the proposition respect to the danger apprehended from of the hon. baronet was evidently calcu- colonization in India, it was the most chilated, through the medium of a commit- merical that couid be imagined. Was it tee, purporting to examine merely the reasonable to entertain any such appre. claims of private traders, to introduce a hensions, in a country under the direction discussion relative to every part of our of a government so powerful, and supIndian affairs ; which should be guarded ported by an immense army? He showed against at this time, when speculations that the extension of the private trade were indulged respecting the India com- would be for the advantage of the company, which struck at the root of that es. pany, by stating, that in 1798, the pertablishment. The principle upon which centage profit to the company, on goods

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »