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endanger the permanency of, or entirely interrupt, the intercourse with that country.

Under the system of Open Trade proposed, there is not a doubt that, in so vast a range of coast many opportunities would occur, in places to which British laws and British protection have not yet fully extended, of plundering, over-reaching, or otherwise maltreating the mild and inoffensive inhabitants : and, although the natural love of justice would with many prevail over all temptations, yet there are others who would allow themselves to be seduced into acts of violence, treachery, or deception, which the facility of escaping punishment would render too alluring to be always resisted. However we may be advanced in refinement, I am not aware that, in respect to sound morals, the present times are much superior to what they were a century ago; and we know that, at that period, a regular system of piracy was organized by the interlopers, who frequented the Indian Seas to the great inconvenience and loss of the East India Company, and the imprisonment by the native powers, of their most valuable servants.” Some of the piratical vessels, which then infested those seas, were even fitted out by British subjects, from New York, and other parts of America, then under our own dominion. It is true, the present state of India by land, and that of our naval power in the Eastern Seas, would render such projects now much more hazardous. But if, from these circumstances, private adventurers should seldom be daring enough to venture upon absolute piracy, they would still have sufficient temptations and opportunity to commit minor depredations.

The injury which would arise from this source to the Company's China Trade is equally certain, but of much greater importance. It was a judicious precaution of the Court of Directors, with a view to the safety of this trade, to desire that private ships might be prohibited from having access to the Molucca Islands, or Eastern Archipelago. But even this restriction, although undoubtedly some, would, I apprehend, be but a very slender security against

I Vide Bruce's Annals of the East India Company, Vol. III. pp. 204 and 210.

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the danger. Private ships would find it profitable to bring home teas. The temptation to smuggle an article, which bears ninetysix per cent. duty ad valorem, is too great to be resisted, in the first instance, from the mere apprehension of remote detection and punishment. It is an evil which can only be resisted, in limine, by some such system of restriction as that which at present exists. And hence, it may be pronounced, without reserve, that to lay open the East India Trade to private ships would be, in other words, to lay the foundation of an illicit commerce, more extensive and more injurious in its consequences, than any that has ever existed in the world.

Even were the ships of individuals prohibited from visiting the Molucca Islands, which however His Majesty's Ministers have shown some reluctance to accord, encouragement would still arise to the exportation of teas and other commodities from China, to answer the demand occasioned by these ships. These commodities would find their way to some central ports in the Indian Seas, which would in such case become large depôts, and thus, from the inordinate profits which would attend each successful voyage, an

immense and a regular system of clandestine 'Trade, would spontaneously spring up. It would not be in human ingenuity to prevent it. Neutral and hostile nations would think it their interest to protect and encourage such a traffic: and this very circumstance might lay the foundation of new wars.

Whenever peace shall take place between this country and France (and war cannot be eternal), the evils arising from this source may naturally be expected to increase. It would be unreasonable to suppose that, at whatever period that event may happen, we shall be in a situation entirely to dictate the conditions of the peace, or that the enemy will not aspire to the restoration of his Asiatic possessions, at least the islands which we have recently captured, as equivalents for other objects, which he may be disposed to relinquish. In the event, then, of our being obliged to restore the Islands of Mauritius and Bourbon, would they not form very convenient depôts for Clandestine Trade ? And, is it not highly probable that, with this very view, they would be declared free ports ? Madagascar, Manilla, and other places not within British jurisdiction, would also naturally become the resorts of such a



commerce. We could not, if at peace with these nations, prevent French, American, Spanish, or Portuguese ships from bringing teas from China, for the purpose of lodging them at these depôts ; nor the ships of our own private merchants from touching at such ports, in order to purchase those teas with the view of smuggling them into Great Britain, or some intermediate ports.

Upon the return home of those private ships the Azores, the Western Islands, the Madeiras, would afford convenient stations for carrying on this traffic to any degree : every part of the coasts of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, would offer similar facilities : and, in the event of importation from India being extended to the out-ports, as now proposed, the most extensive and systematic smuggling could not be obviated by all the efforts of the legions of Custom-House Officers, supposing these persons to do their duty, whom the government might think fit to appoint.

Were importation even confined to the port of London, as at first proposed by Ministers, the coasts of Cornwall and France, the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, would present to adventurers abundant opportunities of successfully carrying on an illicit Trade, on a very large scale.

