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to a million, exclusive of the private trade. This trade was an export trade.
I beg to observe, that last year, when gentlemen on the other side denied the fact of such an export, there appeared a pamphlet in London, written, I apprehend, with the approbation of ministers, and founded on extracts from the India house, setting forth the export in the year 1790 to China, of British goods and manufactures, to the amount of 600,0001. in that year; and the minister appeared to think the trade so valuable, that he sent out an ambassador to promote, regulate, and establish it; and I must add, that, in official correspondence touching the same, the trade to China has been particularly, relied on as capable of producing great benefits to England. Having proved the actual export of goods and manufactures to the East, I have answered the argument that denied the possibility of so doing; and I have refuted the two assertions of the former year, first, that there was no Indian market for British manufacture; secondly, that there was no Chinese market for them. It remains to consider, whether such exports consist of produce or manufacture, which Ireland does actually or may be expected to furnish; those exports are woollens, steel, copper, tin, iron; and I will say, without apprehension of contradiction, that glass, hard-ware, all kinds of metals and naval stores; and I might add other more minute particulars, are articles which the East would take, and which Ireland could now, or may be well expected in the course of time to furnish ; and, if any thing was wanting to refute the assertion that this country was not capable of making such an export, it is the opinion of the gentlemen who made the assertion, an opinion manifested in the offer of a vessel of eight hundred tons to export annually to the East the goods and manufactures of Ireland.
Am I to understand, that if the trade was unshackled, you could not export any article; but that the limitation of the commerce to eight hundred tons, and of the progress of the vessel to the three ports of Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, creates a want of your manufactures, and in you a capacity of exporting them ?
The next argument against the trade of Ireland was, that it was a pernicious import trade; nothing but import, and that import, loss and luxury, cottons, wools, sugar, raw silk, indigo, dying stuff, nitre, drugs, and spices of immense value, articles of oriental growth, some of them your general consumption, some of them the rudiments of your manufactures, the dearness of which in Ireland is a grievance. What was the case of cotton wool last year? Was it not extremely dear,
and more so, because the English resorted, I apprehend, to your markets, and bought it up here in considerable quantities? Would it have been no advantage to have had then a free importation of cotton from Bengal ? no advantage to have now a free importation of cotton from Guzarath, on the Malabar coast, where cotton is the cheapest - an importation free from the immense load of the East India Company's freightage? The quality of the cotton wool of India cannot be bad, because the manufacture made of that cotton is so excellent, that the English do not think they can meet it in their own markets, and therefore prohibit the wearing of foreign cotton. The quantity of East India cotton is infinite, and the price considerably less.
Suppose the Company carry on their trade better than they have done, and supply England abundantly with East India cotton wool; suppose the private traders, authorized by the present India bill, or licensed by the Board of Controul, should do this, and that then the Parliament of England lays a prohibition on the export of cotton; what an advantage this is to the cotton manufacture of England over Ireland, added to those which she already possessed over us! The case of sugar is stronger; the high price of that article is excessive; the price of East India sugar is beyond all comparison less than that of the West; it may have risen a little of late, because the planters in the East were not prepared for the demand ; but it must appear of necessity cheaper than the West India sugar, if you compare the price of slaves in the West Indies with the price of labour in the East, which is, as I am informed, but a penny a day.
Here Mr. Grattan went into a statement of the difference in the price of East and West India sugar, and concluded, that East India sugar might be brought home at above thirty per cent. less than West India; and that by the monopoly of the Company, Ireland confined herself in sugar to one market, - the British plantations; whereas England had two if she chose it, Asia as well as the West Indies, the cheap market as well as the dear one.
The Irish duty on that article is regulated by the Parliament of England. Suppose she shall raise that duty still higher, and encourage the import from the East ; she may thus destroy your sugar manufacture. You seem, by this bill, to put the dominion of your trade in this particular, out of your own hands.
The next article is raw silk, another rudiment of manufacture; judge of the importance of that article, by resorting to the evidence that appeared before your manufacturers' committee, to which I refer you. As to tea,
I allow it is no primum of manufaeture, but it is an article of general consumption, and, in other countries, of commerce; generally dearer by far at the sales of the Company, than in other parts of Europe.
I have an account of the sales of tea at Amsterdam, L'Orient, Lisbon, and Gottenberg, and the sales of tea in London, at or about the same time; and hence it will appear from the fact, the superior dearness of tea in London. It happens that the Company sometimes have resorted to the sales in Europe, in order to supply their consumers, and Ireland among others; if you add to this, the addition which the price must receive from the freight to Ireland, and other circumstances attending the circuitous trade, you will find, that for an article of which you consume 2,000,000 of pounds, you pay an immoderate price to the Company. There are other articles, such as
pepper, wherein you would not merely save by a trade to Asia, but have a profit, the calculation of which would surprise you. From ihis statement I conclude, in direct opposition to the assertion of the former session, the import from the East would not of necessity.be a ruinous import, but might be a very beneficial one; beneficial to the merchant in particular, and the country in general. And, against both the assertions of the last sessions, that one which maintained you could have no export for your produce and manufactures, and that one which said you would be prejudiced by the import, I say you might have a probable export and profitable import.
