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under any of the views of it which government seemed to have conthey respectively took, was interest- sidered deeply and impartially ; ed for reasons which we have al." and their decision to grant a reready stated.
newal of the charter to the East Nor was the qaestion less impor. India company, under certain retant when considered in its relation strictions, satisfied the moderate to government. It was evident and impartial part of the nation. that they had a difficult and deli Before we proceed to a brief cate part to act. On the one hand, statement and examination of the the manufacturing classes called general arguments for and against upon them to do them what they a renewal of the East India charconceived to be merely justice, in ter, (for our limits must necessarily opening for them a market for render it very brief,) we shall, in their commodities; and this call order to leave the main subject they conceived they were at this completely open to our view, conperiod more bound to obey, since sider one or two of the collateral all other markets were closed. Go- and subordinate points of discus. vernment also felt that they had a sion. In the first place, it was higher duty to per form, and that strenuously disputed, whether, if the views and arguments of those the trade were made free, it should who expected from them the civi. be extended to the most important lization, if not the conversion, of the out-ports in Great Britain and IreIndians deserved the most serious land, or only confined to the port of consideration. On the other hand, London. That this should be a there were motives, some perhaps subject of dispute, may seem not quite pure or patriotic, which , strange ; and many people will disposed government to incline to be at a loss to conceive by what the side of the East India com- argument the London merchants, pany; while they were on good who objected to the monopoly of terms with them, they might ex- the East India company, could depect their support in parliament, fend their own claim to monopoly, which was no trifling consideration: These arguments were indeed very but, setting aside this circumstance, futile, and display very clearly and government conceived it to be their lamentably the selfish views, as well duty to take care that, by throw as the confined information, of the ing open the trade suddenly and commercial world. In the first completely, they might not injure place they contended that, if the that very manufacturing and com- trade were opened to the out-ports, mercial interest which they were those ship-owners, and all other dedisposed to benefit; or that, by ad. scriptions of people in the metromitting all classes of people to our polis
, who had either embarked East Indian possessions, they might their capital in the service of the not render the condition of the East India company, or who denatives worse instead of better, or pended upon it for employment and perhaps prepare the means for support, would be greatly injured: the loss of our possessions there but even granting that this would altogether. The subject, thus de- be the case, (though by this we licate, extensive, and important, furnish ourselves with an answer to
the argument, that the trade, if ing the trade to the out-ports,
involved in disputes with the Chi- could not possibly derive an unfair nese government, nearly so fre- profit on this article, because, by quently nor so seriously as our sea- the express, terms of their charter, men had been ; and that the same they were obliged to put up all methods which had kept them free their teas to public sale, at a very from disputes, might, if adopted small advance (we believe on and strictly enforced, equaliy pre- most descriptionsoft eas of not more serve our men from disputes. The than one penny per pound) on the evidence given before the house of prime cost and expenses of that arcommons, however, on this point, ticle; hence, all advance above this uniformly tended to prove that the sum must depend upon the bidAmerican seamen were more steady ders; and, if it were great, should and regular, and better behaved be charged to the company. That than ours; and consequently that the Americans could not sell the no inference could be drawn from same description of tea so much the circumstance of their trading cheaper, as was alleged, than the peaceably with the Chinese without company sold it, was proved by the the means of an exclusive como unexceptionable evidence of many pany.-As we are on the subject of persons well acquainted with the the American trade with China, it tea trade in China, who gave testimay not be improper to advert to mony to the prime cost of these one supposed fact, on which the descriptions of tea in that country, advocates for an open trade there by which it appeared that it was were much disposed to rely. They below the price at which the Amecontended that the profits of the ricans sold it in the United States. East India company from this And they accounted for the circumtrade, and especially from the arti. stance very satisfactorily : all teas cle of tea, were very great ; much were first offered to the agents of greater than they ougat to be, or the East India. company, and such would be if the trade were thrown as were rejected by them were open; and in proof of this they then offered to, and generally stated, that a certain description of bought by, the Americans; so that, tea, which at the company's sales in fact, though the names and dewas generally sold for about 3s, 6d. scriptions of the teas sold in Ameper pound, (independently of duty,) rica and at the company's sales might always be purchased in might be the same, their qualities America for less than one shilling were very different. We have per pound. In reply to this it thought it right to enter into this was observed, that the Americans explanation, because the circumcertainly could afford to sell their stance of America having teas so East India commodities cheaper much cheaper than we have them, than we could, because their ships was considered as a strong reason were navigated at much less ex. for opening the Chinese trade. pense; but it was denied either After all, with respect to the trade, that the company had an unfair government were probably wise in profit on tea, or that the Americans not opening it at present, but waitcould sell the same description of ing till they saw all the effects of tea so much below its price at the laying open the East India trade. company's sales. The company Having thus considered these
