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market, for the poor return of a similar privilege in the country from whence they come?' Why have we not had courage to curb regret at seeing the fair portion of traffic which has arisen since the peace in other countries, and to leave it undisturbed to them ? and why have we sought possession of a portion of it at the enormous cost of equal admission here? If it be good for such a connexion to take place, it must be equally discreet for the beggar and the man of capital to divide their means together-for unincumbered youth to wrestle or to race with more
The whole of our British trade would surely equal in employment for shipping the half we now retain, and the meagre portion we receive from abroad, while the profits on the trade would not be unnaturally destroyed by a rivalry ruinous to the more expensive vessels. This principle of reciprocity tends universally to introduce equality in prices : the advantages of the older country are shared with its neighbour, while all its burdens remain its own. These are a few of the reasons, which I have briefly traced, for considering that it was better to have retained the supply of all British wants for British ships, and to have allowed the smaller traffic of other states to be ministered to where they desired it by their own.
I will now add a few remarks on your second principle—that for the shipping interest of this country it would be better if none of its requirements were produced at home; or, in other words, if Great Britain were a barren rock, dependent on winds and waves for every want, for every source of wealth. I trust it will never be necessary to show that the shipping interest of this country, an interest which must be dear to every British heart, requires the sacrifice of still more substantial sources of our strength--it has no such claims—it bears a due proportion to other branches of the state, and requires an equal care ; but beyond this relative importance it cannot be fairly advanced, nor should it sink below. Whatever, therefore, the benefits might be which commerce could derive by an act of direct aggression upon other interests of the state, it is what justice can never recommend, and what I trust the shipping interest of the country would neither require nor accept.
A greater connexion with our Indian possessions, it is considered by many, would be a great national good; bnt if arguments are advanced to promote that cause, as connected with a system of general trading, which is free to introduce the most extensive mischief from its extreme unfairness and inequality, even this more natural connexion with our own colonies will be looked upon by many as a similar evil, and will perhaps undeservedly meet with similar opposition. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
GEORGE WEBB HALL.
We insert in another column a letter which we have received from Mr. George Webb Hall, the Gloucestershire agriculturist, addressed to Mr. Buckingham, and contraverting the opinions expressed by that gentleman at Whithy in defence of Free Trade. In noticing Mr. Buckingham's lecture we designated his arguments as conclusive and unanswerable, and Mr. Hall's object is to show that the Lecturer and ourselves are alike mistaken. We cheerfully insert his letter, being friends to discussion, and we shall also insert any reply which Mr. Buckingham may
think proper to send, if indeed the pressure of that gentleman's engagements should permit him to give an answer. Lest, however, he should be too much occupied for this purpose, we shall take the liberty to make a few comments of our own on Mr. Hall's letter.
Without meaning any disrespect to Mr. Hall, whose talents and manly candour we gladly acknowledge, we must say that his letter appears to us to be filled with false, principles and untenable positions. He sets out with stating he means to impugn Mr. Buckingham's idea that a country which has the greatest number of its wants supplied from without is the most favourable to the shipping interest.' We are surprised that Mr. Hall should attempt to contravert this position ; first, because it seems to us to be a self-evident truth; and, second, because that truth in itself has no bearing whatever on the agricultural question. Can it be for a
Oriental Herald, Vol. 23.
moment questioned that that country (especially if an island) will need the greatest number of ships, which receives the most of its supplies from foreign parts ? or that that country will need the fewest ships, which raises every thing it consumes within itself? Mr. Buckingham did not assert that a country which required the greatest number of ships would be wealthiest or happiest ; but, in pointing out the especial absurdity of Mr. Sadler's attempt to enlist the ship-owners against Free Trade, he shewed that they, of all classes, were most interested in extending our foreign commerce, and in opposing the narrow doctrines which would teach us to eschew all dependence on foreigners for the supply of any of our wants. Mr. Hall has evidently understood Mr. Buckingham as contending that the country which had most of its wants supplied from abroad was the wealthiest and happiest, for this is the notion which he sets himself to confute ; but this was not Mr. Buckingham's meaning, and what he really said amounted to little more than a truism. We may here say, however, by the bye, that foreign commerce cannot be un. favourable to domestic industry, but just the reverse ; for a country which would buy from others must produce something wherewith to pay them, and precisely in proportion to the amount of foreign commodities she imports must be the amount of domestic products which she exports.
