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of the Company. The ad valorem duty will fall with the reduction of their demand, and no man who is not interested in the continuance of the present system, can doubt that the diminished cost of a commodity, so generally used, would be conducive to the morals, the comfort, and enjoyment of the people.
* But,' says Mr. Playfair, 'the admission of free traders to Canton would endanger our footing in China. Strong arguments could be here introduced, founded on the opinions of men of long experience, to prove the danger which might arise from the China trade being opened, in consequence of the jealousy and bigotry of the Natives, the intriguing spirit of the Mandarins, &c. But I shall content myself with a reference to the evidence of Sir George Staunton, before the Comınittee of Investigation of the Company's affairs, appointed by both Houses of Parliament, prior to the last renewal of the Charter, from which a just idea may be formed of the difficulties the Company have had to contend with, and continue to experience. In proportion to those difficulties, is required that regularity of demeanour, combined with firmness of character, which the civil authorities of the Company have supported, and continue strictly to observe, any alteration in which would considerably disarrange, if not totally destroy, so delicate a piece of machinery, as our trade with that country.'
It is no doubt politic to appeal to the authority of a gentleman so justly respected, in proof of this opinion. Why the evidence of Sir George Staunton in 1812, should be preferred to that given by him in 1821, we are at a loss to conceive. They are both precisely to the same effect, and we rather suspect that Mr. Playfair was not aware of the existence of the latter. However that may be, we have not the smallest desire to weaken the influence which the high character and long experience of the honourable baronet attach to his deliberate conviction; and we believe his evidence, and the pamphlet published by him some years ago, have produced, in the best informed minds, very considerable hesitation respecting the policy of permitting the indiscriminate, unregulated resort of British vessels to Canton.
The principal reason assigned by Sir George Staunton for apprehending danger from the admission of the free-traders, is, his own experience of the jealous and capricious character of the Chinese government. Disputes and misunderstandings occurred during his Presidency at the Canton factory, which it required no small degree of firmness and management to allay, and which certainly go far to justify the opinion he has formed. We are content, therefore, to admit, on the authority of Sir George Staunton, the necessity of establishing some effective control over the adventurers and sailors, who may frequent that port. Whether this be effected by extending the authority of the factory, or the establishment of a Consulate, is a subject of little moment, and merely collateral to
the merits of the question. The point really in dispute between the free traders and the Directors, is, the continuance of their Monopoly of the traffic in tea. Yielding to their fears of insubordination and disorder at Canton, Mr. Canning, when President of the Board of Control, submitted two propositions to the Court of Directors :
Ist. That the Company should allot a portion of their tonnage to individuals, in the way pointed out in the Act of 1793,
2dly. That a depôt should be formed at some island of the Eastern Archipelago, where free traders might take in tea and bring it to the ports of foreign Europe.
In either case the resort of British subjects to Canton would have been as effectually prevented as at present. To both of these suggestions the Directors, however, refused to accede. As to the arrangement suggested by the act of 1793, it probably would have failed. The tonnage allotted under that act to private speculators, was always purchased by foreigners, and few merchants would trust their ventures to the management of their chartered rivals. The establishment of a depot in the Archipelago was liable to none of the objections, until then urged by the Company, and the sudden rise and importance of Singapore sufficiently prove the wisdom and policy of such a measure. The trade (says Mr. Crawfurd) * carried on between Singapore and China, in European vessels, is very considerable. A few sail direct from Singapore to Canton; but in general the trade is conducted by English and Portuguese ships from Bengal and Bombay, especially by those from the former. Many of these take Malayan produce to China, and instead of returning as formerly, lightly laden, bring on Chinese goods to be eventually sent to Europe by the direct traders for England. These goods chiefly consist of raw silk, cassia, camphor, and nankeens. In this manner the existence of Singapore contributes, in a small degree, towards mitigating the pernicious effects of the Monopoly of the East India Company with the Chinese Empire. Through Chinese junks, there is no question but that a large quantity of tea might be imported, in a free trade, for the consumption of Europe, without being subjected to the expense of reaching us indirectly through the port of Canton; the only one with which Europeans bave any intercourse. Some of the junks trading to Singapore are from the very province most distinguished for the production of tea. In 1823, the quantity of tea imported into Singapore by Chinese junks, was only 17,640lbs. In the three following years, it rose progressively as follows:-111,200lbs., 117,148]bs., and 320,913lbs. This tea is brought from almost every port of China with which we trade, and some is even imported indirectly from Kamboia and Siam. The whole is intended for
* Embassy to Cochin China and Siam.
