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Hints on the present state of the question between His Majesty's ministers and the Court of directors relative to the renewal of the East-India company's charter online

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Hints on the Present State
!|>f the Question Between His Ma-
:|jesty's Ministers and the Court
!l)f Directors Kelative to the Re-
iiaewal of the -Cast-India Company's
Charter



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




HINTS



ON THE



PRESENT STATE OF THE QUESTION



BETWEEN



HIS MAJESTY'S MINISTERS



AND THE



COURT OF DIRECTORS



RELATIVE TO



Henetoal



OF THE



EAST- INDIA COMPANY'S CHARTER.



LONDON t
Printed for BLACK, PARRY, and CO. Leadenhall Street.

1813.






-

LmcolnVInn-FieWs, london.



HINTS, &c.



2 THE question respecting the East-India Com-

L-J

pany's exclusive privileges appears to be confined
to one point ; which is, whether certain of the

CO

Outports of the United Kingdom shall be al-
lowed to import goods therein from the East-
Indies.

o

The China monopoly is not disturbed, his

* Majesty's Ministers having stated their willing-

3 ness to recommend to Parliament, the continua-

o

tion of this most important trade entirely to the
Company.

The Company, it also appears, have agreed
to a trade from the Outports of the United King-
dom to India, on condition that the returns of
such export trade shall be brought into the port
of London only. So that from this it seems to

B follow,



2

follow, the Company are willing to allow both
import and export to the port of London ; and
it is presumed to be their intention, that the
returns to the port of London should be housed
and sold by the Company as at present.

Presuming the above to be a just statement of
the question on the part of the Company, the
real matters at issue are the following:

The greater injury the Company's sales will
suffer from the sales of similar goods in different
parts of the United Kingdom, such sales not
being subject to the Company's general arrange-
ment, than those sales would suffer in the event
of opening the trade to London only and conti-
nuing the sales on the present system.

And the injury the Company would suffer in
their tea trade, by the expected introduction of
teas in the ships importing Indian goods into the
Outports; as it is contended by the Court, no
regulations whatever could prevent the illicit
traffic in teas under such circumstances.

As the Company have agreed to abate their
monopoly of the Indian trade, in conceding an

open



open trade to the port of London, it is clear
the question between the Company and the Out-
ports turns on the validity of the above objections.
And indeed these objections contain in them
matter for such serious apprehension as to
the future management of the home finances of
the Company, that it cannot have caused any
surprize to find it asserted, in the printed corre-
spondence, that without the import of Indian
goods being confined exclusively to the port of
London, it is impossible for the Court of Di-
rectors to look forward with any confidence to
the fulfilment of the important part assigned
them in the Indian system.

But the Ministers lav it down as an undeni-

/

able maxim, that the subjects of this country
have an undoubted right to as much liberty of
trade as they can enjoy, without injury to any
other important national interest ; therefore the
Ministers contend, the Outports and others have
a full right to a participation in the trade to and
from India, the Company's exclusive privileges
therein not being considered by the Ministers

B 2 sufficiently



sufficiently important to the nation to continue
such exclusion in the Company's favour.

If from the operation of the circumstances
stated, the sales of India and China goods should
be materially affected, it may be justly asked ;
how are the Company to meet the very large
pecuniary demands lately brought, and expected
to be annually brought in future on their home
funds ?

Now if the argument is sound from which is
deduced the conclusion that there is no probabi-
lity of any material increase, if indeed any in-
crease at all, of the late average, total sales of
Indian goods in England, it then clearly follows,
that whatever part of the future consumption of
Indian goods is supplied by the imports into the
Outports of the United Kingdom, must operate
as a deduction in the amount of the Company's
sales; and of course, in the proportion of the
value supplied through the Outports, deduct
from the Company's means for meeting the heavy
charges above noticed.

This part of the question is not so much a

question,



question of profitable trade, as a question ef
mere remittance. For it must be evident to
every one conversant with Indian affairs, that if
the Company have to pay in England a large
annual sum on the proper account of India, in,
addition to the former payments on that account,
further means must be supplied from India, to
enable the Company to meet such additional
demands, as the profits on the present trade are
already absorbed, in the payment of the dividend
on the capital stock, and other fixed and per-
manent charges.

