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wealth of the nation made rapid advances. The town of Liverpool, which was not formed into a separate parish till 1699, so rapidly increased, that in 1715 a new parish, with a church, was erected; and it doubled its size between 1690 and 1726. The town of Manchester increased in a similar proportion; and was computed in 1727 to contain no less than 50,000 inhabitants: the manufactures of Birmingham, which thirty years before was little more than a village, are stated as giving maintenance at that time to upwards of 30,000 individuals.* In 1719, a patent was granted to Sir Thomas Lombe, for his machine for throwing silk, one of the first of those noble efforts of invention and enterprise which have raised this country to unrivalled eminence in the useful arts. The novelty and powers of this machine, the model of which he is said to have stolen from the Piedmontese, into whose manufactories he introduced himself in the guise of a common workman, excited the highest admiration; and its parts and performances are described to us by the historians of the time with curious exactness; 26,586 wheels, 97,746 movements, which worked 73,726 yards of organzine silk by every revolution of the water-wheel, and 318,504,960 yards in one day and a night; a single water-wheel giving motion to the whole machine, of which any separate movement might be stopped without obstructing the rest; and one fire, which by heated air communicated warmth to every part of the manufactory, not less than the eighth part of a mile in length, f London was increased by several new parishes. And from the year 1708 to the year 1730, the imports of Great Britain, according to the valuation of the custom-house, had increased from 4,698,663/. to 7,780,019/.; the exports from 6,969,089/. to 11,974,135/. \
During this period of national prosperity, the imports of the East India Com-That of the pany rose from 493,257/., the importation of 1708, to 1,059,759/. the importation of 1730. But the other, and not the least important, the export branch of the Company's trade, exhibited another result: As the exportation of the year 1708 was exceedingly small, compared with that of 1709 and the following years, it is fair to take an average of four years from 1706 to 1709 (two with a small, two an increased exportation), producing 105,773/.: The exportation of the year 1730 was 135,484/.; while that of 1709 was 168,357/. 5 that of 1710, 126,310/.; that of 1711, 151,874, and that of 1712, 142,329/.
With regard to the rate of profit, during this period, or the real advantage
Book IV. of the Indian trade, the Company, for part of the year 1708, divided at the
1717~^rate of five per cent* pei^ annum to the proprietors upon 3,163,200/. of capital; for the next year, eight per cent.; for the two following years, nine per cent.; and thence to the year 1716, ten per cent. per annum. In the year 1717, they paid dividends on a capital of 3,194,080/., at the same rate of ten per cent. per annum, and so on till the year 1723. That year the dividend was reduced to eight per cent. per annum, at which rate it continued till the year 1732.*
In the year 1712, on the petition of the Company, the period of their exclusive trade was extended by act of parliament, from the year 1726, to which by the last regulation it stood confined, to the year 1733, with the usual allowance of three years for notice, should their privileges be withdrawn.! interlopers. In the year 1716, they obtained a proclamation against interlopers. Their complaints, it seems, were occasioned by the enterprises of British subjects, trading to India under foreign commissions. As this proclamation answered not the wishes of the Company, nor deterred their countrymen from seeking the gains of Indian traffic, even through all the disadvantages which they incurred by entrusting their property to the protection of foreign laws and the fidelity of foreign agents; they were able, in 1718, to procure an act of parliament for the punishment of all such competitors. British subjects, trading from foreign countries, and under the commission of a foreign government, were declared amenable to the laws for the protection of the Company's rights; the Company were authorized to seize merchants of this description when found within their limits, and to send them to England, subject to a penalty of 500/. for each offence.}:
o«tend Com- The Company's present alarm for their monopoly arose from the establishpany' ment for trading with India which, under the authority of the Emperor, was formed at his port of Ostend. After the peace of Utrecht, which bestowed the Netherlands upon the house of Austria, the people of those provinces began to breathe from the distractions, the tyranny, and the wars, which had so long wasted their fruitful country. Among other projects of improvement, a trade to India was fondly embraced. Two ships, after long preparations, sailed from Ostend in the year 1717, under the passports of the Emperor; and several more soon followed their example. The India Companies of Holland and England
Third Report from the Secret Committee of the House of Commons, on the State of the East India Company, in 1773, p. 73. t 10 Ann. c. 28. See Collection of Statutes, p. 42.
X Anderson's Hist, of Commerce, A. D. 1716 and 1718, and Collection of Statutes.
were in the highest degree alarmed; and easily communicated their fears and Chap. I. agitations to their respective governments. These governments not only expostulated, and to the highest degree of importunity, with the Emperor himself; but, amid the important negotiations of that diplomatic period, hardly any interest was more earnestly contended for in the discussions at the courts both of Paris and Madrid.* The Dutch captured some of the Ostend East India ships: The Emperor, who dreamed of an inundation of wealth from Indian trade, persevered in his purpose; and granted his commission of reprisal to the merchants of Ostend. In the beginning of 1720, they sent no fewer than six vessels to India, and as many the year that followed. The English East India Company pressed the Government with renewed terrors and complaints. They asserted that, of the capital, with which the trade was carried on, a great part was furnished by British subjects; and that to a great degree the trade and navigation were conducted by men who had been bred up in the trade and navigation of the British Company: They procured, in 1721, another act of parliament, enforcing the penalties already enacted; and as this also failed in producing the intended effects, another act was passed in the spring of 1723, prohibiting foreign adventures to India, under the penalty of triple the sum embarked; declaring all British subjects found in India, and not in the service, or under the licence of the East India Company, guilty of a high misdemeanour, and empowering the Company to seize, and send them home for punishment.f The Emperor had been importuned, by the adventurers of Ostend, for a charter to make them an exclusive company; but, under the notion of saving appearances in some little degree with England and Holland, or the maritime powers, as they were called in the diplomatic language of the day, he had induced them to trade under passports as individuals. In the month of August, however, of 1723, the charter was granted; in less than twenty-four hours the subscription books of the Company were filled up; and in less than a month the shares were sold at a premium of fifteen per cent. Notwithstanding the virulent opposition of all the other nations already engaged in the Indian trade, the Ostend Company experienced the greatest success. At a meeting of Proprietors, in 1726, the remaining instalment on the subscriptions, equal to a dividend of thirty-three and one third per cent., was paid up from the gains of the trade. But by this time political difficulties pressed upon the Emperor. He was abandoned by his
* See Coxe's Memoirs of Sir Robert, and Lord Walpole, and Hist, of the House of Austria. ad annos.