Native consumption, and is for the most part of the quality which in this country would be called ordinary Bohea. In 1825, it was sold at so low a price as from three pence to six pence a pound, according to quality. There is no doubt but any quantity and any quality for which the market would create a demand, might be imported in this manner, Even contemplating an event highly improbable, and I think indeed nearly impossible, the total exclusion of a direct intercourse in European vessels with China, the trade might still be carried on through the channel of the juoks, wbich in reality would amount to a direct intercourse with almost every port of a great empire, instead of with one as at present. This is virtually the present state of our commercial intercourse with Cochin China, Kamboia and Siam ; although, in the latter case especially, the navigation is longer, more difficult and intricate, than it would be with any of the ports of China carrying on a foreign trade.' ,
From this extract Mr. Playfair may learn that the expediency of withdrawing the Tea Monopoly from the Company, is not necessarily connected with the indiscriminate resort of free traders to Canton. As far as we know, it has never been proposed to open the trade to China, without first providing suitable precautions against the license and irregularity of the seamen engaged in it. All we contend for is, that the supposed difficulty of adjusting a matter of mere local police and regulation, should not be received as a conclusive objection to an alteration, promising so much benefit to the country. If the Company would permit teas to be shipped by the free traders at Singapore, and thence conveyed to Europe, their exclusive privileges at Canton would be much more secure from invasion than they are at present. The truth is, that they are much more anxious about the Monopoly of the English, than the Chinese, market. The deficiences of their Indian land revenue are supplied by the profits of this branch of their trade, and they cannot afford to renounce it. From the time when they first acquired territorial possessions until now, their financial embarrassments have incapacitated them for the task of effective reform. The exclusive privileges which they possess are necessary to the existence of the present system, and it is perfectly true, as they allege, that if deprived of the income derived from their Tea Monopoly, they could not carry on the Government of India. This may be a very good argument to prove the propriety of relieving them from a burthen so much above their strength, but when used to justify restrictions on British commerce in the East, it is in the last degree idle and inconclusive.
From the early appearance of Mr. Playfair in the arena of Eastern controversy, and the decided opinions he has formed in favour of things as they are, we presume it is not unlikely we may again hear from him during the approaching discussions. If so, we advise him to be provided with authorities somewhat more recent than those on
which he now relies. If he will undertake to refute the testimony of Mr. Rickards, Mr. Crawfurd, and other gentlemen, respecting the probable advantages of European settlement in India, and extended intercourse with the other countries of Asia, he will establish an unquestionable claim on the gratitude of the Company; but we cannot admit his conclusions without some better voucher for their correctness, than their coincidence with the opinions of Warren Hastings and Mr. Pitt.
We cannot prevail upon ourselves to respect the judgment of a writer, whose crude lucubrations it is mere pastime to refute, and who evidently does not know the merits of his own case. That our author is in this unfortunate predicament, no one who reads his pamphlet can entertain a doubt.
We had originally intended to make the 'Remarks on the East India Company's Charter,' the stalking horse for a few strictures on the present condition of India, the frame and form of our delegated authority over these vast possessions, the administration of justice, the constitution of the Court of Directors and of the Board of Control. This course would have been perfectly justifiable, seeing that Mr. Playfair, whose ambition on a moderate estimate is as the square of his information, has indulged us with his impressions on all these subjects. But in noting the passages for animadversion, we felt the iujustice of selecting, as the Company's champion, an undisciplined recruit, armed only with the rusty weapons of 1784. When Mr. Playfair has gone through the course of reading, which we have taken the liberty to recommend, it will give us great pleasure to remove any doubts he may continue to entertain. In the mean time we advise him to avoid the debilitaturum munus,' of the Company's vindication. It really is above his strength.
Epitapi ON AN INFANT.
Bright to the sun expands the vernal rose,
* Mr. Playfair may find much valuable information in the following works :- Crawfurd's Account of the Eastern Archipelago;' Crawfurd's Embassy to Siam ;' Free Settlement and Colonization of India ;'* Rickards on India ;' Reflections on the Present State of British India ;' "Minutes of Evidence before Committees of both Ilouses, in 1820-21,' &c.
State of Political Parties in England, AND CHARACTERISTICS
OF THE Last Session OF PARLIAMENT. The session of Parliament which has recently closed, presents a greater number of political anomalies than has been witnessed for very many years. As a legislative assembly, it will for ever be celebrated for one great measure of public policy and national justice,– The Catholic Relief Bill,'—but as if exhausted by the magnitude of this solitary effort, it will boast no other statute to distinguish its existence. This too has happened at a time when the peculiar exigencies of the state would have appeared to call for serious consideration and remedial enactment. Debate after debate might fairly have been anticipated on various questions ; the state of commerce and manufactures, the change in the currency and banking systems, the amendment of the common law, and the reform of the Court of Chancery, would have afforded numerous and important points of enquiry ; and on each of these all men hoped or expected discussion. They have been disappointed.
During the early part of the Session, the whole time of both Houses appeared to have been engrossed by the Catholic Question ; and sufficient pains were certainly taken by one faction, to overload the discussion with the greatest possible quantity of extraneous matter, and to disguise the poverty of their argument, by ringing almost endless changes on the half dozen ideas involved in their view of the subject. But as the debates were almost exclusively conducted by men of the third and fourth class, to whom the politicians of first and second rate only listened because it was necessary for them to watch the moment of division, it might have been expected that these greater spirits would have employed the leisure thus afforded them, in maturing those other measures, which they knew to be necessary. This they have not done, and both sides of the Houses are equally chargeable with the neglect.
It is quite true, that no important subject could have been fairly canvassed during the prevalence of the artificial excitement, so diligently kept up by the No Popery tirades ; it is equally true, that a short languor succeeded the cessation of that excitement ; in this instance it was peculiarly short ; with the exception of the very few who make the remembrance of their bigotry a part of their political stock in trade, the question was forgotten, almost as soon as it was decided.
What then was the cause of our Parliamentary idleness? why will the statute book of George IV. be comprised in its comparatively moderate space ? Be it remembered, we do not complain of this more reasonable bulk, except as we hoped for enactments which should sweep away the rubbish of past legislation. With the exception of a very crude and unsatisfactory Police Bill, nothing has been done for the reform of the law; though an Ecclesiastical