India is, or ought to be, able to furnish the
necessary funds to enable the Company to fulfil
these obligations on the account of India. But
in what way are these funds to be made avail-
able in England for that particular purpose ?
The trade, it is contended, cannot be increased,
and if any part of the present trade remaining to
the Company, after admitting the Port of London
to a participation, is occupied by the Outports,
it then seems clearly to follow, that the funds ac-
cumulated in India for remittance to England,

through



through the medium of the Company's commerce,
to discharge the Indian debt and other Indian
expences transferred to England, must either re-
main in India, useless as far as this particular and
urgent purpose is concerned, or those funds
must be returned to England in bullion.

India cannot be expected to furnish this bullion
from its own currency, as part of a regular and
general system of remittance ; because, as India
possesses no mines within itself, its currency can
only be replenished from without, to make good
its own peculiar drains, without adding a new
and constant drain for the supply of the funds
of the Company in London. Hitherto the In-
dian circulation has been supplied from the same
sources whence the currency of Europe has been
supplied. Whether those supplies have found
their way to India direct from South America,
or through Europe in the first instance, or in the
second from Europe and America through China.
Little indeed, comparatively speaking, can now
l>e expected direct from Spanish America, owing
to its own troubles, and to the disturbed state of

Old



Old Spain, which together have very much im-
peded the usual influx of bullion to Europe.
Still less can be expected through the United
States, as it has been stated by their Finance
Minister, since their declaration of war against
England, that no revenue whatever is calculated
from the import of goods from India and China :
and if no goods are to be imported, there will not
be sent from the United States to India or China,
any bullion for the purchase of return cargoes.

From this it seems to follow First; that
during hostilities between England and the
United States, no bullion finding its way, as
heretofore, thence to India and China, and the
disturbed state of Old Spain and its possessions
cutting off the like usual supply through Ma-
nilla, &c. it will be impossible for India to re-
mit bullion to England to meet the payment of
sums transferred from India to England.

And second That as, from the participation
of the outports in the present trade between India
and England, the funds of India cannot be in-
vested in commerce to meet the demands on

England,



England, the Company must be brought to a
stand ; not from the want of funds, but from
the absolute want of a remittance of those funds ;
and that at a season too, when, owing to the par-
ticular exigencies of the times, the Company
require every aid, to enable them to fulfill their
own engagements, and also to contribute to the
general welfare of the kingdom at large.

To whatever degree the China trade may be
affected, by the increased facilities for smuggling
tea, which conceding the import of Indian cargoes
to the Outports will cause, in the same degree will
the Company's sales in that most important, and
to them, in fact, staple article, be affected : so that,
what with the deficiency in the amount of sales,
together with the want of a remittance through
any other channel, the Company are exposed, not
to the possible only y but in fact to the probable
hazard, of being compelled in a short time to
cease their operations altogether.

It may be objected a that the concession supposed
in favour of the port of London will bring the
same difficulties on the Company, as are expected



from the supposed further concession to the Out-*
ports. But to this it may be replied, that by in-
creasing the number of ports for importation,
the quantity taken from the Company's imports
.will be increased in a greater degree than if the,
port of London only interfered ; and also, that by
confining the import to London only, no further
danger is to be apprehended on account of any
defalcation in the sales of tea, from smuggling t
which is not likely to be increased, if the Indian,
trade is not removed from the port of London.

