Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. IV. - The History of British India, vol. 1
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CHAP. IV. - James Mill, The History of British India, vol. 1 
The History of British India in 6 vols. (3rd edition) (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1826). Vol. 1.
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From the Coalition between the Company and the Merchant Adventurers, till the Project for a new and a rival East India Company.
After the decision of the Council of State in favour book i.Chap. 4. 1658. of the joint-stock scheme of trading to India, the Company and the Merchant Adventurers effected a coalition. On the strength of this union a new subscription, in 1657–58, was opened, and filled up to the amount of 786,000l.1 Whether the expected charter had been actually received is not ascertained.
The first operation of the new body of subscribers was the very necessary one of forming an adjustment with the owners of the preceding funds. A negotiation was opened for obtaining the transfer of the factories, establishments, and privileges in India. After the lofty terms in which the Directors had always spoken of these privileges and possessions, when placing them in the list of reasons for opposing an open trade, we are apt to be surprised at the smallness of the sum which, after all, and “though situated in the dominions of fourteen different sovereigns,” they were found to be worth. They were made over in full right for 20,000l., to be paid in two instalments. The ships, merchandise in store, and other trading commodities of the preceding adventurers, were taken by the new subscribers at a price; and it was agreed that the sharers in the former trade, who on that account had property in the Indies, should book i.Chap. 4. 1659. not traffic on a separate fund, but, after a specified term, should carry the amount of such property to the account of the new stock.1 There was, in this manner, only one stock now in the hands of the Directors, and they had one distinct interest to pursue: a prodigious improvement on the preceding confusion and embarrassment, when several stocks were managed, and as many contending interests pursued at once.
Some new regulations were adopted for the conduct of affairs. The whole of the factories and presidencies were rendered subordinate to the President and Council at Surat. The presidencies, however, at Fort St. George and at Bantam were continued; the factories and agencies on the Coromandel coast and in Bengal being made dependent on the former, and those in the southern islands on the latter.2
As heavy complaints had been made of trade carried on, for their own account, by the agents and servants of the Company, who not only acted as the rivals, but neglected and betrayed the interests, of their masters, it was prohibited, and, in compensation, additional salaries allowed.3
After these preliminary proceedings, the first fleet was dispatched. It consisted of five ships; one for Madras carrying 15,500l. in bullion; one for Bengal; and three for Surat, Persia, and Bantam.4 The following year, that is the season 1658–59, one ship was consigned to Surat, one to Fort St. George, and two to Bantam. The latter were directed to touch at Fort St. George to obtain coast clothes for the islands, and to return to Bengal and Fort St. George to take in Bengal and Coromandel goods for Europe. Instructions were given to make great efforts for recovering book i.Chap. 4. 1661. a share of the spice trade.1 Bantam, however, was at this time blockaded by the Dutch, and no accounts were this year received of the traffic in the southern islands.2
The operations of the new joint-stock were not more prosperous than those of the old. Transactions at the several factories were feeble and unsuccessful. For two years, 1659–60, and 1660–61, there is no account of the Company's equipments; and their advances to India were no doubt small.3 “The embarrassed state of the Company's funds at this particular period,” says Mr. Bruce, “may be inferred from the resolutions they had taken to relinquish many of their out-stations, and to limit their trade in the Peninsula of India to the presidencies of Surat and Fort St. George, and their subordinate factories.”4
Meanwhile Cromwell had died, and Charles II. ascended the throne. Amid the arrangements which took place between England and the continental powers, the Company were careful to press on the attention of government a list of grievances, which they represented themselves as still enduring at the hands of the Dutch; and an order was obtained, empowering them to take possession of the island of Polaroon. They afterwards complained that it was delivered to them in such a state of prepared desolation, book i.Chap. 4. 1661. as to be of no value.1 The truth is, it was of little value at best.
