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very justly, for entering into contracts for three "years; and that for several kinds of silk, of very different goodness, upon averages unfairly formed, where the commodities; averaged at an equal price, differed from twenty to thirty per cent. on the sale. Soon after, they formed a 'regular scale of fixed prices, above which they found they could not trade without loss.

Whilst they were continuing these methods to secure themselves against future losses, the Bengal ships, which arrived in that year, announced nothing but their continuance. Some articles by the high price, and others from their ill quality, were such as never could answer to be sent to Europe " at any price.” The Directors renew their prohibition of making fresh contracts, the present being generally to expire in the year 1781. But this trade, whose fundamental policy might have admitted of a doubt, as applied to Bengal (whatever it might have been with regard to England), was how itself expiring in the hands of the Company, so that they were obliged to apply to Government for power to enlarge their capacity of receiving Bills upon Europe. The purchase by these bills they entirely divert from raw Silk, and order to be laid out wholly in piece-goods. v* Thus, having found by experience that this trade, whilst carried on upon the old principles (of whatever advantage it might have been to the

British

I 3

British manufacturers, or to the individuals, who were concerned in it in Bengal) had proved highly detrimental to the Company, the Directors resolved to expunge the raw Silk from their Investment. They gave up the whole to private traders, on condition of paying the freight, charges, and duties permitting them to send it to Europe in the Company's ships upon their own account.

The whole of this history will serve to demonstrate, that all attempts, which in their original system, or in their necessary consequences, tend to the distress of India, must, and in a very short time will, make themselves felt even by those, in whose favour such attempts have been made. India may possibly, in some future time, bear and support itself under an extraction of measure or of goods; but much care ought to be taken that the influx of wealth shall be greater in quantity, and prior in time to the waste.

On abandoning the trade in silk to private hands, the Directors issued some prohibitions to prevent monopoly; and they gave some directions about the improvement of the trade. The prohibitions were proper, and the directions prudent; but it is much to be feared, that whilst all the means, instruments, and powers remain, by which monopolies were made, and through which abuses formerly prevailed, all verbal orders will be fruitless. This branch of trade being so long principally

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managed by the Company's servants for the Company, and under its authority, cannot be easily taken out of their hands, and pass to the natives, especially when it is to be carried on without the control naturally inherent in all participation. It is not difficult to conceive how this forced prefe. rence of traffick in a raw commodity must have injured the manufactures, while it was the policy of the Company to continue the trade on their own account. The servants, so far from deviating from their course, since they have taken the trade into their own management, have gone much further into it. The proportion of raw silk in the Investment is to be augmented. The proportion of the whole cargoes for the year 1783, divided into sixteen parts, is ten of raw Silk, and six only of manufactured goods. Such is the proportion of this losing article in the scheme for the Investment of private fortunes.

In the reformed scheme of sending the Investment on account of the Company, to be paid in bills upon Europe, no mention is made of any change of these proportions. Indeed some limits are attempted on the article of silk, with regard to its price; and it is not improbable that the price to the master and the servant will be very different ; but they cannot make profitable purchases of this article without strongly condemning all the former purchases of the Board of Trade.

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**) 1911 THE general system above stated, relative to the Silk trade, must materially have affected the manufactures of Bengal, merely as it was a system of preference. It does by no means satisfactorily appear to Your Committee, that the freedom held out by the Company's various Orders has been ever fully enjoyed, or that the grievances of the native merchants and manufacturers have been re! dressed. For we find on good authority, that at that very period, at which it might be supposed that these orders had their operation, the oppressions were in full vigour. They appear to have fallen heaviest on the City of Dacca, formerly the great staple for the finest goods in India; a place once full of opulent merchants and dealers of all descriptions.

The city and district of Dacca, before the preyalence of the East-India Company's influence and authority, manufactured annually to about three hundred thousand pounds value in cloths.' In the year 1776 it had fallen to about two hundred thousand, or two thirds of its former produce. Of this the Company's demand' amounted only to a

fourth part, that is, about fifty thousand pounds yearly. This was at that time provided by agents

for

for the Company, under the inspection of their commercial servants. On pretence of securing an advantage for this fourth part for their masters, they exerted a most violent and arbitrary power over the wbole. It was asserted, that they fixed the Company's mark to such goods as they thought fit, (to all goods, as stated in one complaint,) and disposed of them as they thought proper, excluding not only all the native dealers, but the Dutch Company, and private English merchants : that they made advances to the weavers, often beyond their known ability, to repay in goods within the year; and by this means, having got them in debt, held them in perpetual servitude. Their inability to keep ac, counts left them at the discretion of the Agents of the supreme power to make their balances what they pleased, and they recovered them not by legal process, but by seizure of their goods, and arbitrary imprisonment of their persons. One and the same dealer made the advance, valued the return, stated the account, passed the judgment, and executed

the process.

: Mr. Rouse, Chief of the Dacca province, who struggled against those evils, says, that in the year 1773 there were no balances due, as the trade was then carried on by the native brokers. In less than three years these balancès amounted to an immense sum; a sum lost, to the Company, but existing in full force for every purpose of oppression. In the

amount

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