« EdellinenJatka »
the same conviction that they have produced on our own, and induce all who see these portions to turn to the original volume from which they are selected, for full and complete satisfaction.
The following pages contain such further arguments, in support of the expediency of permitting the colonisation of British subjects in India, as have been suggested by further observation, inquiry, and reflection, and by the books and documents which have been published, or which have come to my knowledge, since the "Inquiry" was written (1820). That free scope will soon be given to the industry of British subjects and their descendants, in India, I am firmly persuaded; and the signs of the times sanction the sanguine anticipations which I entertained, on that subject, eight years ago.
The only instance, in which I have found occasion to modify former views or statements, is in what relates to the condition of the Ryots, which appears generally to approach much more nearly to that of tenants at will than to that of privileged occupants, as they are commonly supposed to be, or of leasehold farmers, as it was predicted, by Mr. Colebrooke, that they would become.
To those at all acquainted with this controversy it is needless to say, that what is meant by the colonisation of India, is something as different from the colonisation of Canada, as the emancipation of the Irish Catholics differs from the emancipation of the Greeks. It never was imagined that any part of the redundant labouring population of England or Ireland could find relief by emigrating to India; but that British landlords, farmers, traders, and artisans, of every description, would rapidly and indefinitely advance the agricultural and commercial interests of India, give stability and vigour to the local government, and conciliate the attachment while they raised the character of the native inhabitants. A note, however, in "The Edinburgh Review,' (No. XC. p. 346,) must have widely disseminated a singular misapprehension on the subject of the colonisation of India. The Reviewer admits that the author of a work on that subject is "right in point of principle."-" But he has prodigiously exaggerated its importance. A few land-speculators might emigrate to India; but it is ridiculous to suppose that there can be any considerable or really advantageous emigration to a country where the wages of labour do not exceed three pence a-day." If the Reviewer can show that I calculated on the emigration of a single ploughman, or day-labourer, or point out wherein I have overstated the advantages derivable from the intelligence and energy of many Englishmen already in India, as well as of the kind of emigrants intended by me, and generally understood by all who enter into the discussion, I shall admit that I am chargeable with exaggeration ; but, if he cannot, it will be for the reader to judge whether the Re
viewer has not "prodigiously" under-rated those advantages, and mistaken the whole ground and bearings of the question. In conceding the "principle," the Reviewer has conceded all that is required. Nothing more is required than that Englishmen should be free to expend their own money, and apply their own ingenuity and labour, in cultivating the resources of India. No greater or more complicated effort is required from the British Parliament, than that it should give to Englishmen the liberty of unlicensed resort to and residence in India, with the right of trial by jury in all cases. Without such indispensable protection, no Englishman will invest capital in agricultural* or manufacturing speculations, and India may continue for ever stationary in wealth, civilisation, and happiness. With such protection no man can presume to assign limits to the advancement of which that neglected portion of the British empire is capable. It has been well observed that," in England, the advantages of large capital are evident ;-in all our large undertakings, money is as powerful as steam, because, like that power, we are enabled to confiue it, and to apply its force on the particular point and in this particular direction which is required. But take from us the laws of our country, and the advantages of public competition, which bind and protect our capital, and money, like steam, becomes impotent as smoke." The writer of the above passage justly glories in the security enjoyed by his countrymen, which has given existence to so many miracles of comfort, splendour, magnificence, and power; and yet there is a dependency subject to the Legislature of that same country, from the Englishmen resident in which, security of person and property, the only foundation of all prosperity, is withheld !
On the East India Company, considered as an Organ of Government and of Trade.
The circumspection with which the work of British legislation proceeds has seldom been more signally exemplified than in the Acts of Parliament relating to India. To take a short step once in twenty years; to adventure at long intervals to relax and untwist some of the cords of monopoly; to be persuaded, after a careful observation of the phenomena that it was safe and expedient, first, to permit private merchants to ship a limited quantity of goods in the Company's ships-then to permit an unlimited quantity of private goods to be shipped in private ships of not less than 350 tons
*The name of "Indigo planter" may mislead some into a supposition that Englishmen are proprietors or farmers of the land on which the indigo plant is grown, which they are not permitted to be. They procure the plant on contract, and extract the colouring matter, in which process very little fixed capital is requisite. The average value of indigo annually exported from Calcutta is 2,500,0007.'
+"Quarterly Review," No. LXXI., p. 99, on Cornish Mining in South America."
burthen-then to permit ships of even a smaller size to navigate the eastern seas-evinces a degree of patience, temperance, and caution, which must conciliate the most timid and satisfy the most prudent. At last the fulness of time seems to be come, when the nation is prepared to receive arrangements, founded on a resolution that the East India Company is in no way advantageous as a commercial or political institution, but rather an expensive incumbrance and obstruction, which ought long ago to have been removed.
'It is now almost universally agreed that the Company has long outlasted the purposes for which it was created, or in the fulfilment of which it could ever usefully participate. The first voyages, under Queen Elizabeth's charter, partook of the romantic character of an argonautic expedition; and for upwards of a hundred years there was, in the frame of the society, a principle of vitality which sustained them under all the vicissitudes of their own fortunes and of national revolution. During all that period their constitution was perfectly adapted to their functions; but, after commercial intercourse with the several countries in the east had been securely established, and after the national force had been mainly instrumental in the acquisition of territorial power,* the genius of the Company became more and more alien and repugnant to the high duties which devolved on it. Without making any extraordinary demand on the intelligence of the age, the dissolution of the Company might have been expected about the year 1784; still more naturally in 1793; still more in 1813; but, though the absorbing interest of the war with France affords some apology for the feeble half-measures of those days, there will neither be that nor any other excuse for inadequate arrangements, at the approaching expiration of their exclusive privileges.