On every change in the government of the country, it had been an important object with the Company to obtain a confirmation of their exclusive privileges. The usual policy was not neglected, on the accession of Charles II.; and a petition was presented to him for a renewal of the East India charter. As there appears not to have been, at that time, any body of opponents to make interest or importunity for a contrary measure, it was far easier to grant without inquiry, than to inquire and refuse; and Charles and his ministers had a predilection for easy rules of government. A charter, bearing date the 3d of April, 1661, was accordingly granted, confirming the ancient privileges of the Company, and vesting in them authority to make peace and war with any prince or people, not being Christians; and to seize unlicensed persons within their limits, and send them to England.2 The two last were important privileges; and with the right of administering justice, consigned almost all the powers of government to the discretion of the Directors and their servants.
It appears not that, on this occasion, the expedient of a new subscription for obtaining a capital was attempted. A new adjustment with regard to the privileges and dead stock in India would have been required. The joint-stock was not as yet a definite and invariable sum, placed beyond the power of resumption, at the disposal of the Company, the shares only transferable by purchase and sale in the market. The capital was variable and fluctuating; formed by the sums which, on the occasion of each voyage, the individuals, who were free of the Company, chose to book i.Chap. 4. 1662–67. pay into the hands of the Directors, receiving credit for the amount in the Company's books, and proportional dividends on the profits of the voyage. Of this stock 500l. entitled a proprietor to a vote in the general courts; and the shares were transferable, even to such as were not free of the Company, upon paying 5l. for admission.1
Of the amount either of the shipping or stock of the first voyage upon the renewed charter we have no account; but the instructions sent to India prescribed a reduction of the circle of trade. In the following year 1662–63, two ships sailed for Surat, with a cargo in goods and bullion, amounting to 65,000l., of which it would appear that 28,300l. was consigned to Fort St. George. Next season there is no account of equipments. In 1664–65, two ships were sent out with the very limited value of 16,000l. The following season the same number only of ships was equipped; and the value in money and goods consigned to Surat was 20,600l.; whether any thing in addition was afforded to Fort St. George does not appear; there was no consignment to Bantam. In 1666–67, the equipment seems to have consisted but of one vessel. consigned to Surat with a value of 16,000l.2
With these inadequate means, the operations of the Company in India were by necessity languid and humble. At Surat the out-factories and agencies were suppressed. Instructions were given to sell the English goods, at low rates, for the purpose of ruining the interlopers. The Dutch, however, revenged the private traders; and by the competition of their powerful book i.Chap. 4. 1662–67. capital, rendered the Company's business difficult and unprofitable.1 On the Coromandel coast the wars among the native chiefs, and the overbearing influence of the Dutch, cramped and threatened to extinguish the trade of the English. And at Bantam, where the Dutch power was most sensibly felt, the feeble resources of their rivals hardly sufficed to keep their business alive.2
During these years of weakness and obscurity, several events occurred which by their consequences proved to be of considerable importance. The island of Bombay was ceded to the king of England as part of the dowry of the Infanta Catharine; and a fleet of five men of war commanded by the Earl of Marlborough, with 500 troops commanded by Sir Abraham Shipman, were sent to receive the possession. The armament arrived at Bombay on the 18th September, 1662; but the governor evaded the cession. The English understood the treaty to include Salsette and the other dependencies of Bombay. As it was not precise in its terms, the Portuguese denied that it referred to any thing more than the island of Bombay. Even Bombay they refused to give up, till further instructions, on the pretext that the letters or patent of the King did not accord with the usages of Portugal. The commander of the armament applied in this emergency to the Company's President to make arrangements for receiving the troops and ships at Surat, as the men were dying by long confinement on board. But that magistrate represented the danger of incurring the suspicion of the Mogul government, which would produce the seizure of the Company's investment, and the expulsion of their servants from the country. In these circumstances the Earl of Marlborough took his resolution of returning with book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. the king's ships to England; but Sir Abraham Shipman, it was agreed, should land the troops on the island of Angedivah, twelve leagues distant from Goa. On the arrival of the Earl of Marlborough in England in 1663, the King remonstrated with the government of Portugal, but obtained unsatisfactory explanations; and all