Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

At present .....

437,047 to be an improvement to the Less payable annually for in

amount of ..

...... 1,412,249 terest

80,778 Having thus explained the several stateAssetS IN India. Cash,

ments relative to revenues and charges, Goods, Debts, &c. at the seve

the debts and assets of the British settle. ral settlements, stated in last

ments in India, together with those which year's account at ............ 8,733,796 respect the trade in general of the East Per No. 21 of the present

India Company, I think it right, as having statements

8,807,600 recommended to parliament, in 1793,

the arrangement entered into between Increase 2.73,804 the public and the Company, to state

how far the accounts now before the Adding this to the decrease of

committee differ from the estimates Debts, the Company's affairs

on which my calculations were founded. appear better in these res

In those estimates the revenues of India pects by .....

625,747 | were computed to yield annually a cerHOME ACCOUNTS. Sales of

tain sum towards the provision of investGoods, 1794. - The estimate

ment, which, with an estimated amount for last year was

5,364,358 of exports from home, and bills drawn Actual amount

5,521,858 from India and China, should be suffiActual amount exceeding the

cient to provide a quantity of goods, estimate

157,500 from the sale amount of which, with Charges and Profit on private

other receipts, those bills should be disTrade estimated .....

70,000 charged, exports provided, and all other Actual amount

62,459 annual expenses defrayed: and a surplus

remain, out of which 500,0001. was to be Less than estimate £. 7,541 appropriated to the payment of the debt

transferred from India, and 500,0001. to The Debts at home, including

government. But previous to this arthe Debt transferred from In

rangement being made, or before the dia, amounted in March 1794,

orders could arrive in India to stop the

7,006,500 drawing of bills on that account, a large In March 1795, to ..... 6,946,323 amount of debt had been transferred

from India, of which upwards of a million Decrease

8.60,177 sterling became due in the first year, and

933,0951. in the last. The payment of Assets at home and afloat, ist

these large sums, and other circumof March last, is stated at ... 10,413,354 stances, have, for the present, deranged The same articles valued last

the order of that appropriation. In my year, at ........................... 9,888,836 | general observations on the estimates, The value of these articles is

laid before this House in 1793, I remark, therefore more by

524,518 ed that the annual surplus revenues of Adding decrease of Debts to

the British provinces in India, appliincrease of Assets, the Com

cable to the provision of investment or pany's affairs appear better at

liquidation of debts, would exceed the home by

584,695 amount on which the resolutions, in this The balance at China and St.

respect, submitted at that time to the Helena was, in last year's

committee, were founded. The accounts accounts, in favour of the

laid before the House in the last and preCompany ....

... 1,080,881 sent year have corroborated the truth of By the last accounts stated 979,152 those remarks. A comparison between

the particulars in the accounts from India Balance less at present ......... 101,729 for the year 1792-3, and the estimate of The General Result of the

1793, I stated to the committee last year ; comparison between the state

and for the year 1793-4, the surplus, of the Company's affairs, with

applicable to the purchase of investment respect of Debts and Assets,

or other purposes, was 617,2691. In the as exhibited by the accounts

estimate for 1794-5. as extraordinary laid before this House in the

charges are supposed to be incurred on last and present year, appears

account of the war, and the receipts from

to

an

the sale of imports, and from certificates, I have already observed, that upwards of are stated to be less than in the last year, a million of the debts, or 1,008,6371. the surplus to be applied to the provision transferred from India became due in of investment, payment of commercial 1793-4, and 933,0951. in 1794-5. By charges, &c. is computed at only the regulations of the act of 1793, 1,811,3661. At home the sale amount of 500,0001. of these debts were to be paid the goods waz 533,5587. more than was annually ; excess, therefore, of computed in 1793. The charges and 941,7321. became due in those two years. profit on private trade were less, although This amount, by the engagements under the amount of goods sold on that account which the bills were drawn, the company was larger than it had been before, owing were bound to discharge ; but the liquito the reduction in the duties payable to dation of so large an amount of debt, the the Company. The total of the charges delay which took place in 1793 in the of customs and freight paid in the last payments made by the purchasers of year is 995,683 more than the estimate goods sold in that year, and the increase of 1793 ; above half of which arises from of expenses in freight, &c. have prevented the quantity of tea which the Company the receipts from keeping pace with the found it expedient to purchase on the demands: it was therefore only by allowcontinent, and the greater amount paid ing the bond debt to continue at a higher for goods and stores exported. The In- amount than was originally intended, that crease of 24 per cent. to the dividend on all the payments, including the one the capital stock, is also included among to government, were made in the first the charges of the last year, which, by year; and if any farther large demand the former computation, was to be de- had been made in the last year, it frayed from the estimated surplus. The could have been complied with, only by increase of assets belonging to the com- issuing an additional number of bonds. pany in the valuation of the goods in To meet any urgent necessity of this warehouse, and of exports afloat outwards, kind, I last year brought in a bill to above their amount in March 1794, is enable them to extend the amount of equivalent to the extra sum paid for tea, their bonds in circulation to the extent of and the larger amount expended for ex- three millions; but as the interest of ports in the year; if, therefore, an allow-money in the public funds had increased, ance be made for these sums and the in- in consequence of the war, the premium crease of dividend, the surplus of the last on the Company's bonds had decreased, year, in this point of view, will appear and if a large additional quantity had as large, or more than was computed in been brought to market, the Company the average estimate in 1793.