'If any doubts remained as to the expediency of throwing open the tea trade, they were removed by the evidence taken by the Committee, of which Lord Lansdown was chairman, in 1821. But, notwithstanding the conclusive nature of the evidence in favour of the removal of restrictions, the impression produced by it is less intense than that which results from the violation of all received doctrines, and of all logic, exhibited by the counter-evidence. To read proofs of the superior activity and economy of free trade is sometimes tedious and superfluous; but, when the monopolist is required plainly to state his pretensions, we cannot listen to them with indifference: they provoke our impatience to correct the absurdity
'Assuredly the conquest of India, from the expulsion of the French in the seven years' war to the battle of Mahedpore, never could have been effected without national fleets, national troops, and national authority. Yet we are informed that " our astonishment will be increased when it is added that this great conquest was made not by the collective force of the nation, but by a company of merchants."-Malcolm's Pol. Hist. of India, lib. i.
and remedy the evil. For these reasons, I extract the following passages from the evidence of Mr. Charles Grant, as being more satisfactory and stimulating than any thing that was or could be advanced on the other side.
On the subject of the expensiveness of the Company's China ships, from their being "constructed for war and for political purposes as well as for trade," Mr. Grant observes that " they serve also to command respect for the nation and its interests throughout the Indian seas, and particularly from the supercilious and despotic government of China. It would be ruinous to the Company's interests to give up this admirable class of ships, and to entrust their valuable China commodities, and the protection of their interests in the eastern seas, to a parcel of small ships taken up fortuitously, and for a single voyage.'
'On the nature of the "respect" thus inspired into the Chinese Government, and the fruits thereof, he says, "Although the English experience a full share of the haughtiness and insolence with which foreigners are generally treated while in China, yet the Chinese themselves can no more conceal their dread of the military character and power of the British nation, than they can deny their commercial preponderance among the various nations who visit the port of Canton for trade; and, whatever advantages the servants of the East India Company may have derived, in their various discussions with the Chinese authorities, from the opinion which they entertain of the power and commercial superiority of the British nation-advantages to which the present state of the whole foreign intercourse may be justly ascribed; it is, nevertheless, the fact that the ENGLISH in China are considered as the objects of more peculiar jealousy; and hence THEIR whole conduct is watched with more scrupulous care."-" The Chinese respect the wealth and property, the ships and the servants, of the Company; and that respect is intimately connected with their own interest; but I do not think they would at all equally respect an individual, though having the commission of the King of Great Britain."
< It is well known that the trade of Canton is conducted, on the part of the Chinese, through the medium of a company of monopolists, called the Hong merchants. It might be supposed, therefore, that Mr. Grant would speak with much approbation of this part of Chinese policy, especially as the profits of the Chinese Company are not fixed, like the rate of dividend of the English Company, but rise and fall according to the result of their several transactions. It might have occurred to him, that, whatever could be said for or against making an exclusive Company the sole channel of foreign commerce, was equally applicable to the English as to the Chinese Company. If the English Company is beneficial to the English nation, the Chinese one must become more so to the Chinese nation, being composed of individuals who are really, and not nominally, mer
chants; and, if the Chinese system is injurious, the English system must be more so. Nevertheless, Mr. Grant thus describes and characterises the restrictive policy of the Chinese :-" The nonextension of the sale of our manufactures in China may indeed be, in a great measure, charged to monopoly,-but to a species of it now unknown in Europe, and framed by the Chinese themselves. Restricting foreigners to one port, they will only allow them to trade with one Company in that port, consisting of eight or ten persons, to whom all the foreign trade is confined in absolute monopoly; the foreigners not being permitted to trade with any other Chinese, nor any other Chinese to trade with foreigners, unless with the sanction of the monopoly merchants, called the Hong."—" The jealous policy of the Chinese Government; the strict monopoly against its own subjects, under which it has placed the trade of foreigners; the narrow channel through which that trade has its entrance into the country; the inadequacy of such a channel for conveying a large trade to distant parts, &c.-all these formidable hindrances to the extension of British commerce in China seem to be quite unknown or overlooked; but they are all realities."—"The Chinese Hong fix among themselves the prices of the imports they receive from foreigners, and the prices of the exports they furnish to them, and, therefore, are in effect the arbiters of the extent of foreign trade."
'Now for the contrast between the barbarous Chinese monopoly and the refined English monopoly. "The India Company," says Mr. Grant, "acts, in its commercial concerns in China, as an individual: it has an unity of counsel and of operation. It is so far a match for the Chinese Campany, the Hong. Its imports are not depreciated, as they would be if brought in by various individuals, each going to market for himself; in this way one might continually offer lower than another, and the general standard of the selling price of imports he lowered. In the purchase of goods for exportation, directly the contrary might be expected: competition would enhance their prices; and thus the trade, both in imports and exports, be turned against the British merchant, by the number of dealers."-" The Company, from public-spirited motives, have long carried on a large trade in that article (woollens) from England to Canton, at an annual loss to themselves; that is to say, they could carry bullion to Canton on better terms, commercially speaking, than they carry woollens; but, from a desire to promote the manufactures of this country, they submit to a certain loss upon the article of woollens, taking teas in barter for them, and being indemnified in the result by the exclusive privilege of selling tea in this country."—"We cannot get the Chinese to raise the price of the woollens beyond what they stood at a remote period, when woollens were, from many causes, much cheaper in this country than they are now."