intention of parting with the dependencies of Bombay was denied. The situation in the mean time of the troops at Angedivah proved extremely unhealthy; their numbers were greatly reduced by disease; and the commander made offer to the President and Council at Surat, to cede the King's rights to the Company. This offer, on consultation, the President and Council declined; as well because, without the authority of the King, the grant was not valid, as because, in their feeble condition, they were unable to take possession of the place. After Sir Abraham Shipman and the greater part of the troops had died by famine and disease, Mr. Cooke, on whom the command devolved, accepted of Bombay on the terms which the Portuguese were pleased to prescribe; renounced all claim to the contiguous islands; and allowed the Portuguese exemption from the payment of customs. This convention the King refused to ratify, as contrary to the terms of his treaty with Portugal; but sent out Sir Gervase Lucas to assume the government of the place. As a few years’ experience showed that the government of Bombay cost more than it produced, it was once more offered to the Company: and now accepted. The grant bears date in 1668. Bombay was “to be held of the King in free and common soccage, as of the manor of East Greenwich, on the payment of the annual rent of 10l. in gold, on the 30th of September, in each year;” and with the place itself was conveyed book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. authority to exercise all political powers, necessary for its defence and government.1
Subterfuges of a similar kind were invented by the Dutch to evade the cession of the island of Polaroon. The Governor pretended that he could not deliver up the island without instructions from the Governor of Banda; and the Governor of Banda pretended that he could not give such instructions without receiving authority from the Governor-General of Batavia. After much delay and negotiation the cession was made in 1665; but not, if we believe the English accounts, till the Dutch had so far exterminated the inhabitants and the spice trees, that the acquisition was of little importance. On the recommencement, however, of hostilities between England and Holland, the Dutch made haste to expel the English, and to re-occupy the island. And by the treaty of Breda, both Polaroon and Damm, on which the English had attempted an establishment, were finally ceded to the Dutch.2
In the beginning of 1664, Sevagee, the founder of the Mahratta power, in the course of his predatory warfare against the territories of the Mogul Sovereign, attacked the city of Surat. The inhabitants fled, and the Governor shut himself up in the castle. The Company's servants, however, taking shelter in the factory, stood upon their defence, and having called in the ships’ crews to their aid, made so brave a resistance that Sevagee retired after pillaging the town. The gallantry and success of this enterprise so pleased the Mogul government, as to obtain its thanks to the President, and new privileges of trade to the Company. The place was again approached by the same destructive enemy in 1670, when the principal part of book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. the Company's goods was transported to Swally, and lodged on board the ships. The English again defended themselves successfully, though some lives were lost, as well as some property in their detached warehouses.1
At this period occurred one of the first instances of refractory and disobedient conduct on the part of the Company's servants. This is a calamity to which they have been much less frequently exposed, than, from the distance and employment of those servants, it would have been reasonable to expect. The efforts of the Directors to suppress the trade, which their agents carried on for their own account, had not been very successful. Sir Edward Winter, the chief servant at Fort St. George, was suspected of this delinquency, and in consequence recalled. When Mr. Foxcroft, however, who was sent to supersede him, arrived at Fort St. George, in June, 1665, Sir Edward, instead of resigning, placed his intended successor in confinement, under a pretext which it was easy to make, that he had uttered disloyal expressions against the King's government. Notwithstanding remonstrances and commands, he maintained himself in the government of the place till two ships arrived, in August, 1668, with peremptory orders from the Company, strengthened by a command from the King, to resign; when his courage failed him, and he complied. He retired to Masulipatam, a station of the Dutch, till the resentment excited against him in England should cool: and his name appears no more in the annals of the Company.2
In Bengal the English factory at Hoogley had been involved in an unhappy dispute with the Mogul book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. government, on account of a junk which they imprudently seized on the river Ganges. For several years this incident had been used as a pretext for molesting them. In 1662–63, the chief at Madras sent an agent to endeavour to reconcile them with Meer Jumlah, the Nabob of Bengal; and to establish agencies at Balasore and Cossimbuzar.1 The Company's funds, however, were too confined to push to any extent the trade of the rich province of Bengal.