might have been obliged to issue them Under these circumstances it may be at a discount, or to have raised the asked, Why have not the Company been interest on the whole of their bond called upon to pay the 500,0001. in the debt, either of which must have occalast year to the public? Without enter- sioned a considerable loss. ing into a discussion of the question, The prospect, also, of their expenses how far they are liable to be called upon increasing in the present year, affords for that payment (which the Company, another reason for not making so consiconsidering this arrangement on the prin- derable a demand in the last. By the egciples of an annual cash account, may be timate, it appears that the ordinary redisposed to dispute), a slight view of the ceipts of the Company in this year, and state of their affairs since the commence- the cash in the treasury, will probably ment of that arrangement, will show the not be adequate, by a sum of 371,8381., propriety of not making the demand. to defray their expenses, and pay the The present and future participation of amount of debt transferred from India bethe public must depend on their surplus coming due. The million sterling in bonds, revenues abroad, and the profits on their which, by the act of the last session, they commercial transactions; it would there are empowered to issue, will enable them fore be short-sighted policy to enforce a to provide for such exigency, if it should demand for present convenience to go

The payments in the present year vernment, which might occasion imme-being estimated to exceed the receipts, diate embarrassment to the Company, and do not give a favourable idea of the state greatly retard the future operation of of the Company's trade; but it must be some essential parts of that arrangement. considered that a part of those payments [VOL. XXXII. ]

[G]

occur.

is for debts already incurred. The l trade so detrimental to the interests of charges of freight, &c. are also greatly this empire, and to make London, as increased in consequence of the war; so much as possible, the emporium of Euthat, including some arrears, the expenses rope for East India goods, was the prinunder this head are estimated at no less cipal object of several of the regulations than 900,0001. more than was computed in the act of 1793 ; and it is with the in 1793 for a year of peace.

Part of this same view that I lately moved for leave is undoubtedly owing to the larger quan- to introduce a bill for allowing the imtity of goods provided for sale; but the portation of goods from India, in ships principal cause is the increase of price in built in that country. The propriety of the various articles employed in shipping. that measure I shall not now discuss: I As the expense of carrying on the trade mention it merely to show the conviction to and from India is so materially en- 1 feel of the necessity of keeping up the hanced, it may probably be inferred, that trade from the East Indies to this country it would be more profitable for the Com- to its full extent; though, in doing so, pany to lessen their trade, and employ we find it necessary to have recourse to the surplus in India to the payment of new and extraordinary means for obtainthe debts bearing interest. Taken merely ing an adequate supply of goods, and in a mercantile point of view, this though the expenses attending the immay be the fact. But it should be portation may be such as to leave little considered, that in India the Company or no prospect of gain. are sovereigns as well as merchants; that These disadvantages, the committee the regular collection of the revenues must perceive, are only temporary ; must depend upon the prosperity of the whereas the advantages attending an escountry, and this must, also, in some tablished, extensive, and increasing trade, degree, depend upon the state of the ma- joined to the improving state of the renufactures which are supported by the venues, promise to be lasting. If the trade to Europe. Either, therefore, a sales of East India goods in Leadenhalldiminution of the revenues must take street, during the last year, a time of war, place, in consequence of a stagnation of and when no inconsiderable part of the the manufactures, or the trade from markets of Europe were shut against their thence be diverted into other channels. introduction from Great Britain, were Of an opportunity of this nature, the yet greater than they have ever been bo neutral nations would, undoubtedly, take fore, it is but reasonable to expect, that, every advantage, and endeavour to esta. on the return of peace, when those marblish a lasting trade, on the temporary kets shall be open, the demands at the dereliction of it by the Company. In a Company's sales will still increase, and general point of view, we can have no Great Britain become, what the extent objection to all nations trading with the of her dominions in India, the enterpris British provinces in India. As sove ing spirit of her merchants, and the unri reigns, we wish their prosperity to be valled capitals they possess, entitle her to augmented by every possible means: and be,--the grand emporium of Europe for therefore, so far as foreign trade conduces the goods, wares, and merchandize of the to that end, we are ready to encourage | East. This prospect of the future exit; but we must be watchful to prevent tension of the Company's trade at home every species of factitious increase of fo- derives an additional degree of probabireign trade, where the means of carrying lity from the actual state of their affairs it on are drawn from the vitals of the pro- abroad. The failure of other companies vinces themselves. Whilst foreigners in Europe has left the English East India trade on their own capitals, the articles Company without a rival in the China they purchase must be obtained by others, market; and in India the British posseswhich will benefit the country by the ex- sions enjoy an unexampled degree of proschange, without injury to the state most perity; the population of them increases, connected with it in Europe; but when the inhabitants become wealthy, and the the capital for conducting that trade is