If we understand Mr. Hall aright-though we confess that we feel a dullness of apprehension with regard to parts of his letter-he means to contend that it would be for the interest of this country to discourage (if not absolutely to exclude) the vessels of all foreign countries in our ports, even though the certain consequence would be the exclusion of our vessels from their ports. Alas! poor Liverpool ! if Mr. Webb Hall's doctrine were acted upon, five-sixths of our trade would be destroyed, our ships dismantled, our docks and warehouses emptied, and the town itself well nigh depopulated. Mr. Hall is still more unlucky in the choice of his readers than Mr. Sadler in the choice of his audience. He may not perhaps be aware that the most important port of the trade of this town, both import and export, is carried on in foreign bottoms, and that if his principle had been acted upou, Liverpool could not have risen to half its present wealth and population, Yet we can assure Mr. Hall
, notwithstanding the appalling number of foreign vessels in our ports, that we have risen and thriven on the commerce of these very vessels : we can assure him that our Liverpool merchants do not transact all the business of the Americans for nothing : it is really true that we do not take the cotton of America, and send there our manufactured goods, out of mere complaisance, or free bounty: if the Americans buy of us, we make them pay: if we huy of them, it is for our own convenience : if we sell for them, we charge a good commission ; in short, we act sternly upon the principle of ' nothing for nothing,' and Mr. Hall may take our word for it that those English merchants who do all their business by means of American ships, have as good coats on their backs and as good houses over their heads, give as splendid dinners and shake as heavy purses, as the most old-fashioned ship owner of the port.
When Mr. WEBB HALL writes so complacently about resigning our foreign trade, does he reflect that the amount of that trade is between forty and fifty millions sterling, per annum, taking merely the amount of our exports ? Part of this, indeed, we might retain, even if we excluded all foreign vessels from our ports, and were ourselves excluded from all foreign ports : our own colonies—and preciously costly some of them are to us!)--would still remain ; but from North and South America, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and all Europe, we must be content to be shut out. This may be a joke in the eyes of Mr. Hall, but our merchants, manufacturers, aye, and ship-owners too, would look upon it with different feelings. For example, we send seven millions sterling of goods every year to Germany: suppose we were to exclude German ships from English ports, and English ships were in turn to be excluded from German ports, the trade would of course be annihilated-Germany would be supplied with the woollens, cottons, and hardware of France and Belgium, and half our manufacturing districts would be ruined. Is this what Mr. Hall would approve ?
He asks—s Is it desirable to give admission upon equal terms to every foreign fag, to admit them to a participation in such a market, for the poor return of a similar privilege in the country from whence they come ?” We think the wisdom of this inquiry may be illustrated by bringing the case home to Mr. Hall's“ business and bosom.” Suppose at Mr. Hall's annual sale of wool, a poor wool-stapler were to attend with the view of purchasing, and one of that gentleman's neighbours were to say to him—" Mr. Hall, is it desirable to give admission upon equal terms to every buyer, especially to that beggarly woolstapler,—to admit him to a participation in such a market as your wool sale, for the poor return of a similar privilege to you in his wool warehouse?” We apprehend Mr. Hall would quickly reply—“My worthy friend, he comes here to buy, and he shall not have a pound of my wool unless he pays for it; and if he pays, what care I whether he is rich or poor: as to going to his warehouse, if I want any of his goods I shall go there, but not otherwise. Rely upon it, I can lose nothing by such a customer, but the contrary, unless he pockets some of my silver spoons, which I will take care he does not.” If Mr. Hall were to treat his own customers as he would treat the customers of the nation, that is, were he to turn away from his door every buyer who was not as wealthy as himself, his attendance would be soon so exceedingly select, that he might shut up shop. And-still further to apply the figure-could Mr. Hall imagine any thing more stupidly perverse and preposterous, than that he should insist on having the cartage of all his wool to the doors of the buyers, and refuse to let any of them take away a single bag in their own cart or waggon? If this would be a likely way to invite customers, and to secure a great run of business, then are Mr. Hall's principles with regard to British and foreign shipping most wise and politic.