The scale was very small on which, at this time, the Company's appointments were formed. In 1662, Sir George Oxenden was elected to be “President and chief Director of all their affairs at Surat, and all other their factories in the north parts of India, from Zeilon to the Red Sea,” at a salary of 300l. and with a gratuity of 200l. per annum as compensation for private trade. Private trade in the hands of their servants, and still more in those of others, the Company were now most earnestly labouring to suppress. Directions were given to seize all unlicensed traders and send them to England; and no exertion of the great powers entrusted to the Company was to be spared, to annihilate the race of merchants who trenched upon the monopoly, and to whom, under the disrespectful name of interlopers, they ascribed a great part of their imbecility and depression.2
Their determination to crush all those of their countrymen who dared to add themselves to the list of their competitors, failed not to give rise to instances of great hardship and calamity. One was rendered famous by the altercation which in 1666 it produced between the two houses of parliament. Thomas Skinner, a merchant, fitted out a vessel in 1657. The agents of the Company seized his ship and merchandize in India, his house, and the island of Barella, book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. which he had bought of the King of Jambee. They even denied him a passage home; and he was obliged to travel over land to Europe. The sufferer failed not to seek redress, by presenting his complaint to the government, and after some importunity it was referred first to a committee of the Council, and next to the House of Peers. When the Company were ordered to answer, they refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Peers, on the ground that they were only a court of appeal, and not competent to decide in the first resort. The objection was over-ruled. The Company appealed to the House of Commons; the Lords were highly inflamed; and, proceeding to a decision, awarded to the petitioner 5,000l. The Commons were now enraged in their turn; and being unable to gratify their resentments upon the House of Peers, which was the cause of them, they were pleased to do so upon the unfortunate gentleman who had already paid so dearly for the crime (whatever its amount) of infringing the Company's monopoly. He was sent a prisoner to the Tower. The Lords, whom these proceedings filled with indignation, voted the petition of the Company to the Lower House to be false and scandalous. Upon this the Commons resolved that whoever should execute the sentence of the other house in favour of Skinner, was a betrayer of the rights and liberties of the Commons of England, and an infringer of the privileges of their house. To such a height did these contentions proceed, that the King adjourned the parliament seven times; and when the controversy after an intermission revived, he sent for both houses to Whitehall, and by his personal persuasion induced them to erase from their journals all their votes, resolutions, and other acts relating to the subject. A contest, of which both parties were tired, book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. being thus ended, the sacrifice and ruin of an individual appeared, as usual, of little importance: Skinner had no redress.1
Another class of competitors excited the fears and jealousies of the Company. Colbert, the French minister of finance, among his projects for rendering his country commercial and opulent, conceived, in 1664, the design of an East India Company. The report which reached the Court of Directors in London represented the French as fitting out eight armed vessels for India, commanded by Hubert Hugo, whom, in their instructions to the settlements abroad, the Directors described as a Dutch pirate. The hostilities of the Company were timid. They directed their agents in India to afford these rivals no aid or protection, but to behave towards them with circumspection and delicacy. The subservience of the English government to that of France was already so apparent, as to make them afraid of disputes in which they were likely to have their own rulers against them.2
The war which took place with Holland in 1664, and which was followed in 1665 by a temporary quarrel with France, set loose the powers of both nations against the Company in India. The French Company, however, was too much in its infancy to be formidable; and the Dutch, whose mercantile competition pressed as heavily during peace as during war, added to the difficulties of the English, chiefly by rendering their navigation more hazardous and expensive.
