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Directors found it necessary to order an account of all suits against Europeans, depending in the Supreme Court of Judicature, to be transmitted to them, and that no time should be lost in bringing them to a determination.
SALT PE T R E.
THE next article of direct monopoly, subservient to the Company's export, is. Saltpetre. This, as well as Opium; is far the greater part the produce of the province of Bahar. The difference between the management and destination of the two articles has been this : until the year 1782, the Opium has been sold in the country, and the produce of the sale laid out in country merchandise for the Company's export. A great part of the Saltpetre is sent out in kind, and never has contributed to the interiour circulation and commerce of Bengal. It is managed by agency on the Company's account. The price paid to the manufacturer is invariable. Some of the larger undertakers receive advances to enable them to prosecute their work; but as they are not always equally careful or fortunate, it hap-'. pens that large balances accumulate against them. Orders have been sent from Calcutta from time to is time to recover their balances with little or no success, but with great vexation to all concerned
in the manufacture. Sometimes they have imprisoned the failing contractors in their own houses ; a severity, which answers no useful purpose. Such persons are so many hands detached from the improvement, and added to the burthen, of the country. They are persons of skill drawn from the future supply of that monopoly, in favour of which they are prosecuted. In case of the death of the debtor, this rigorous demand falls upon the ruined houses of widows and orphans, and may converted into a means either of cruel oppression, or a mercenary indulgence, according to the temper of the exacters.
Instead of thus having recourse to imprisonment, the old balance is sometimes deducted from the current produce. This, in these circumstances, is ? a grievous discouragement. People must be disa couraged from entering into a business, when, the commodity being fixed to one invariable standard, and confined to one market, the best success can be attended only with a limited advantage, whilst a defective produce can never be compensated by an augmented price. Accordingly very little of these advances has been recovered ; and after much vexation the pursuit has generally been abandoned. It is plain that there can be no life and vigour in any business under a monopoly so constituted'; nor can the true productive resources of the country,
in so large an article of its commerce, ever come to be fully known.
The supply for the Company's demand in England has rarely fallen short of two thousand tons, nor much exceeded two thousand five hundred. A diseretionary allowance of this commodity has been made to the French, Dutch, and Danes, who purchase their allotted shares at some small advance on the Company's price. The supply destined for the London market is proportioned to the spare tonnage; and, to accommodate that tomage, the Saltpetre is sometimes sent to Madras, and sometimes even to Bombay ; and that not unfrequently in vessels expressly employed for the purpose.
Mr. Law, Chief of Patna, being examined on the effect of that monopoly, delivered his opinion, that ; with regard to the Company's trade the monopoly was advantageous; but as sovereigns of the country they must be losers by it. These two capacities in the Company are found in perpetual contradiction. But much doubt may arise, whether this monopoly will be found advantageous to the Company, either in the one capacity or the other. The gross commodity, monopolized for sale in London, is procured from the Revenues in Bengal; the certain is given for the hazardous. The loss of interest on the advances, sometimes the loss of the principal; the expense of carriage from Patna to Calcutta; the various loadings and unloadings, and insurance yo L. XI.
(which, though born by the Company, is still insurance); the engagement for the ordnance, limited in price, and irregular in payment; the charge of agency, and management through all its gradations and successions; when all these are taken into consideration, it may be found that the gain of the Company as traders will be far from compensating their loss as sovereigns. A body like the East-India Company can scarcely, in any circumstance, hope to carry on the details of such a business, from its commencement to its conclusion, with any degree of
In the subjoined estimate of profit and loss, the value of the commodity is stated at its invoice price at Calcutta. But this affords no just estimate of the whole effect of a dealing, where the Company's charge commences in the first rudi, ments of the manufacture, and not at the purchase at the place of sale and valuation ; for they may be heavy losses on the value, at which the Saltpetre is estimated, when shipped off on their account, without any appearance in the account; and the inquiries of Your Committee to find the charges on the Saltpetre previous to the shipping have been fruitless.
BRITISH GOVERNMENT IN INDIA.
THE other link, by which India is bound to Great Britain, is the Government established there originally by the authority of the East-India Comrpany, and afterwards modified by Parliament by the Acts of 1773 and 1780. This system of Gos vernment appears to Your Committee to be at least as much disordered, and as much perverted from every good purpose, for which lawful rule is established, as the trading system has been from every just principle of commerce. Your Committee, in tracing the causes of this disorder through its effects, have first considered the Government as it is constituted and managed within itself, beginning with its most essential and fundamental part, the order and discipline, by which the supreme authority of this kingdom is maintained.
The British Government in India being a subordinate and delegated power, it ought to be considered as a fundamental principle in such a system, that it is to be preserved in the strictest obedience to the Government at home. Administration in India, at animmense distance from the seat of the Supreme Authority; intrusted with the most extensive powers; liable to the greatest temptations; possessing the