In the discussion, however, which has been*
carried on respecting these important points, it
has l>een incidentally stated by His Majesty's
Ministers, that if matters should proceed to a-
crisis between them and the Company, means
may be devised for conducting the administration
of Indian affairs, without having recourse to the
Court of Directors as the organ of that adminis-,
tration. As this observation evidently involves
the assumption of the revenues of India by tha
Crown, a brief statement is now entered into, to,
shew what would be the pecuniary burthen

c brought



TO

brought upon the British public/ by transferring
from the Company to the Crown the territorial
possessions and revenues of India. ?'*

Without, however, going into any enquiry oA
the question of right to, or permanent interest in>
the soil or the revenues, comprehended in the
grants made to the Company previous to the yea?
i76'5, it may be presumed a perfectly intelligible
principle, that as Parliament has recognised the
Company's claim to an interest in, those grant**
sand to the subsequent acquisitions of territory
and revenue in India, Parliament cannot entertain
a proposition so obnoxious to every principle of
British justice, as to deprive the Company of the
benefit of those acquisitions, without remune-.
fating them, for the expences actually incurred
in obtaining the Indian territory and revenues*
Neither can it be supposed, that Parliament
would withhold from the Proprietors of East-India
Stock that farther remuneration, to whieh they
have been encouraged to consider themselve*
Entitled.

1 Parliament did,, in the Act 33d George III,
j-'- recognize



reognige th'e fclairii t>f the Proprietofs of East*
India Stock to at least 200 per cent, on theiij
capital, in the event bf the Public participating
in the then expected surplus proceeds from the*
Indian territorial revenues. I ri several subsequent
Acts, this principle has been admitted and con4
firmed. Now it may be presumed, if the admi-
nistration of the revenues of India should ^.be
taken from the Company, and as the necessary.;
and absolute consequence thereof, the prospect 9!
this reimbursement to the Proprietors should rbe
altogether destroyed, that the least remuneration)
which the Proprietors could claim, and the Jeas%
also that Parliament would grant, wheixitiscofi^
sidcrcd that to the Company is to be prindipall/i
ascribed th acquisition and maintenance of .the
Indian Possessions, would be the repayment of
the capital stock at 200 per centum;

If Parliament deprive the Company of their,
exclusive privileges as a trading corporation^ ane^
also deprive them of the Indian revenues^ it h*
|he same thing as closing the operations of the*
East-India .Company altogether.; ;And W t&i*

c 2 case



case it is clearly equitable, if the Parliament open'
the trade to the British public, and assume th*
Indian revenues, that the British public should
take also upon themselves all the debts, engage-
ments, and incumbrances, which the Company
have come under on account of the trade and
revenues of India.

These engagements (such as are of a pecuniary
nature only are now under consideration), may-
be briefly stated as follows, ^*

1st. In India. The whole interest of the In-
dian debt which the governments in India have
made payable in England, and to which the
Ministers of the Crown have assented : the :
annual amount of which is about ^1,500,000.

The Company are also bound to the payment
in England of pay on furlough and retirement,
to the officers of their Indian army ; and to the
payment of the demands on account of King's
troops serving in India, amounting together to*
about j50Q 3 QOO per ann., which charges would
be borne by the public in the event of the Indian
administration being transferred to the Crown*

c There*



There are further sums payable in. England
en account of India, for which the Company
have hitherto provided the necessary funds, and
which sums will continue to be required in Eng-
land, whether the administration of the Indian
revenues remains with the Company or should be
transferred to the Crown; these sums may be
taken at the annual amount of about ^400,000.

There is further to be provided for, the inte-
rest and sinking fund on the loan of ^2,500,000
from the public, amounting to ^242,820 per
ann., which must be paid, whatever becomes of
the Indian revenues, or by whomsoever they ^re
administered.

These sums together, therefore^ on account
of India, payable in England, amount annually
to about , . . , ........... ,2,650,000



3d. In England. What owing on securities
pf the Company's bonds and annuities and for
bills from India, say about <9,5OO',OOO, and tne
amount of the capital stock at 200 per cen-
Jum, as before stated,

,000,000



j 12,OOO,OOQ, making together an aggregate

ef * ....... . . . . . . . . . . . . .^S l,500,QOQ

r From which should be deducted,
the available assets in England, being r -, 7

^he goods in warehouse Unsold, and
the value of goods, after deducting - : ^ : -
charges* which may be expected tc*
arrive in England in the current *

year; together With the amount
remaining due from government for
annuities, which would not be pay-
able to the Company, in the case -
Supposed .... . * . < . c ' *> 1 0,5OO,00$