A fact, an enlightened attention to which would probably have been productive of important consequences, was at this time forced upon the notice of the Company. One grand source of the expenses book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. which devoured the profits of their trade was their factories, with all that mass of dead stock which they required, houses, lands, fortifications, and equipments. The Dutch, who prosecuted their interests with vigilance and economy, carried on their trade in a great many places without factories. Upon receiving instructions to make preparations and inquiry for opening a trade with Japan, Mr. Quarles Brown, the Company's agent at Bantam, who had been at Japan, reported to the Court, that it would be necessary, if a trade with Japan was to be undertaken, to follow the plan of the Dutch; who procured the commodities in demand at Japan, in the countries of Siam, Cambodia, and Tonquin, not by erecting expensive factories, but by forming contracts with the native merchants. These merchants, at fixed seasons, brought to the ports the commodities for which they had contracted, and though it was often necessary to advance to them the capital with which the purchases were effected, they had regularly fulfilled their engagements.1 Even the Company itself, and that in places where their factories cost them the most, had made experiments, and with great advantage, on the expediency of employing the native merchants in providing their investments. At Surat, in 1665–66, “the investments of the season were obtained by the employment of a native merchant, who had provided an assortment of pepper at his own risk, and though the Dutch had obstructed direct purchases of pepper, the agents continued the expedient of employing the native merchants, and embarked a moderate assortment.”2 Factories to carry on the traffic of Asia, at any rate on the scale, or any thing book i.Chap. 4. 1663–68. approaching to the scale, of the East India Company, were the natural offspring of a joint-stock; the Managers or Directors of which had a much greater interest in the patronage they created, which was wholly their own; than in the profits of the Company, of which they had only an insignificant share. Had the trade to India been conducted from the beginning, on those principles of individual adventure and free competition, to which the nation owes its commercial grandeur, it is altogether improbable that many factories would have been established. The agency of the native merchants would have performed much; and where it was not sufficient, the Indian trade would have naturally divided itself into two branches. One set of adventurers would have established themselves in India, by whom investments would have been provided for the European ships, and to whom the cargoes of the European goods would have been consigned. Another class of adventurers, who remained at home, would have performed the business of export and import from England, as it is performed to any other region of the globe.
The time, however, was now approaching when the weakness which had so long characterized the operations of the English in India was gradually to disappear. Notwithstanding the imperfections of the government, at no period, perhaps, either prior or posterior, did the people of this country advance so rapidly in wealth and prosperity, as during the time, including the years of civil war, from the accession of James I. to the expulsion of James II.1 We are not informed of the particular measures which were pursued book i.Chap. 4. 1668–74. by the Directors for obtaining an extension of funds; but the increase of capital in the nation was probably the principal cause which enabled them, in the year succeeding the acquisition of Bombay, to provide a grander fleet and cargo than they had ever yet sent forth. In the course of the year 1667–68, six ships sailed to Surat, with goods and bullion to the value of 130,000l.; five ships to Fort St. George, with a value of 75,000l.; and five to Bantam, with a stock of 40,000l. In the next season we are informed that the consignments to Surat consisted of 1,200 tons of shipping, with a stock of the value of 75,000l.; to Fort St. George, of five ships, and a stock of 103,000l.; and to Bantam, of three ships and 35,000l. In the year 1669–70, 1,500 tons of shipping were sent to Surat, six ships to Fort St. George, and four to Bantam, and the whole amount of the stock was 281,000l. The vessels sent out in 1670–71 amounted to sixteen, and their cargoes and bullion to 303,500l. In the following year four ships were sent to Surat, and nearly 2,000 tons of shipping to Fort St. George; the cargo and bullion to the former, being 85,000l., to the latter, 160,000l.: shipping to the amount of 2,800 tons was consigned to Bantam, but of the value of the bullion and goods no account seems to be preserved. In 1672–73, stock and bullion to the amount of 157,700l. were sent to Surat and Fort St. George. On account of the war, and the more exposed situation of Bantam, the consignment to that settlement was book i.Chap. 4. 