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mated on the 1st day of March, 1773, amounted to 7,784,689/. 12*. 10d.; and Chap. IX. the whole of their debts to 9,219,114/. 12$. 6d.; leaving a balance against the' v—'
Company of 1,434,424/. 19$. Sd. The whole of their effects and credits in India, China, and St. Helena, and afloat on the sea, amounted to 6,397,299/. 10*. 6d. The whole of their debts abroad amounted to 2,032,306/.; producing a balance in their favour of 4,364,993/. 10$. 6d. Deducting from this sum the balance against the Company in England, we find the whole amount of their available property no more than 2,930,568/. 10$. lOd.; so that of their capital stock of 4,200,000/., 1,269,431/. 9$. 2d. was expended and gone*
From the year 1744, the period to which in a former passage f is brought down the amount of the dividend paid annually to the Proprietors on the capital stock, that payment continued at eight per cent. to the year 1756, on which it was reduced to six per cent. It continued at that low amount till Christmas,
1766, when it was raised by the General Court, repugnant to the sense of the Court of Directors, to five per cent. for the next half year. On the 7th of May,
1767, it was resolved in the General Court, that for the following half year the dividend should be six and a quarter per cent. But this resolution was rescinded by act of parliament, and the dividend limited, till further permission, to ten per cent. per annum. It was continued at ten per cent. till the year commencing at Christmas, 1769, when, in pursuance of the new regulations, it was advanced to eleven per cent. The next year it rose to twelve per cent. The following year it was carried to its prescribed limits, twelve and a half per cent.; at which it continued for eighteen months, when the funds of the Company being totally exhausted, it was suddenly reduced to six per cent. per annum, by a resolution passed on the 3d of December, 17724
In the interval between 1744 and 1772, the sales at the India House had
* Second Report of the Committee of Secrecy in 1773. The Committee say, "They have not intended in the above account any valuation of the fortifications and buildings of the Company abroad. They can by no means agree in opinion with the Court of Directors, 'That the amount of the fortifications, &c. should be added to the annual statement.'"—Undoubtedly no effects of any party can be compared with his debts, farther than they can be disposed of for the payment of those debts; the manure which a farmer has spread upon his fields, or the hedges and ditches with which he has surrounded them, are nothing, the moment his lease is expired. The money expended in fortifications and buildings, from May 1757, was stated at nearly four millions.
f Supra, p. SO.
% See the Third and Eighth Reports of the Committee of Secrecy in 1773. VOL. II. 2 R
Book IV. increased from about 2,000,000/. to 3,000,000/. annually; their annual exports, 'including both goods and stores, had fully doubled. In the year 1751, the total amount of shipping in the service of the Company was 38,441 tons, in the year 1772 it was 61,860*
* Fifth Report of the Committee of Secrecy.
FROM THE FIRST GREAT CHANGE IN THE CONSTITUTION OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY AND IN THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, IN 1773; TILL THE SECOND GREAT CHANGE, BY THE ACT, COMMONLY CALLED MR. PITT'S ACT, IN 1784. CHAP. I. Administration of Hastings till the Time when the Parliamentary Members of the Council arrived andthe Operations of the New Constitution commenced, including—Arrangements for collecting the Revenue and administering Justice ostensibly as Duan—Treatment of Mahomed Reza Khan and the Rajah Shitabroy—Elevation of Munny Begum—Destruction of the Rohillas—Sale of Corah and Allahabad to the Vizir—Payment refused of the Emperor's Revenue—Financial results. Mr. HASTINGS was nominated Governor-General by the new parliamentary Chap. I. authority; and General Clavering, Colonel Monson, Mr. Barwel, and Mr. v v——'
Francis, the members of the new parliamentary council; not to be removed fmt Govemduring the period assigned in the act, except by the King, upon representation °Pjpenerel made by the Court of Directors. Mr. Hastings had ascended with reputation Council, through the several stages of the Company's service; had the rank of a member of council at the time of Mr. Vansittart's administration, and generally concurred in the measures which the party opposed to that Governor so violently condemned. After a visit to his native country, to which he returned at the same time with Vansittart, he was sent back to India, in 1769, to the station of second in council at Madras; and in the beginning of 1772 was raised to the highest station in the service of the Company, being appointed to succeedMr. Cartier in the government of Bengal. Book V. The sense which the Directors entertained of the vices which up to this time
—~v——' had stained their administration in India, is recorded thus: "We wish," (these 1772. .