,11,000,000

This remaining sum, if funded on the most
reasonable terms, cannot be supposed to require*
a less interest than' <5 'per cent., Which would
constitute an additional annual charge in Eng-
land to the amount of 50,000 ; making with
the sum supposed annually payable in England

'. .i I . . . , ^ . . ;'^ ,;

on account of India, the aggregate of^S, 200,000,
as the charge "brought upon the public by the

presumed

f. >\ '. _ *



15

presumed change in Indian management ; with*
out including any charge for remuneration ta
uch of the Company's officers, owners of *hip%
tradesmen, &c. &c. as may materially suffer from
ihe loss of emolument in some instances, and
from the loss of employment altogether m
iptbersbr\

In return for this great annual charge, brought
Upon the British public by the transfer supposed,
that public would obtain in India, the revenue*
ivith all the Company's present property there,
together, with the cargoes afloat oix their voyagQ
thither ; a very small part of which can be turned
into available funds. And in England, the East*
India House, warehouses, and all other appurte*
nances, which are equally unavailable with
iimilar property in India. \

In the event of the supposed change taking
place, it may be considered, at least, doubtful;
whether the public would derive an amount of
clear annual revenue in Egland from the India and
China trade, equal to that which now flows
through the Eastrlndia Company into the King!*

Exchequer,



yf
16

Exchequer. But important as this considers*
tion is, when the present amount of that reve*
ue is contemplated, viz. more than > 4,OOO,OOO
per annum, there is another consideration con<-
nected with the subject, which is of importance,
by no means inferior to the question of revenue
consisting of duties of custom and excise and
which now requires to be noticed.
. The Company have no other means of pro-
viding for the large sum annually payable in
England, than by the sale of their investments
from India and China ; and it is clearly de*
monstrable, since the interest on the Indian
debt has become payable in. England, that the
amount of that interest so payable in England
not being demanded in India, should be applied^
in the first instance, to the provision of invest^
ment for the London market. This encreased
application of funds in India for the purchase of
investments, would necessarily induce, so long as
the sales of Indian produce in England do not
materially increase, a corresponding reduction itt
the value of exports hitherto furnished from

England



17

England for the purchase of investments in India.
The operation of these circumstances would, to-
gether with other changes flowing from this al-
teration in the course of affairs, enable the Compa-
ny to provide for all the demands brought upon
their home funds, by the interest on the Indian
debt and other Indian charges payable in England.

But if the trade is laid open to the public, and
the revenues be administered by the Crown, it
becomes a question of much moment, as to the
manner in which the King's Ministers are to
render the Indian revenues available in England,
for paying the annual sum of ^3,200,000 before
mentioned.

It is an unquestionable fact, that India has ab-
sorbed a very large portion of the bullion sup-
plied from the mines of the western world, probably
not much less than three millions sterling annu-
ally on an average of the last eight or nine years;
but although this is the fact, it by no means
follows, that India is capable of furnishing from
its circulation, any considerable part of this
annual importation, in payment of the demands

D transferred



1

transferred from India to England. Indeed,
when it is considered that this absorption of the
precious metals in the East has been going on
for a long course of years, it is most probable,
even under ordinary circumstances, that India
could not be expected to do more than to furnish
on a pressing emergency, two or three millions
sterling for the relief of the home Treasury.
But in the present situation of the Western
world, it is to be apprehended, so far from India
being able to afford bullion for the relief of
England, that India itself will suffer some dis-
tress and embarrassment, from the failure of
those annual supplies which have hitherto been
furnished, through the commerce of the Ignited
States, and from the remittances through Old
and New Spain, Portugal and foreign Europe.

It appearing then that India cannot transfer any
eonsiderable portion of its revenues to England,
by annual supplies of bullion, so as to meet
effectually the sums on account of India made
payable in England^ it would seem therefore to
follow, that the mode for completing this neces-



19

sary transfer in future years, must be the same
which has obtained in former years which
is through the medium of a regular and well
conducted commerce. But if the East-India
Company, according to the supposed case, are?
not to become the channel for this most impor-
fant commerce ; on whom, it may be fairly asked,
is this duty to devolve?