1668–74. postponed. In the following year, it appears that cargoes and bullion were consigned, of the value of 100,000l. to Surat; 87,000l. to Fort St. George; and 41,000l. to Bantam.1
Other events of these years were of considerable importance. In 1667–68, appears the first order of the Company for the importation of tea.2 Attempts were now recommended for resuming trade with Sumatra.3 In 1671–72, considerable embarrassment was produced at Surat by the arrival of a French fleet of twelve ships, and a stock computed at 130,000l. The inconsiderate purchases and sales of the French reduced the price of European goods, and raised that of Indian; but these adventurers exhibited so little of the spirit and knowledge of commerce, as convinced the Company's agents that they would not prove formidable rivals.4
As England and France were now united in alliance against the Dutch, the Company might have exulted in the prospect of humbling their oppressors, but the danger of a new set of competitors seems effectually to have repressed these triumphant emotions. In 1673, the island of St. Helena, which had several times changed its masters, being recaptured from the Dutch, was granted anew and confirmed to the Company by a royal charter.5
The funds which, in such unusual quantity, the Directors had been able to supply for the support of the trade in India, did not suffice to remove, it would appear that they hardly served to lighten, the pecuniary difficulties under which it laboured. To an order to provide a large investment, the President and Council book i.Chap. 4. 1674. at Surat, in 1673–74, replied, that the funds at their disposal were only 88,228l. and their debts 100,000l. besides interest on the same at 9 per cent.; and in November, 1674, they represented that the debt arose to no less a sum than 135,000l.; and that all returns must in a great measure be suspended till, by the application of the funds received from Europe, the Company's credit should be revived.1
Of the sort of views held out at this period to excite the favour of the nation towards the East India Company, a specimen has come down to us of considerable value. Sir Josiah Child, an eminent member of the body of Directors, in his celebrated Discourses on Trade, written in the year 1665, and published in 1667, represents the trade to India as the most beneficial branch of English commerce; and in proof of this opinion asserts, that it employs from twenty-five to thirty sail of the most warlike mercantile ships of the kingdom, manned with mariners from 60 to 100 each; that it supplies the kingdom with saltpetre, which would otherwise cost the nation an immense sum to the Dutch; with pepper, indigo, calicoes, and drugs, to the value of 150,000l. or 180,000l. yearly, for which it would otherwise pay to the same people an exorbitant price; with materials for export to Turkey, France, Spain, Italy, and Guinea, to the amount of 200,000l. or 300,000l. yearly, countries with which, if the nation were deprived of these commodities, a profitable trade could not be carried on.
These statements were probably made with an intention to deceive. The imports, exclusive of saltpetre, are asserted to exceed 400,000l. a year; though the book i.Chap. 4. 1674. stock which was annually sent to effect the purchases, and to defray the whole expense of factories and fortifications abroad, hardly amounted in any number of years preceding 1665, to 100,000l., often to much less; while the Company were habitually contracting debts, and labouring under the severest pecuniary difficulties. Thus early, in the history of this Company, is it found necessary to place reliance on their accounts and statements, only when something very different from the authority of their advocates is found to constitute the basis of our belief.
