ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Vol. XXIII. No.6.) LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 1814. [Price 1s,

129]

[130 Letter

much knowledge and advantage as you read, TO THE THINKING PEOPLE OF in Milton, about the Devits firing off cana ENGLAND,

nons in heaven, Os in Arraias Of TUE East INDIA endeavour to saake the subject clearly une

This being my firm persuasion, I shall Company.

derstood; and, when I have so done, THINKING PEOPLE,

shalt willingly leave, to be cheated still, Amongst all the mumerous subjects upon every one who is fool enough to join in the which you have discovered your acuteness clamours now raised and raising against of perception and profundity of thought, If the proposed measure of opening the trade know of none (except that of Pitt's sinking to India. fund) which has drawn forth so brilliant a This measure, it is said, by the partisans display of these qualities as the subjects of the Company, will ruin the Company; connected with India ; and, when I reflect that it will break up their power ; that it on your wise notions about the riches de will cause the loss of India as a Colony. I rived to the nation from *our Empire in will not stop: to dispute about this. I will u the East," I cannot wonder at the alarm take these propositions as granted; and, that many of you now feel lest the curbing still I shall contend, that the measure oughe of the power of the East India Company, to be adopted. It is useless, therefore, to through the means of the now-proposed enter into any details to shost what the measure, should bring ruin upon England. measure will do against the Company ; ifop In plain language, you have so long been I am ready to assert, and to prove, aid I deceived; you have so long listened, and trust that I shall prove, that the breaking loved to listen, to falsehoods; you have so up of the Company would be a great blesslong been the almost williug dupes of de ing to England; that Company being, and siguing knaves ; that there is scarcely a pas- having long been, one of our greatest sage left by which truth can find its way to scourges, oue of the chief causes of

corrupyour minds. Nevertheless, I shall endea- tion and oppression. vour to disentangle the question, which is The outline of the proposed measure is now. sp much agitating your wise and plod.. this: that, whereas the trade to India is ding noddles; I shall endeavour to strip now exclusively in the hands of the Comthis grand humbug of its' covering ; and, pany, the Ministers mean to make such a when I have so done, I shall leave you to change as shall open the trade to other mer. the tricks of the several classes of mounte- chants. At present, in consequence of an banks, who are striving for the upper hand agreement, made with the Government 20 in deceiving you.

years ago (which agreement is called a : Those, whose object is to deceive; who Charter), no merchant of this kingdom, ex> have falsehoods to make pass for truths ; cept the Company, can trade with the East those persoos generally endeavour to con- Indies; no ships but the East India. Come fuse and confound facts and circurgstances pany's ships can ga thither; but, the Mi25 much as possible; and, in the present nisters mean to introduce a measure (now case, the real points at issue seem to have that the Company's Charter is upon the been wholly kept out of sight. Nay more, point of cxpiring), which shall enable any I would bet my life, that, if you were all merchant of this kingdom to trade.la India examined one by one, not one out of 5,000 of this proposed measure it is that the of you know what the words East India Company is complaining, and in opposition Company mean that you have no more to it they are exciting the most violent clar knowledge of the nature and effect of that mours, representing it as an act of injustice Corporation than you bave of what is pass as well as of impolicy, ing in the moon; and that, when you read Faction is cadeavouring to make the about the wars in India, it is with about as question a party one, and the City of Lon

E

don, actuated by narrow self-interest, is men otherwise well-informed. Now, howabetting, in some degree, the opposition, ever, the demands upon the taxes must, for and joining in the clamours. But, the peo- the purposes of India, - be such as will, I ple, if they have not been quite berelt of should imagine, open men's eyes, especially their reason by conflicting falsehoods, ought if the ministry make and promulgate an auto consider the question as one in which thentic statement of the nation's affairs. they are opposed to this domineering Com- Thirteen years ago a charter, by the influpany. It is with the nation that that Com-ence of Mr. Pitt and his colleague Dundas, pany has made a bargain ; it is from the was granted to the East India Company, nation that they hold their Charter; and, whereby were secured to the said company it is for the nation to consider, whether that of merchants certain rights of sovereignty Charter shall be renewed; whether it shall in, and, with some exceptions, an exclusive again grant 'a monopoly of trade to a select trade with, those countries in Asia, which body of men, to the exclusion of all the rest we, taking them all together, call the East of the King's subjects.

Indies. As the foundation of their firm, or It is not a little impudent in the Company partnership, of trade, this company were to pretend that the nation is guilty of injus- allowed by the Charter, to create a quantilice in withholding this renewal. What ty of stock; that is to say, to make loans, would be thought of a tenant, who should in the same way that the ministry do, and

set up a clamour against his landlord, be- to pay annually, or quarterly, in dividends, 'cause the latter refused to renew his lease ? interest upon the amount of these loans.