to government is augmented. furnished from the fortunes of individuals, The charges, it is true, are at present acquired by employments held in those higher than they would have been in settlements, it operates as a direct drain time of peace; but the war has produced from that country, to the collateral injury, so little effect in India, as scarcely to reof Great Britain. The prevention of a tard the plans for the reduction of intc

revenue

[ocr errors]

rest on the public debts, and other ar- | While the country was in an unsettled rangements for the improvement of the state, it was natural that artifices of this Company's finances. The capture of the nature should be resorted to, in hopes enemy's possessions on the continent of that a change of system might take place, India, and the armament fitted out for in which the old demands might be forthe protection of the trade in those seas, gotten, and new ones satisfied with the have occasioned some considerable addi- sums so reserved. Such was the situation of expense: but those captures have tion of the inhabitants of that country, added to our revenues, as has also the under the native or Mahomedan domidepriving the French of their share of the nion; and, for want of an established trade in salt and opium.

system, the Company's government but It is, however, on the mild and efficient too much resembled it. By inflexibly system of government already established, persevering in the system which has now or in a state of improvement throughout been fixed, we may hope in time to erathe British settlements in India, that I dicate those prejudices, and introduce a chiefly rely for the increasing prosperity more generous mode of proceeding, with of our affairs in that country. When the respect to receipts and payments. The natives see a system of law and justice large sum collected in the last year, established, which affords equal protec- shows, that this effect has, in a great detion to the rich and to the poor, and the gree, already been produced in Bengal; tenure by which they hold their property and, in consequence of the increasing rendered permanent, instead of precarious, confidence in the stability and good faith they must feel a deep interest in the sta of the British government, the population bility of the British government, and the of these provinces has increased by the wealth, population, and general prosperity influx of inhabitants from the adjoining of the country must rapidly advance. states, to enjoy the advantages of living Such has already been the effect in the under its protection. While, on the one Bengal provinces of those systems for hand, this circumstance evinces the flousettling the land revenues, and ad- rishing state of our possessions, it, on the ministering justice, which I last year other, adds to the Company's receipts by explained to have been established. The the increased consumption of salt, from collections in 1793-4 exceeded the amount which a revenue of upwards of a million of any preceding year; for, not only a per annum has been collected in the last sum equal to the annual rent was paid, two years. In the last of those years

the but also a part of former arrears. The amount was nearly 300,0001. more, and arrears, however, still owing by the land- the large sum thús realized is stated to holders, and included in the assets, amount havearisen not from an enhanced price, but to a considerable sum. To a certain de- from an increased consumption. gree this must always be the case in ac- With respect to Madras, it has not yet counts of such a magnitude made up to a been possible to establish a system of such particular day; but the sums stated as regularity in the administration of the owing by them in the present account,