Is ittobe presumed that Parliament would sanc-
tion so novel and extraordinary a procedure, as to
allow the King's officers in India, advancing from
the public revenues there, funds to resident mer-
chants, or to the supra-cargoes of merchants
residing in England, for the purchase of goods
for the English markets? But were a measure
of this sort to be adopted, the sums so advanced
in India could only be returned into the King's
Exchequer, on the sales of those cargoes in En-
gland. And in this case, how many difficulties
must be overcome in India in the commencement
of the plan ; and how many more must be en-
countered in England to render such a plan
efficient here ! How many new offices must be
D 2 instituted



20

instituted both in India and in England; and
after all, where will be found the security for the
money advanced, and for its repayment in Eng-
land, so as to meet the charges for which those
sums are appropriated in India? Will the
Crown take the risk of the seas,- are its officers
to examine into the sea-worthiness of the ships
or to exercise any controul, or judgment, res-
pecting the loading or departure of the ships ?
Is the appropriation of the sums advanced in
India to be left altogether to the discretion of
the merchants or their supra-cargoes, applying
for those advances? And is this large annual
amount to be placed altogether beyond the reach
or management of the servants of the Crown in,
India ?

And again, in respect to management in Eng w
land the cargoes will be secured in bonded
warehouses. In the case of home consump-
tion, are the sales and deliveries to be left alto-
gether to the discretion of the importers ? And
in the case of exportation, how is the amount
Advanced on such cargoes, or parts of cargoes,

to



21

to be secured, and the advances returned ? Will
officers of the Crown be appointed to secure such
a sale value of the cargoes sold, as will be suffi-
cient to indemnify the Crown for the advances,
and also to prevent the deliveries of the goocjs
till such advances are repaid ?

It is clear, that if some efficient checks, controul
and regulations, are not established on all these
points, both in India and in England, there will
be no security whatever for the due return of the
sums advanced in India. And if such efficient
controul is effected, what is to become of that
liberty of trade, for which it appears so many
are anxiously seeking ?

It is indeed too probable, the trader, under
such circumstances, would find himself more
crippled in all his operations, than has been
stated by those, who have complained of the vex-
ations and difficulties, to which they have been
exposed under the Company's present regulations.

These are some of the difficulties which present
themselves, on a very cursory review of the con-
/sequences of that change, which is supposed tq

be



be meditated by thbSe who affc hostile to the
Company's wish, to keep the import trade of India
to the port of London alone. It is unnecessary
to state the actual uncertainty of any real increase
of the trade by the change supposed ; indeed,
some of the most strenuous advocates for the
participation of the Outsorts argue their right to
a share of the present trade, if it should be de-
monstrated that trade cannot be increased ift any
decree Whatever. It may be considered sufficient
to request that a due attention be paid to the
several points which have been very briefly stated.
Considering on the one hand the real advantages
of the present system, or of that to which the
Company have assented, viz. giving the Port
of London free import and export to all parts of
India, through the Company's several establish-
ments abroad and at home, together With a free
export to India from the Outports, and leaving the
private merchant to employ his own tbiiiiage and
to regulate the sailing of his own ships according
to his own discretion, arid taking irito account, bri '
the other hand, the airiest certain ruin of the

Company



23

Company and its various establishments, together
with the addition of a large annual sum to the
public taxes in England as before stated.

It is therefore hoped, these plain and cursory
hints will induce that serious reflection on the
whole of this momentous subject, as to cause a
patient reconsideration of all the points which
have been brought into discussion, that at length
the whole question may be finally settled, with
the full concurrence of His Majesty's Ministers,
the satisfaction of the just expectations of the
East-India Company, and to the real benefit of
the merchants and manufacturers and the British
public in general.

London, the 2~th March 1813.




1

Online LibraryEast India CompanyHints on the present state of the question between His Majesty's ministers and the Court of directors relative to the renewal of the East-India company's charter → online text (page 1 of 2)