He would be called, at least, a very pre- The company became, in fact, a sort of unsumptuous man, and, if he endeavoured to der government, having its loans, its scrip show, that his landlord would lose by not its debt, or, more properly speaking, its renewing his lease, would not that landlord funds, or, still more properly, its engagelaugh in his face? The very endeavour to ments to pay interest to a number of indipersuade the nation, that it will lose by viduals. The paper, of whatever form it not renewing the Charter, is enough to may be, which entities the holder to de. make any rational man distrust the views mand this interest, or these dividends, is of those who make it.

called East India Slock, the principal of In order to decide, whether a new Char: which has now been augmented to the sum ter should be granted to the Company, we of 12 millions sterling; and, the holders of ought first to inquire how they have acted this stock are called East India Proprietors. towards the nation in consequence of their The sources, whence the means of regularly last Charter. But, before we enter upon discharging the interest upon the stock were this inquiry, I will, in nearly the same to be derived, were, of course, the profits words that I used seven years ago, give a of the trade which the company should brief description of that strange thing, call-carry, but, aided by the revenue which ed the East India Company.

they were authorized to raise from their - You hear of great fortunes being made territory, the defence and government of in the East ; you hear of plunder enormous, which were, however, placed, in some sort, and you see the plunderers come and elbow under the control of the mother govern you from your homes ; but, you never ap- ment at Westminster. Thus set out in the pear to perceive, that any part of this plun- world this company of sovereigns, furnishder is, either first or last, drawn from your ed, at once, with dominions, subjects, taxes, own estates or their labour. You seem to and a funded debt. But, supposing the think, that there are great quantities of measure (which I do only by way of illusgoods, and of gold and precious stones in tration) to have been, in other respects, just India; and, the only feeling which the ac- and politic, it certainly would have been quirers of these excite, seems to be that of neither, not to have bound these sovereigns envy, and, in some instances, of emulation. to pay the nation something, or, more proBut, that this proceeds from a gross error perly speaking, to contribute something toWould, in the two millions lately paid to wards the taxes, by way of consideration

the East India Company out of the taxes of for the immense advantages to be derived the nation, have been clearly demonstrat- from the exclusive trade of a country,

ed, had not our system of finance been while the nation might be called upon, as such as to keep in darkness, upon this point, it has been, to defend in a naval war, and

which must, at any rate, be defended on the This was in 1806. There have been several land-board by troops drawn, in part at millions granted in the same way since that time. least, from the population of the kingdom. It was, therefore, provided, that the Com- more of money have, since that time, been pany, during the continuance of its charter, advanced by the nation to the Company, which was to be for twenty years (thirteen instead of the nation having received, as it of which have now nearly expired,* should ought to have done, nine millions and a pay into the Exchequer £500,000 sterling half of principal money from the Company, a year, and that, upon all the money not with accumulated interest at fiseen per so paid, an interest would arise and accu- centum. The nation engaged to do certain mulate, at the rate of fifteen per centum. things and to grant certain privileges to the -Such were the principal engagements, on Company: these things have been done both sides, under which this Company and these privileges granted; but, of the started. The nation has fulfilled its en- money, which we were to receive in regagements, and that, too, at an enormous turn, only one half million out of twenty expenditure both of men and of money ; half millions has ever been received by us. and, while the Company has been enjoying The Company entered into certain engageall the advantages of an exclusive trade, ments with the nation: amongst these enand all the receipts of a territorial revenue; gagements was that of paying, on the part while hundreds and thousands of persons, of the Company, under certain provisions concerned in that trade, have amassed for, and penalties, the sum of £500,000 a tunes so great as to overshadow and bear year into the King's exchequer, as an equidown, not only the clergy and the country valent, in part, for the exclusive advangentlemen, but even the ancient nobility of tages granted and secured to the Company the kingdom, not one penny (since the first by the nation. In case of failure to full year) has the Company ever paid into the this important provision of the act of CharExchequer of the stipulated half-million a ter (being the 33 Geo. III. Chap. 52), the year; and, what is still more glaringly un- lords of the Treasury, of whom Mr. Pitt, just, and more galling to the burdened afterwards Mr. Addington, and then Mr. people, two millions of our taxes have al- Pitt again, then Lord Grenville, then Perready been granted to this Company, where ceval, and now Lord Liverpool, have with to pay the dividends upon their stoek; been at the head, were to take certain and, such has been the management, and steps, and to make certain reports, Buch is now the state, of the Company's af- thereon to the parliament. It is now fairs, that we need not be at all surprised nearly 20 years since the act of charter if another million be called for from us, was passed, of these 20 years the first year during this present session of parliament only has seen a payment made by the ComFor the causes of this state of the Compa- pany into the Exchequer, the Company ny's concerns; for the reasons why they owing, therefore, to the nation 6 millions have not been held to their engagements; sterling, with, as the act provides, accuwhy the act of parliament has thus been mulated interest at 15 per centum a year; treated as if it had been passed merely as a yet, in the whole of this series of years, job; why we have been called upon to pay during this long scene of defalcation and of lo, instead of to receive from, this company forfeiture, have the Lords of the Treasury, of trading sovereigns; let thé eulogists of though so positively thereunto enjoined by Mr. Pitt's memory; let. Mr. Canning and the act, never taken any steps whatever, Old Rose let Lord Melville, with his and never made any report to parliament £2,000 a year pension from the Company relating to the subject. It is possible, and, (who are so poor as to come to us for mo- indeed, likely; that the present Lords of ney); let the Directors, those managers of the Treasury will make a report agreeably the Company's affairs, and those staunch ad- to the law; but, that report cannot revocates of the Minister that suffered the act move, or shake, any of the facts that I to lie unenforced against them; let Lord have stated. I have fairly stated the naWellesley, who has so long been the Go- ture of the agreement between the nation vernor-General of India, why the act has and the Company; and it will; I imanot been enforced, why the law has been gine, require no very long time for any thus set at nought, let these