The introduction of similar reare augmented by the first effect of those gulations to those which have been regulations, from which the greatest be- adopted at Bengal must be a work of nefits to the country have since arisen. time. Innovations, however beneficial, In general, men hesitate at alterations in must be made progressively; as it is only an established system, whatever benefits by degrees that the natives can undermay be promised by the change: but in stand how much their own good will be India, where the prejudices of the natives promoted by any alterations. But as the are blended with their existence, and permanent security of property is the where established custom has the force most certain means of increasing the poof law, no arguments would avail to in- pulation and prosperity of a country, I spire them with confidence in so conside-doubt not but such regulations founded rable a variation in the tenure of their on justice and sound policy, will be es. landed property. Therefore, although tablished, as will render the state of this the settlement was moderate, yet it had settlement nearly, if not equally flourishthe effect of lessening the collections at ing with that of Bengal. By the late first, from the prevailing aversion of the treaty with the nabob of Arcot, the triinhabitants to prompt payment, and their butes of several of the southern Polygars, propensity to seize every pretext of delay. who had resisted the various demands made upon them, are to be collected im- | newly acquired provinces is finally settled mediately by the Company. The amount and the arrangements with the native in the first year, has fallen short of the princes, completed, a respectable military stipulated sum; but when they find their force must be kept in readiness, which in. contributions equitably fixed, and the de- creases the expenses in that department. mands made on them not regulated by The charges of collecting the revenues of our necessities, but conformable to their the ceded countries will undoubtedly enagreements, I have no doubt but they gage the attention of the government, as will see it their interest to make their in the last year they amounted to above payments with greater regularity. The half the receipts ; but on this the supravidrought, which prevailed some time ago sor observes, that the expenses of that in the northern circars, has occasioned a year are not to be looked upon as a predeficiency of revenue from that quarter cedent for future years. In other respects, in the last two or three years; but as the the affairs of this presidency bear a very country is recovering from the effects of favourable aspect; the whole of the bond that calamity, it will become more pro- debt which bore 94 per cent. interest, ductive. The circars are also capable of and has been for many years a heavy drain being considerably improved, by the on Bengal, had been, by the advices dated adoption of proper measures for ame. in January last, paid off by notes bearing liorating the administration of justice, a less interest; and the 8 per cent. proand regulating the revenue system in missory notes, in like manner were exthese districts. The countries ceded by pected to be discharged in a very short Tippoo Sultan produced a larger revenue time; after which the debt will bear an in the last year than was collected from , interest of six per cent. only. But as no them in the one preceding; and the account was inclosed in this dispatch of nabob of Arcot and rajah of Tanjore now the amount of debts, I have been obliged pay their subsidies with punctuality. On to refer to the debts as they stood on the the whole, as I have already observed, 31st October 1793, when half the debt the revenues of this presidency appear to bearing interest was at 94 per cent. In be equal to its ordinary expenses in time respect, therefore, to the amount of the of peace; and when the improvements I debt owing at this presidency, and the have suggested shall be carried into effect. annual interest thereon, the next statea surplus may probably be obtained, to. ments must be considerably better than wards the provision of the profitable in- those now before the committee. vestment of coast goods.

revenue.

From these remarks on the general The late account from Bombay show state of the revenues and charges of that the revenues of that presidency, and the British settlements in India, it apof the districts on the Malabar coast, are pears that, notwithstanding the extra exin a progressive state of increase. In the penses which the present war occasions, last year, the receipts amounted to the result is more favourable than was 312,36Hl. ; and for 1794-5 they are esti- computed in the average estimate, on mated at 354,8831. This latter sum is which my calculations were founded in 85,7421. less than the amount estimated making the late arrangement between the in the arrangement between the public public and the Company ; and that there and the Company in 1793 ; but a farther is every prospect of our affairs in that increase is certainly probable, as the country continuing in their present flouceded countries will, in the course of ano- rishing state. In concluding these obserther year, be more recovered from the vations on the prosperous state of the reeffects of the late war. Hitherto the re- venues of the British provinces in India, I venues of those districts have fallen far am naturally led to the claims of the short of the amount at which they were brave officers of the Company's army, estimated in the treaty with Tippoo Sul. whose services have so much contributed tan; but the progressive increase has to the extension and security of those been rapid, as in 1792-3, the amount col- possessions. When the Company acted lected was 44,140l. ; in 1793-4 122,386l.; merely as a commercial body, their forces and for 1794-5 the estimated amount is consisted only of a few guards stationed 197,6801. The charges of this presidency at their factories or seats of trade. With I have already mentioned to be far higher the accession of territory, a larger num. than was computed for a peace establish ber of forces became requisite for its dement; but until the government of the fence; and now, when the British power

« ZurückWeiter »