Of the same cast as the doctrine last noted, is Mr. Hall's observation respecting the impolicy of allowing other countries to share the benefits of our trade." The advantages of the older country are shared with its neighbour, while all its burdens remain its own.' Advantages! we thought (according to Mr. Hall's principles) there was nothing but disadvantage in trading with such a country as England; for whilst we shall not give a penny more for Virginia tobacco, or Smyrna figs, than the merchant of Amsterdam or Marseilles, whatever we send back in return for the figs and tobacco, is laden with its full share of our taxation. Such are the advantages we confer on those who trade with us! As to their sharing our burdens,' if they get paid for what they sell us, or if they buy from us so much as a Brummagem tea-pot, we defy them to do it without helping us to bear our burdens.
Mr. Hall is to the last degree inconsistent: he falls into error on both sides. We have seen just now that he grudges allowing any other nation a share of the • advantages of our commerce ; and anon he compares England to a decrepid and infirm old man ; whilst other countries are likened to ' unincumbered youth. Yet in the same paragraph he says of England, that her capital is great, and her internal industry and resources of the highest class !! We have only to set these contradictory views against each other, to show that he must be grossly in error. The fact is, however, that with all the weight of her taxation, England has more available wealth than any other country,-that she can manufacture not only better, but cheaper, than any of her competitors,—that it is, therefore, not only possible for her to trade on equal terms with other countries, but most eminently her interest to cultivate foreign commerce to the greatest possible extent,--that she thereby adds to her wealth, and makes every nation that deals with her contribute to bear hér búrdens,--and that of all the perverse and mad steps that ever government took, the worst would be to cut off our commerce with the nations with whom we now deal both profitably and fairly, and to confine us to the trade of our own troublesome, burdensome, and expensive colonies.
The London papers contain a correspondence between certain officers of the East India Company's army in Bengal and the governing powers at Calcutta, which illustrates very strikingly the precarious tenure by which the British possessions in India are held, and the danger which there is in continuing the present system. No one can read this correspondence without perceiving that the British authority hangs by a single thread, which may be cut at any time, and which is almost as likely to be cut by those who are hired and paid to protect the Com
pany, as by the professed enemies of the British power. The strongest feelings of discontent evidently exist in the army in India, and it will require great prudence, united with great firmness, to prevent an explosion, which, if it should take place, must inevitably be fatal to the English authority, as the East India Company, having founded their empire on force alone, have not a single resource left if the army should declare against them. The discontent which at present exists has arisen out of an attempt which the government has made to reduce certain allowances of the Bengal army, or, as it is called in the correspondence, to place the army on half batta. These regulations principally affect the officers, and the remonstrances come from them. The officers of the artillery declare that they are' wholly unable to bear quietly a permanent reduction from that which was before hardly adequate to a decent maintenance ;' those of the cavalry, that they cannot submit silently? to the operation of the order; and the infantry announce to the government, that if it is persevered in, the cheerfulness and promptitude heretofore evinced by them in the discharge of their duty, will give place to feelings of 'dissatisfaction and despondency: The medical officers also remonstrate with equal firmness. This language is, however, nothing in comparison to that which is used in private letters, and by officers of rank. A letter will be found in another column of our paper, addressed to the Editor of the Globe, in which the writer states plainly that the government cannot keep the people, especially the Mohammedans, in subjection without the army, and intimates, that unless redress is given, the country will be in open rebellion' very shortly.
We are not able to decide without a much greater amount of information than we at present possess, whether the reduction proposed by the East India Company is reasonable or not. We suspect, however, that it will be impossible to enforce it, against the sentiments of the army; for if it should refuse to submit to the regulation, who will possess either the courage or the power to enforce obedience ?
This correspondence is highly important, inasmuch as it shows how hollow and dangerous the system is which has been established, and which is still maintained, by the East India Company, Every thing depends on the obedience of an army, nine-tenths of which is only held in subjection by a body of European officers, who are themselves placed beyond the reach and influence of public opinion, and strongly bound together by an esprit de corps. If these officers are once disgusted, every thing is lost. The common soldiers, who have not forgot the massacre of Barrackpoor, would easily yield to temptation, and the people are too heavily taxed, and have been too recently subdued, to feel attachment to the government. There is no European population, influenced by early attachments, or by European ideas of honour, loyalty, or patriotism, to act as a check on the discontented. The government is essentially one of force, and not of opinion. It has no resource except in the bayonels and sabres of the army, and if those are once turned against it, it is at an end.