[graphic]

unbiassed man to decide, whether the naa • It seems incredible, that these things tion ought again to trust this Company should have been; buts not only were with the advantages that it before enjoyed. they so up to the year 1806, they are so I am not only for throwing open the trade, up to this hour, except, that four millions but for taking the sovereign authority

wholly out of the hands of the Company The 20 years are now about to expire. I am for not listening to them for a single

persons tell,

moment;. until they have paid up their then, I ask what better reason can there bę arrears with interest agreeably to the law. for not reaewing their charter ; what better

But, you will ask, " what do they say reason for not again putting any of the " for themselves : what defence do they power of government in their hands;

set up: what excuse do they make for what better reason for wholly breaking up « not paying the stipulated sums to the their corporation? If from their Charter et nation?” The excuse they make is this: such scenes of blood and devastation have that they have been engaged in expensive, arisen, shall we consent to a renewal of unavoidable wars; and, they say, that that charter? The very excuse for their the Act of Charter provides, that, in such defalcation furnishes the best possible rea, a case, they shall be excused. Yes; but, son for the adoption of some measure only for a lime; the sumns are still to be that shall for ever put an end to their due to the nation ; and interest is lo run on power. against the Company. In fact, the law I beg, most thinking people, once more allows of a postponement only, and not to draw your attention to the nature of the that, except upon a report and recommend argument contained in the Act of Charter, ation of the Lords of the Treasury made to before referred to. The nation grants, te the parliament; and, no such report has the Company, the power of raising a reever been made. In short, there is no venue upon the millions of people in India; legal defence ; no legal defence can be and, it further grants it a trade to India, made ; the Company owes the nation the 9 while it stipulates to exclude from that and a half millions sterling, and, in this trade, supposed to be very advantageous, situation it has the assurance to come for all the rest of the King's subjects; and Ward and reproach the ministry with a de- while it agrees to send out forces, by land sign not to trast it again to the same ex and water, for the protection of the trade tent as it was trusted before. What would and the territory against foreign enemies. any man think of a tenant, who, during a In return for all this the nation is to reterm of twenty years, should pay but one ceive, in money paid into the exchequer, year's rent, and who should then becall £ 500,000 a year, during the 20 years his landlord for refusing a renewal of his that the Charter is to last. This sum was, Jease ?: What you would think of such as of course, to go in aid of the taxes; and, man, you will readily think of this Com- ) 10,000,000 of pounds would have been pany; but, you will not easily find terms something worth having. But, only half to express your contempt of the landlord a million of this has been paid: 'the rest, who should be fool enough to assent to such we are told, has been spent in wars; in renewal.

“ just and necessary wars;", and, we have Let us, for argument'e sake, take the advanced them five millions besides. A word of these trading so. ereigns ; let us, very pretty way this of executing the terms however common sense forbids it, believe of the Charter A decent way of fulfilling them for once. Let us suppose, that they, a bargain! while they have been dividing their gains What the nation now demands is, that so largely, have spent the 9 and a half another such a bargain shall not be made ; millions in

wars.