But independently of these numerous facilities, so fertile in expedients is the genius of Trade, that places of rendezvous might, and no doubt would, be appointed, in different latitudes and longitudes, at which smaller vessels would be directed to wait for those of a larger size, in order to take charge of the clandestine part of their cargoes, to be conveyed to places where it could be disposed of with advantage, promptitude, and safety.

If, in the course of such voyages, these private ships should be occasionally captured, their clandestine trade seized, or their regular cargoes confiscated, the mischiefs to the East India Company and to the revenue, would not thereby be in the smallest degree diminished. It would only be a transfer of property from the hands of the private trader to those of the crews of our men of war, or of the Custom-House officer. In proportion to the extent to which this clandestine trade might be carried on, whether the adventurers in it should be gainers or losers, would the profits of the Company and the revenues of the Crown be diminished ?

With respect even to the fair private Trade, although it would

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not so much affect the revenue (it would, however, in no inconsiderable degree, increase the experices of collecting it), the struggle which would take place, could not fail to prove injurious to the Company, although, in their corporate capacity, which has been given to them in perpetuity, they would of course surmount the competition of all individual rivals. In this rivalship, every honest private competitor would undoubtedly be ruined. But we shall suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the individual Merchants carrying on a fair private Trade to India, should prevail over the Company, what difference could it make to the Public, whether the Company or their private rivals, were the first to be ruined? One thing is quite certain, that it is the illicit Trader alone who would benefit by the change. And if the measure of admitting private ships, of all sizes, and fronı all ports, to trade to India, in defiance of all these dangers, is to be carried into effect, I am of opinion, that the Bill by which it is to be enacted, ought to be denominated « an act for establishing, protecting, and extending illicit commerce between India and Britain."

It is well known, that enough of tea for the consumption of the whole United Kingdom has always been supplied, in an unadulterated state, and at reasonable prices, by the East India Company; and that from this source have arisen their principal commercial profits.' Let us now inquire what would be the effects upon these profits of admitting private ships to the Trade of India. An increased demand for tea, and a consequent rise in the price of that article, would immediately take place in China; while the competition of illicit Traders, by producing a superabundant supply, would occasion a fall in the price of the same commodity at home. Thus the profits of the Company would be unfavorably affected, by a double operation. The revenue, depending upon this source, it is obvious, would be almost wholly annihilated. And what would the consumer benefit by the change? While the abatement, which it would occasion, on the retail prices, could not be sensibly felt, even by the poorest persons in society, the sophistication, which would in consequence take place, of an article


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4 Twenty five millions of pounds of various kinds of tea is the average quan. tity sold at the Company's sales iu the year.

become a necessary of life throughout the British dominions, would diminish the comforts, and might injure the health, of almost every member of the community. And thus, from a measure pregnant with danger to so many various interests, it cannot be said that a single incidental benefit is promised to the public.

The Company, crippled as they would then be, could no longer afford to export to China, as they have been accustomed to do, at an immense loss, to the annual amount of a million sterling of the metals and woollens of Great Britain. And thus, some of our best staple commodities, contrary to the fallacious expectations entertained by many of those who deal in them, would, instead of experiencing an increase, suffer, from the measure proposed, an immediate diminution of sale.

So assured, indeed, were the Proprietors of the Cornwall Mines, of the loss that would arise on the sale of their products in China, if exported on their own accounts, (and the same apprehensions would, of course, be entertained by private Merchants) that they thought proper to decline the liberal offer of the Company, to convey annually twelve hundred tons of their metals to that country, freight free.

The annual sacrifices thus made by the Company at the shrine of the public, particularly in respect to woollens and metals, they were enabled to bear, both by the profits of their homeward cargoes, and by the mutual support which their territorial revenue, and commerce, afforded to each other. From their mixed character of Sovereigns and Merchants, they were enabled to effect, what it is utterly impossible that individuals, in their mere commercial capacity, should have the power to accomplish.

From all these considerations, it follows, that the plan of grante ing liberty to Private Ships to trade to India, even if they should be excluded from the Eastern Archipelago, is a certain, although an indirect, mode of depriving the East India Company of all the benefits of the China Trade ; and may, eventually, deprive the inhabitants of these Kingdoms of one of the most essential necessaries of life ;-an article, which scarcely an individual from the throne to the cottage can now dispense with, and which chiefly administers to the subsistence of the very poorest classes of society.

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