two collateral and inferior points, ous to the company, to the merwe shall now proceed to the discus- chants and manufacturers, to the sion and examination of the grand nation at large, and to the inhabiand leading qnestion, Ought go- tants of the East Indies. These vernment to have thrown open the objections we shall state and ex. trade, or not? We have already amine more fully, in the order in adverted to thetrgument respecting which they are here given. monopoly; and it may be further In the first place, the destruction remarked that the principles of po- of the East India monopoly would litical æconomy, on which the ob- be injurious to the company. Rejections to monopolies of all kinds specting this, two things are to be are founded, are so fundamental and considered: whether it would be comprehensive, that the circum- really injurious, at least to the exstance must be very peculiar in- tent which it was contended it deed, which takes any particular would be ; and, if it would be injurimonopoly out of their view and ous, whether the consideration of operation. It must be acknowledg. this injury should influence the deed at the same time, that even cision of government in a paraAdam Smith, than whom no man mount or material degree. By the was less disposed to qualify or limit statements and accounts of the East the general principles of the impor- India company themselves, it aptant science which he has contri. pears that the monopoly trade has buted so largely and successfully to not been advantageous to them, illustrate, is disposed to be of opi- therefore it may be contended that nion that the East India monopoly they cannot have much reason for was allowable and beneficial. "But apprehension, if the trade were by this he could not mean that it opened. But we should be disposed should never terminate ; because, to go further, and to maintain that though at the first establishment of the probability is, that the throwing the trade it might be necessary, open the trade, by producing comand though, when once established, petition, would compel the Erzst it might produce such relations and India company to be more attentive consequences in the state of com to the management of their con. mercial society as would render its cerns, and thus remove one cause of continuance necessary, if not essen- their pecuniary embarrassmxnts; tial; yet the time must arrive, when for, as has been already observed, its destruction, like the destruction monopolies are seldom profitable to
other monopolies, would be the companies which possess them, adviseable. At that period, when both because the absence of compe, ever it arrived, it could be defended, tition renders them negligent, and not on the grounds on which it was because each individual is more originally established, but on die interested for himself than for the stinct and peculiar grounds : these company. But, granting that the were accordingly stated, in reply to East India company would be mathe general objection, on the score terially and permanently injured by of its being a monopoly ; and the throwing open the trade, surely the sum and object of them was, that consideration of this injury ought throwing open the trade, so far from not to weigh against the interests of proving
beneficial, would be injuri. the nation at large, or even against
She interests of any part of it who capture of Buenos Ayres reached could be benefited hy a trade from this country, when goods of all which they have hitherto been ex- descriptions were exported thither ; cluded. The sole question seems to and it was a matter of doubt, whebe, whether the public benefit, or ther the ignorance or the rashness the benefit accruing to any class of displayed on this occasion were the nation, by throwing open the more to be censured. The consetrade, would not be greater than the quences are well known: the first injury inflicted on the East India adventurers made large fortunes, company by this measure: and this adventured again and were ruined; naturally brings us to the second and this ruin extended to many who ground of objection to the opening at first were cautious, but whose of the trade, viz.
caution deserted them when they That it would immediately prove learnt the success of their more darhighly injurious to the British mer- ing brethren. If the infatuation, and chants and manufacturers, and that consequent ruin, were great in the even ultimately it would not be near- case of Buenos Ayres, how much ly so advantageous to them as they greater were they likely to be if anticipated and expected. The first the trade to the East Indies were part of this assertion rested on the opened! It became therefore the known character of our merchants duty of government (the enemies of and manufacturers ; on the peculiar a free trade exclaimed) to guard circumstances in which they were the merchants and manufacturers placed; and on what their con- from this ruin. 'On the other hand, duct had been on former occasions it was contended that merchants somewhat similar. Their known should be left at perfect freedom to character led them to speculate, too act as their own interests and ex.. often, with much more rashness perience may direct; since, “when and ignorance than judgement and a body of men pay for their folly, information; and this speculating all out of their own pockets, we disposition, at all times perhaps need not fear that it will be a folly characteristic of men in trade, had of very long duratior..” At the been much increased by the peculiar same time, it must be allowed that nature of the trade of these islands it would be a desirable thing to prefor some years; since by its fre. vent rash and ruinous speculation. quent embarrassments, and by its But then there is great danger of being sometimes very Aourishing, government, if it does interfere, not and at other times quite depressed, interfering with judgement or ima spirit of gambling and desperate partiality; and there is still greater speculation had seized upon a large danger from admitting the principortion of our merchants; and this ple and precedent, that government spirit was very likely to display it. have a right to interfere in regulatself in all its energy, at a time when ing and directing the trade of inditheir goods were so much accumu- viduals; so that, upon the whole, lated, and when their appetite for even allowing that government in speculation must have been keenly some cases might do good by its whetted by long abstinence. But interference ; yet as, in a much there was a case nearly in point: greater number of cases, it would Scarcely had the intelligence of the probably do mischief, and this mis