I might support by authorities what I have proved by figures. Adam Smith observes, in direct contradiction to those who have depreciated a trade to the East, that it might not only be a profitable trade, but much more profitable than a trade to the West, and gives his reasons; Hindostan, China, Japan, and those regions being more civilized, rich, and populous, must be more advantageous sources of commerce than the American or West Indies.
I might add other authorities, and some official, which insist that the China trade in particular might be rendered a most valuable trade to Great Britain; that trade which gentlemen have insisted was the most pernicious; and if I were permitted to suggest my own ideas on the subject, I cannot believe that nations, innumerable in number, various in produce, abundant in growth, redundant in riches, and in most of the rudiments of your manufacture overflowing, would not in any period of time open a source of profit to your growing industry, intelligence, and speculation.
A third objection to your trade to the East was, the distraction of your capital, as if you did not now expend near half a million of your capital annually on Eastern produce; the tea is paid for in ready money; the English duty is paid in advance, and only drawn back on certificates; the Company take no articles of Irish produce, growth, or manufacture; so it is a circuitous trade of import for money. If you exported one yard of woollen to the East, it would be for so much a diminution of this distraction of capital ; if one man came from England with his capital to trade to the East, it would for so much be a saving of Irish capital; and that money would come we know; it is not a matter of expectation but certainty. If you imported Eastern goods cheaper than you do at present, it would be for so much a saving of Irish capital.
I have shown this Company to be the dearest merchant withi whom you can deal: permit me here to observe, that the freightage of this Company has been 101. a ton dearer than they now admit to be necessary, and more than 101. a ton dearer, (near, perhaps, one-half dearer,) than the freightage of the private merchant ; but you will better understand how dear the East India articles, brought from the Company, and sent to Ireland, must be, when you know that the freightage, the charges, the custom, and the 6 per cent. charges on merchandize, amounted all together to near 90 per cent. of the original price of the goods purchased by the Company, and sent to Europe. From hence two conclusions follow: the profitable nature of the trade, and the improvident manner in which it is carried on by the Company, and I believe it may be truly said, that the East India Company has been the instrument of remitting revenue, but not of extending the commerce of the East. Whatever, then, would be saved in the price of the article here, is for so much a diminution of the distraction of capital; and that much would be saved, appears from the statement I have shown of the charge of this Company on their commerce. The objection, then, of the distraction of capital ; goes for the direct and open trade to Asia; in order to invite foreign capital and save your own; in order to export your produce, and recover so much of your capital; in order to pay so much less for the articles you now consume; and for so much diminish this distraction of capital ; and in order to import abundantly the rudiments of manufactures, and repay yourself manyfold, perhaps for this supposed distraction of capital ; it is a mistake to say, that a trade of import for bullion is always a bad trade; it may be an excellent one; it is often the case of the carrying trade, it is the case of the trade of Holland, and it is often the case of these trades, where foreign produce is manufactured at home, and afterwards exported, perhaps at tenfold advantage; nor is it a fact, that the trade to the East would be an import for bullion. It was said the trade of England to China was such: I have shown the contrary; I have the account; I have a return of the exports of goods and ballion to China, for the latter four years, and instead of bullion being the whole of the export, it was not one-half; but it is a mistake to suppose that the export of bullion is always a loss. Bullion must be considered as so much labour sold for profit, which is exactly the case of the export of bullion to China. I have an account of the sale for four years ; in the last year it only amounted to 600,000li, and it appears, that on the sale of what cost about two million and an half, there was a profit of about half a million. I may therefore, conclude this head, by observing, that the objection, founded on an alledged distribution of capital, relies on arguments that have no existence either in the facts of the existing trades, or in the general principles of commerce.
It has been objected that you would trade no where but to China: that is another mistake. I will tell one place where you could trade to, the East Indies, to the British settlements in the East Indies; you are almost the only nation in Europe that has no ships in these settlements: the nations of Europe and America trade there at alien duties; which duties are small compared to the charge for the rest of the Company, and are much more than drawn back by the difference; the want of information, in this particular, has prevented your merchant from adventuring on an East India trade, as the want of information, that your ports were free and open with respect to the East, prevented foreign or British merchants from resorting to you ; they thought your ports were shut, and you
did not know the British East India ports were open.
It has been said, you cannot trade without settlements and without exclusive companies. I answer that argument by your own; that all nations that have had settlements there, and exclusive companies, have suffered this trade, save only the British company, which company is converted from the business of advancing trade to that of advancing empire, and furnishes another argument against exclusive companies for the purpose of commerce, and in favour of Adam Smith, who attributed the ill success of Europe, in her trade to the East, that she has traded by exclusive companies ; and I have shown you that a company like the British, with a territory fertile in the extreme, containing