It will be highly instructive to confront one exaggerated statement with another. About the same time with the discourses of Sir Josiah Child, appeared the celebrated work of De Witt on the state of Holland. Proceeding on the statement of Sir Walter Raleigh, who in the investigation of the Dutch fishery, made for the information of James I. in 1603, affirmed, that “the Hollanders fished on the coasts of Great Britain with no fewer than 3,000 ships, and 50,000 men; that they employed and set to sea, to transport and sell the fish so taken, and to make returns thereof, 9,000 ships more, and 150,000 men; and that twenty busses do, one way or other, maintain 8,000 people;” he adds, that from the time of Sir Walter Raleigh to the time at which he wrote, the traffic of Holland in all its branches could not have increased less than one third. Allowing this account to be exaggerated in the same proportion as that of the East India Director, which the nature of the circumstances, so much better known, renders rather improbable; it is yet evident, to what a remarkable degree the fisheries of the British coasts, to which the Dutch confined themselves, constituted a more important commerce than the highly vaunted, but comparatively insignificant business of the East India Company.1 The English fishery, at book i.Chap. 4. 1675–82. the single station of Newfoundland, exceeded in value the trade to the East Indies. In the year 1676, no fewer than 102 ships, carrying twenty guns each, and eighteen boats, with five men to each boat, 9,180 men in all, were employed in that traffic; and the total value of the fish and oil was computed at 386,400l.2
The equipments, in 1674–75, were, five ships to Surat with 189,000l. in goods and bullion; five to Fort St. George with 202,000l.; and 2,500 tons of shipping to Bantam with 65,000l.: In 1675–76, to Surat, five ships and 96,500l.; to Fort St. George, five ships and 235,000l.; to Bantam, 2,450 tons of shipping and 58,000l.: In 1676–77, three ships to Surat and three to Fort St. George, with 97,000l. to the one, and 176,600l. to the other; and eight ships to Bantam, with no account of the stock. The whole adventure to India, in 1677–78, seems to have been seven ships and 352,000l.; of which a part, to the value of 10,000l. or 12,000l., was to be forwarded from Fort St. George to Bantam: In 1678–79, eight ships and 393,950l.: In 1679–80, ten ships and 461,700l.: In 1680–81, eleven ships and 596,000l.: And, in 1681–82, seventeen ships, and 740,000l.3
The events affecting the East India Company were still common and unimportant. In 1674–75, a mutiny, occasioned by retrenchment, but not of any book i.Chap. 4. 1675–82. serious magnitude, was suppressed at Bombay. In trying and executing the ringleaders, the Company exercised the formidable powers of martial law. The trade of Bengal had grown to such importance, that, instead of a branch of the agency at Fort St. George, an agency was now constituted in Bengal itself. Directions were forwarded to make attempts for opening a trade with China; and tea, to the value of 100 dollars, was, in 1676–77, ordered on the Company's account. Beside the ordinary causes of depression which affected the Company at Bantam, a particular misfortune occurred in 1667. The principal persons belonging to the factory having gone up the river in their prows, a number of Javanese assassins, who had concealed themselves in the water, suddenly sprung upon them, and put them to death.1
In 1677–78, “the Court,” says Mr. Bruce, “recommended temporising expedients to their servants, with the Mogul, with Sevagee, and with the petty Rajahs; but at the same time they gave to President Aungier and his council discretionary powers, to employ armed vessels, to enforce the observation of treaties and grants:—in this way, the Court shifted from themselves the responsibility of commencing hostilities, that they might be able, in any questions which might arise between the King and the Company, to refer such hostilities to the errors of their servants.”2 This cool provision of a subterfuge, at the expense of their servants, is a policy ascribed to the Company, in this instance, by one of the most unabashed of their eulogists. We shall see, as we advance, in what degree the precedent has been followed.
The difficulties which now occurred in directing the operations of the various individuals employed in book i.Chap. 4. 1682. the business of the East India Company began to be serious. The Directors, from ignorance of the circumstances in which their servants were placed, often transmitted to them instructions which it would have been highly imprudent to execute. The functionaries abroad often took upon themselves, and had good reasons for their caution, to disregard the orders which they received. A door being thus opened for discretionary conduct, the instructions of the Directors were naturally as often disobeyed for the convenience of the actors abroad, as for the benefit of the Company at home. The disregard of their authority, and the violation of their commands, had been a frequent subject of uneasiness and indignation to the Directors. Nor was this all. From discordant pretensions to rank and advancement in the service, animosities arose among the agents abroad. Efforts were made by the Directors for the cure of these troublesome, and even dangerous, diseases. Seniority was adopted as the principle of promotion; but nomination to the important office of a Member of Council at the Agencies, as well as Presidencies, was reserved to the Court of Directors.1
[1.]Bruce, i. 529.