The tranquillity which has been enjoyed in countries in which large standing armies have existed, and the strict subordination which it has been found possible to preserve, have done much to remove the prejudice which at first existed against them, and they are now complained of more on the grounds of expense than of constitutional principle. But the army of the East India Company is very differently composed from the standing armies of Europe. The men by whom its ranks are filled, that is, the privates, are destitute of all those feelings of patriotism and loyalty by which the soldiers of Europe are more or less actuated ; and their national and religious feelings are decidedly against us. As for public opinion, the East India Company have taken care that there should be no such thing in their dominions. Whatever may be the result of the present differences between the East India Company and their army, it must be evident to all, that there is no slight danger of our Oriental Empire being lost almost as suddenly as it was gained. This is a danger to which it is impossible to apply any immediate remedy ; but the course which common sense obviously suggests, is, to permit the establishment of an European population in India, actuated by English feelings and opinions, and bound to this country by early associations, and by the ties of blood, friendship,
and of interest. The moral influence of such a population would do much to secure the permanence of the British Empire in the East, which, under the present system, is liable to be overthrown by the first ebullition of military discontent that may break forth. [From The Liverpool Times,' Oct. 27.]
The East INDIA COMPANY'S CHARTER, AND THE TRADE TO
INDIA AND CHIxa.
From The Staffordshire Mercury,' Oct. 24. What is the East India Company's Charter ? What is the nature of its operation? Who does that Charter benefit, and who does it injure? Who are concerned with these questions? What is to be done in the matter?
The Company's Charter is a law, giving to a certain body of men the almost ex. clusive privilege of carrying on trade between Britain and India. The operation of this Charter is, that it excludes private traders, it prevents the natural increase of commerce, and it keeps the prices of all articles brought by the Company from the East far above what they would otherwise be. The persons benefited by the Charter, are those, and those only, who are immediately connected with the Company, and derive gain from such connection : all other persons, without exception, are more or less injured by the Charter. It follows, therefore, that every one who is not actually deriving a positive profit from the exclusive privileges of the Company, is concerned with the preceding questions, and must, if he consult his own interest, carefully examine the subjects they involve, and then he will see that he is injured by the Charter, and find out what he is able to do, and what he ought to do, towards preventing its renewal.
The history of the Charter is briefly this. In 1599, Queen Elizabeth granted a company of merchants a Charter to trade to India ; and in order to do so, those persons subscribed the sum of_30,0001., as a capital, in 101 shares, varying in amount from 1001. to 30001. From this period to the death of Charles I., the trade and authority of the Company were marked by much vicissitude and uncertainty, and at the troubled time of that monarch’s execution. the Company, and its trade to India, had become almost extinct, or perhaps existed only in name. Charles II. annoyed the Company, when a little revived, by selling licenses to private merchants to trade to India. And soon after this, a Charter was granted by Parliament to a new Company, on condition of its advancing to Government the sum of 2,000,0001. at eight per cent. The old and new Companies harassed and injured each other exceedingly for a time, but in 1702 they effected a union. This joint Company lent Government 1,200,0001. free of interest, in order to bring the former and latter loans, put together, to five per cent. interest. In consideration of this act of the Company, Parliament granted an extension of its Charter, and conferred on it the title of The United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies.'
The Charter thus granted in 1708, was from time to time prolonged, till 1730, when it was renewed for thirty-three years, on condition that the Company should lend to the Government as much more money, without interest, as would reduce the interest of the whole debt to three per cent. From that time to the present, the Charter has been continued, by repeated renewals, with some alterations. The present Charter extends to 1834, when it will expire, and the trade to India be open to all, if the Government give the Company at least three years notice that the Charter will not be again renewed.
But as the Company is powerful and influential, is deeply interested in a renewal of its Charter, and has such connections with government, as enable it to put in motion an immense influence in its favour, it is next to certain, that the necessary notice will not be given, and, consequently, the Charter will be renewed, unless a counteracting power, sufficient to overcome that of the Company, be opposed. This shows at once what ought to be done by every man who is not gaining by the