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RAW SIL K.

THE trade in rawy. Silki was at all times more popular in England than really advantageous to the Company. In addition to the old jealousy, which prevailed between the Company and the Manufactory. Interest of England, they came to labour under no small odium on, account of the distresses of India. The Publick in England perceived, and felt with a proper sympathy, the sufferings of the Eastern Provinces in all cases, in which they might be attributed to the abuses of power exercised, under the Company's authority But they were not equally sensible to the evilss, which arose from a system of sacrificing the being of, that country, to the advantage of this. They entered very readily into the former, but with regard to the latter were slow and incredulous. It is nat, therefore, extraordinary, that the Company should, endeavour to ingratiate themselves with the Publick by falling in, with its prejudices. Thus they, were led to increase the grievance in order to allay, the clamour. , They continued still, upon a larger scale, and still more, systematically, that plan, of, conducts, which was the principal, though not the most blamed, cause of the decay and depopulation of the country committed to their cares.

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With that view, and to furnish a cheap supply of materials to the manufactures of England, they formed a scheme, which tended to destroy, or at least essentially to impair, the whole manufacturing interest of Bengal. . A policy of that sort could not fail of being highly popular; when the Company submitted itself as an instrument for the improvement of British manufactures, instead of being their most dangerous rival, as heretofore they had been always represented.

They accordingly notified to their Presidency in Bengal, in their letter of the 17th of March 1769, that there was no branch of their trade they more « ardently wish to extend, than that of raw Silk." They disclaim, however, all desire of employing compulsory ineasures for that purpose, but recommended every mode of encouragement, and particularly by augmented wages, “ in order to induce "Manufacturers of wrought Silk to quit that 6 branch, and take to the winding of raw Silk.";sists:

Having thus found means to draw hands from the manufacture, and confiding in the strength of a capital drawn from the Publick Revenues, they pursue their ideas from the purchase of their manufacture to the purchase of the material in its crudest state. « We recommend you to give an " increased price, if necessary, so as to take that o trade out of the hands of other Merchants and rival Nations." A double bounty was thus given

against

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against the manufactures, both in the labour and in the materials. * It is very remarkable in what manner their vehement pursuit of this object led the Directors to a speedy oblivion of those equitable correctives, before interposed by them, in order to prevent the mischiefs, which were apparent in the scheme, if left to itself. They could venture so little to trust to the bounties given from the Revenues, a trade, which had a tendency to dry up their source, that, by the time they had proceeded to the 33d paragraph of their letter, they revert to those very compulsory means, which they had disclaimed but three paragraphs before. To prevent silk-winders from working in their private houses, where they might work for private traders, and to confine them to the Company's factories, where they could only be employed for the Company's benefit, they desire that the newly-acquired power of Government should be effectually employed : "should (say they)

this practice, through inattention, have been suf"fered to take place again, it will be proper to put

a stop to it, which may now be more effectually done by an absolute prohibition, under severe pes .nalties, by the authority of Government."

si: This letter contains a perfect plan of policy, both of compulsion and encouragement, which must, in a very considerable degree, operate destructively to the manufactures of Bengal. Its effect must be

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(so far as it could operate without being éluded) to change the whole face of that industrious country, in order to render it a field for the produce of etude materials subservient to the manufactures of Great Britain. The manufacturing hands were to be seduced from their looms by high wages; in order to prepare a raw produce for our market; they were to be locked up in the factories; and the commodity acquired by these operations was, in this immature state, carried out of the country, whilst its looms would be left without

any

material but the debased refuse of a market. enhanced in its price, and scanted in its supply. By the increase of the price of this and other materials, manufactures, formerly the most flourishing gradually disappeared under the protection of Great Britain, and were seen to rise again and flourish on the opposite coast of India under the dommion of the Mahrattas.

These restraints and encourageinents seem to have had the desired effect in Bengat with regard to the diversion of labour from manufacture to materials. The trade of raw Silk increased rapidly. But the Company very soon fekt, in the increase of price, and debasement of quality of the wrought goods, a loss to themselves, which fully counterbalanced all the advantages to be derived to the nation from the increase of the raw commodity. The necessary effect on the Revenue was also foretold very early. For their servants in the principal

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Silk-factories declared, that the obstruction to the private trade in Silk must in the end prove detrimental to the Revenues, and that the Investmerit clashes with the collection of these Revenues. Whatsoever, by bounties or immunities, is encouraged out of a Landed Revenue, has certainly some tendency to lessen the net amount of that Revenue, and to forward a produce, which does not yield to the gross collection rather than one, that does.

The Directors declare themselves unable to understand how this could be. Perhaps it was not sa, difficult. But, pressed as they were by the greatness of the payments, which they were compelled to make to Government in England, the cries of Bengal could not be heard among the contending claims of the General Court, of the Treasury, and of Spital Fields. The speculation of the Directors was originally fair and plausible. (so far as the mere encouragement of the commodity extended). Situated as they were, it was hardly in their power to stop themselves in the course they had begun. They were obliged to continue their resolution, at any hazard mereasing the Investment.

"The state 4 of our affairs (say they) requires the atmost ex: tension of your investments. You are not to

forbear sending even those sorts, which are attended with loss; in case such should be necessary " to supply an Investment to as great an amount " asi you can provide from your own resources ;

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