are the words of their letter to the President and Council at Fort William, dated the 7th of April, 1773,) "we could refute the observation, that almost every attempt made by us and our administrations at your Presidency, for the reforming of abuses, has rather increased them—and added to the miseries of the country we are anxious to protect and cherish. The truth of this observation appears fully in the late appointment of supervisors and chiefs—instituted, as they were, to give relief to the industrious tenants, to improve and enlarge our investments, to destroy monopolies, and retrench expenses, the end has, by no means, been answerable to the institution. Are not the tenants, more than ever, oppressed and wretched? Are our investments improved? Has not the raw silk and cocoons been raised upon us fifty per cent. in price? We can hardly say what has not been made a monopoly. And as to the expenses of your Presidency, they are at length settled to a degree we are no longer able to support. These facts (for such they are) should have been stated to us, as capital reasons, why neither our orders of 1771, nor indeed any regulations whatever, could be carried into execution. But, perhaps, as this would have proved too much, it was not suggested to us; for nothing could more plainly indicate a state of anarchy, and that there was no government existing, in our servants in Bengal.... When oppression pervades the whole country; when youths have been suffered with impunity to exercise sovereign jurisdiction over the natives; and to acquire rapid fortunes by monopolizing of commerce, it cannot be a wonder to us, or yourselves, that native merchants do not come forward to contract with the Company; that the manufactures find their way through foreign channels; or that our investments are at once enormously dear, and of a debased quality.—It is evident, then, that the evils which have been so destructive to us, lie too deep for any partial plans to reach or correct. It is, therefore, our resolution to aim at the root of those evils." The opinion which was formed of Mr. Hastings, leads them to express their expectation of assistance from him in these reforms, in the following terms: "Our President, Mr. Hastings, we trust, will set the example of temperance, economy, and application; and upon this, we are sensible, much will depend. And here we take occasion to indulge the pleasure we have in acknowledging Mr. Hastings's services upon the coast of Coromandel, in constructing, with equal labour and ability, the plan which has so much improved our investments there; and as we are persuaded he will persevere, in the same laudable pursuit, through every branch of our affairs in Bengal, he, in return, may depend on the steady sup- Chap. I. port and favour of his employers."* •' '• \tt2~ The double, or rather the clandestine administration; in name, and in ostent state of the by the Nabob, in reality by the Company; which had been recommended asP,^^nt ingenious policy by Clive, and admired as such by his employers and successors; had contributed greatly to enhance the difficulties in which by assumption of the government the English were involved. All the vices of the ancient polity were saved from reform: and all the evils of a divided authority were superinduced. The revenues were under a complicated, wasteful, and oppressive economy; the lands being partly managed by the shicdars, or agents of the collectors, partly farmed from year to year, partly held by Zemindars, and Talookdars, responsible for a certain revenue. The administration of justice, of which, under the military and fiscal Governors of the Mogul provinces, the criminal part belonged to the Nazim, or military Governor, the civil to the Duan, or fiscal Governor, was left, as a heavy and unproductive toil, in the hands of the Nabob; who, being totally without power, was totally unable to maintain the authority of his tribunals against the masters of the country: and the people were given up to oppression, f
The Company and their servants were little satisfied, from the beginning, with the produce of the duannee; and soon began to be little satisfied with the expedients adopted by Clive for ensuring a faithful collection. In the month of August, 1769, before the close of Mr. Verelst's administration, a supplementary security was devised: It was held expedient that servants of the Company should be stationed in appropriate districts, throughout the whole country, for the purpose of superintending the native officers; both in the collection of the revenue, and, what was very much blended with it, the administration of justice: These functionaries received the title of Supervisors: And, in the next year, was added a second supplementary security; two councils, with authority over the supervisors, one at Moorshedabad, and another at Patna.
Among the duties recommended to the supervisors, one was, to collect a body of information, with respect to the amount of the revenues; with respect to the state, produce, and capabilities of the great source of the revenue, the lands; with respect to the cesses or arbitrary taxes; the whole catalogue of imposts laid upon the cultivator; the manner of collecting them, and the origin and
* Minutes of Evidence on Mr. Hastings' Trial, p. 966.
■f This is expressly stated by Hastings, and the Committee of Revenue, in their letter of the 3d of Nov. 1772, in the Sixth Report of the Committee of Secrecy, in 1773.