■f 5 Geo. I. c. 21; 7 Geo. I. c. 21; 9 Geo. I. c. 26. VOL. II. D
Book IV. only ally, the King of Spain, and opposed by a triple alliance of France, Eng"l720~^ lant*, an(l Holland. To give satisfaction to this potent confederacy, and to obtain their support to the pragmatic sanction, or the guarantee of his dominions to his daughter and only child, he submitted to sacrifice the Ostend Company. To save appearances, and consult the imperial dignity, nothing was stipulated in words, except that the business of the Ostend Company should be suspended for seven years; but all men understood that, in this case, suspension and extinction were the same. Power of bor- By the act of 7 Geo. I. c. 5, the Company were authorized to borrow money
rowing, to a
certain extent, on their common seal, to the amount of the sums lent by them to governCompany? the ment, if not beyond the sum of five millions sterling in the whole. They were permitted, however, to borrow solely for the purposes of their trade. They were expressly interdicted from receiving moneys in any of the capacities of a banker; and for that purpose several restrictive clauses were inserted in the act; they were not to borrow any sums payable on demand, or at a shorter date than six months; they were not to discount any bills; or to keep books or cash for any persons sole or corporate, or otherwise than for the real business of the Company.* Proceedings When the Company commenced operations in India, upon the new founda
in Bengal.tion on which their affairs were placed by the grand arrangements in 1708, Shah Aulum, successor of Aurungzebe, was Emperor of the Moguls. His second son Azeem Ooshaun had been appointed Viceroy of Bengal before the death of Aurungzebe, and having bent his chief attention to the amassing of a treasure, against the impending contest between the competitors for the throne, he accepted the bribes of the Company, and granted them proportional privileges. Under his authority they had purchased, in 1698, the Zemindarship of the three towns of Sootanutty, Calcutta, and Govindpore, with their districts. When Azeem Ooshaun left Bengal to assist his father in the war, which ensued upon the death of Aurungzebe, he left his son Feroksere his deputy. In 1712 Shah Aulum died; Azeem Ooshaun lost his life in the struggle for the succession; and Feroksere, by the help of two able chiefs, the Syed brothers, gained the throne. The government of Bengal now devolved upon Jaffier Khan, and the Company experienced a change of treatment. This chief, of Tartar extraction, was born at Boorhanpore, in Deccan, and rose to eminence in the latter part of the reign of Aurungzebe, by whom he had been appointed duan (or controller of the
* Collection of Statutes, p. 50.
•revenues) of Bengal. It would appear that he was nominated, by Shah Aulum, Chap. L to the Viceroyalty of Bengal, shortly after his accession to the throne; but it is" probable that, during the short reign of that prince, the appointment never took place; as, at the time of his death, Feroksere was in possession of the province. Upon the departure, however, of Feroksere to ascend the imperial throne, Jaffier Khan was invested with entire authority, as subahdar of Bengal; and the English Company, along with his other subjects, began speedily to feel the effects of his severe and oppressive administration.* In 1713, the first year of the reign of Feroksere, the Presidency of Calcutta An embassy applied to the Company at home for leave to send an embassy, with a handsome Feroksere, the present, to the Mogul durbar, in hopes of obtaining greater protection and pri- MoSuL vileges. Two of the Company's factors, under the direction of an Armenian merchant, named Serhaud, set out for Delhi; and the Emperor, who had received the most magnificent account of the presents of which they were the bearers, ordered them to be escorted by the governors of the provinces through which they were to pass. They arrived at the capital on the eighth of July, 1715, after a journey of three months; and, in pursuance of the advice which had been received at Calcutta, applied themselves to gain the protection of Khan Dowran.f a nobleman in favour with the Emperor, and in the interest of Emir Jumla. Whatever was promoted by the interest of Emir Jumla was opposed by that of the vizir. The influence also of Jaffier Khan was exerted to defeat an application which tended to abridge his authority, and impeach his government. The embassy and costly present of the Company were doomed to imperial neglect, had not an accident, over which they had no control, and the virtue of a public-spirited man, who preferred their interest to his own, opened an avenue to the grace of Feroksere. The intemperance of that prince had communicated to him a secret disease, from which the luxury of the harem does not always exempt: Under the unskilful treatment of Indian physicians the disorder lingered; and the Emperor's impatience was augmented, by the delay which it imposed upon the celebration of his marriage with the daughter of the Rajah of Judpore: A medical gentleman of the name of Hamilton accompanied the embassy of the English Company: The Emperor was advised to make trial of his skill: A cure
* Orme's History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in India, i. 17-—19. Seer Mutakhareen, i. 17 and 296. f He is named Caundorah by Mr. Orme (Ibid. p. 20), who erroneously makes Houssein, instead of Abdoolah Khan, vizir.