With whom bave they and, the ministry, propose, that the trade been at war ? " With those who were al-shall be open ; ihat other English merz. tacking England ? Oli, no! With the chants shall trade to India ; that a country, natives of a country at niue months' sail the possession of which is, like Jamaica or from our shores; with a people whom Mr. any other Colony, held by the means of Robert Grant, in his late speech in favour of the national taxes, shall be open to all the the Company,described as the most pusil. King's subjects. And, what can be more "lanimous, unresisling and weak in the just; what more reasonable; what more ( world.” This is the people, in wars inoderate than this proposition ? Why against whom, they say they have spent so should not all the people of the kingdom be much as to be thereby rendered incapable free to profit from a territory, of which of paying the sums due to the nation as a they all assist in maintaining the possession, compensation for advantages given up to Whether India ought to be held as a colony their exclusive possession. Could such at all, is another question, to be hereafter wars be

tiegessary? Could such wars be considered; but, while it be so held, og just? Could such wars. be unavoidable?. whether it be so held or not, can any man But, monstrous as is the supposition, let devise a good reason for continuing tlie us grant it even for argument's sake; and, trade a monopoly in the hands of a Com

pany, who, as experience proves, will pay army and a reveme in India than in Engihe nation nothing for such monopoly ? land; and I would a million to one rather

The opposition, which the City of Lont trust them with an army and a revenue in don is making to the measure, proposed to England, than I would trust the same in be adopted, arises from a motive of the the hands of the East India Company, who same sort as that which actúates the East arę a body of men, of the individuals formIndia Company: namely, a preference of ing which body no one knows any thing, their own interests to those of their fellow It is a non-descript sort of sovereign, from şubjects at large. But, before I enter up. whose sway every man of common sense on this subject more minutely, let me no- must wish to be preserved. The taste of tice certain passages, in the speeches of Mr. Birch must be very curious." He has Mr. FAVELL and Mr. Alderman Birch,, always been on the side of every ministry. during the debate of the 25th instant. There has been 'no act of their's, that I

Mr. Favell said, there was a great have ever observed, which he has not sup. " danger of transferring the government of ported. He has no objection to trust them “ India from the Company to the British with the distribution of the 70 or 80 mila “ Ministry. Now, Lord Buckinghamshire lions a year, which they raise upon the " expressly threatened the Company with people of this kingdom; but he is in ter" a new Administration of India ; and rible alarm at their geuing possession of " therefore his worthy Friend, when he the " whole revenue of India "saw Government on the point of laying I would ask these two gentlemen, whe« hold of the Indian army, would certher they seriously believe, that the mi“ tainly bé disposed to stand forward and nistry, that any ministry, that the presenc 'resisi in time, what, if adopted, would or any other, would, or could, make a

effectually put an end to every thing like worse use of power, than has been made of ki resistance to the measures of the Execu- power by the East India Company? What * live of this country.Mr. Birch said, could they do more than spend the reve" He had no doubt that this was the first nues of India in war's ?: Has, war ever " of a series of measures by which the ceased since the Company's Charter was

whole of the revenue of India would be granted? And, what could any ministry taken by Government. They would thus do worse than this? The excuse for noe "obtain by stratagem, what, in the be- paying the nation the 9 and a half mil"ginning, they durst not ask.

lions of money is, that it has been expenda This is a sort of doctrine that I cannot ed in necessary wars. : Is it not tine to comprehend; and, I wonder how Mr. take the government of thirty millions of Favell and Mr. Birch have arrived at the people out of such hands? Whether it is discovery, that there is danger in putting likely to fall into better hands I do not prethe government, and Mr. Birch in putting tend to know ; but, here I come to close the revenue, of Jodia into the hands of quarters with Mr. Birch; for, I say, that those who have in their hands the govern those whom he thinks good enough to goment and revenue of England. If they vern England, I think quite good enough mean to say, that the present ministry are to govern India. unfit to be intrusted with the government Mr. Bircu even asserted, that the adopand revenue of England; or, that any mi- tion of the proposed measure would be a nistry that can be chosen in the present violation of the Company's Charter : " He state of the représentation in parliament's considered the proposed innovation as a are unfit to be intrusted with the govern- " violation of the East

. India Company's ment and revenue of England, that gives - Charter, and a daring confiscation of rise to a new question ; but, to say, that properly. Their Charter had been rem the same men, who are fit to be intrusted "newed from time to time; their prowith the ruling and the taxing of us at perty had been embarked in numerous 'home, are unfit to be intrusted with the establishments on the faith of it; and ruling and taxing of Hindostan, or, at "now, when these had attained maturity, least, more unfit than a Company of mer. "the Company were to be turned out, that chants living and holding their Court in " others might enjoy the fruits of their London, is, to me, a proposition that re- " labours. Unless the safety of the State quires very good arguments indeed to mains were concerned, Charters ought never tain it. For my part, my taste is the op- to be infringed.". I do not know, for posite of those of these Gentlemen. 'I would my part, where men fiud confidence sufmuch rather trust the ministers svith an ficient to make assertions like these. The

« 前へ次へ »