[1.]Bruce, i. 529, 530.
[2.]Bruce, i. 532.
[1.]Bruce, 539, 540. The state of interest, both in India and England, appears incidentally in the accounts received by the Company from the agents at Surat, in the year 1658–59. These agents, after stating the narrowness of the funds placed at their disposal, recommend to the Directors rather to borrow money in England, which could easily be done at 4 per cent., than leave them to take up money in India at 8 or 9 per cent. Ib. 542.
[1.]Bruce, i. 553, 554.
[1.]Anderson's Hist. of Commerce in Macpherson's Annals, ii. 495, 605.
[2.]Bruce, ii. 108, 119, 152, 186.
[1.]Bruce, 110, 138, 157, 158, 174.
[2.]Ib. ii. 130, 159.
[1.]Bruce, ii. 104, 106, 126, 134, 141, 155, 168, 199. Macpherson's Annals, ii. 503.
[2.]Bruce, ii. 132, 161, 184, 198.
[1.]Bruce, 144, 145, 284.
[2.]Ib. ii. 179, 245
[1.]Bruce, i. 560; ii. 110, 131.
[2.]Ib. ii. 107—109.
[1.]Macpherson's Annals, ii. 493.
[2.]Raynal, Hist. Philos. et Polit. des Etabliss. &c. dans les Deux Indes, ii. 183. Ed. 8vo. Geneve, 1781. Bruce, ii. 137, 150, 167. Macpherson's Annals, ii. 516.
[1.]Letters from the Agent and Council of Bantam (in the East India Register Office), Bruce, ii. 163.
[2.]Bruce, ii. 178, from a letter from the President and Council of Surat.
[1.]Sir William Petty, who wrote his celebrated work, entitled Political Arithmetic, in 1676, says; 1. The streets of London showed that city to be double what it was forty years before; great increase was also manifested at Newcastle, Yarmouth, Norwich, Exeter, Portsmouth, and Cowes; and in Ireland, at Dublin, Kingsale, Coleraine, and Londonderry. 2. With respect to shipping, the navy was triple, or quadruple what it was at that time; the shipping of Newcastle was 80,000 tons, and could not then have exceeded a quarter of that amount. 3. The number and splendour of coaches, equipages and furniture, had much increased since that period. 4. The postage of letters had increased from one to twenty. 5. The King's revenue had tripled itself. See too Macpherson's Annals, ii. 580.
[1.]Bruce, ii. 201, 206, 209—224, 227, 230—256, 258, 259—278, 281, 282, 283—293, 296, 297—312, 313—327, 328, 331.
[2.]Ib. ii. 210. The words of this order are curious, “to send home by these ships 100 lb. waight of the best tey that you can gett.”
[3.]Ib. ii. 211.
[5.]Ib. 232, 334.
[1.]Bruce, ii. 337, 342, 366.
[1.]An anonymous author, whom Anderson in his History of Commerce quotes as an authority, says, in 1679, that the Dutch herring and cod fishery employed 8,000 vessels, and 200,000 sailors and fishers, whereby they annually gained five millions sterling; besides their Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland fisheries, and the multitude of trades and people employed by them at home. Macpherson's Annals, ii. 596. See in the same work, ii. 547 and 552, a summary of the statements of Child and De Witt. For ampler satisfaction the works themselves must be consulted.
[2.]Anderson's Hist. of Commerce. Macpherson's Annals, ii. 579.
[3.]Bruce, ii. 356, 360, 361—375, 379—392, 393, 395—406, 409, 410—435, 438, 439—446, 451, 453—459, 465, 468.
[1.]Bruce, ii. 367, 466, 396, 404.
[1.]Bruce, ii. 355, 374, 449, 453.