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COMPANY'S TRADE, AND DISPUTES WITH THE DUTCH.
presented that, by their failure in the spice trade, BOOK I.
CHAP. 2. and the difficulties they experienced in opening a trade for wove goods on the coast of Coromandel, 162 they were nearly driven from all their factories; and assigned as causes, partly the opposition of the native powers, but chiefly the hostility of the Dutch. The narrowness of their own funds, and their unskilful management, by the negligent Directors of a joint-stock, far more powerful causes, they overlooked or suppressed. They set forth, however, the merits of the Company, as towards the nation, in terms repeated to the present day: they employed many seamen : they exported much goods; as if the capital they employed would have remained idle; as if it would not have maintained seamen, and exported goods, had the East India Company, or East India traffic, never existed.
The detention of the ships, and the zeal with which the injury seemed now to be taken up in England, produced explanation and remonstrance on the part of the Dutch: They had appointed judges to take cognizance of the proceedings at Amboyna, even before the parties had returned from Europe. Delay had arisen, from the situation of the judges, on whom other services devolved, and from the time required to translate documents written in a foreign tongue; The detention of the ships, the property of private individuals altogether unconcerned with the transaction, might bring unmerited ruin on them, but could not accelerate the proceedings of the judges; on the other hand, by creating
· Bruce, i. 276, 277, 282. Anderson, in Macpherson's Annals, ii. 351.
BOOK I. national indignation, it would only tend to unfit CHAP. 2.
them for a sober and impartial inquiry: And were the dispute allowed, unfortunately, to issue in war, however the English in Europe might detain the fleets of the Dutch, the English Company must suffer in India far greater evils than those of which they were now seeking the redress. At last, on a proposal that the States should send to England commissioners of inquiry, and a promise that justice should be speedily rendered, the ships were released. It was afterwards recommended by the ministry, that the East India Company should send over witnesses to Holland to afford evidence before the Dutch tribunal; but to this the Company objected, and satisfaction was still deferred.
In 1627-28, the Company provided only two ships and a pinnace for the outward voyage. They deemed it necessary to assign reasons for this diminution ; dreading the inferences which might be drawn: They had many ships in India which, from the obstructions of the Dutch, and the state of their funds, had been unable to return : Though the number of ships was small; the stock would be large, 60,0001. or 70,0001. in money and goods ; And they hoped to bring home all their ships richly laden the following year. In 1628-29, five ships went out; two for the trade with India, and three for that with Persia ; and though no account is preserved of the stock with which they were supplied, a petition to the King remains for leave to export 60,0001. in gold and silver in the ships destined to Persia. In the succeding year four BOOK I.
i Bruce, i. 285, 287.
CHAP. 2. ships were sent to Persia, and none to India. Of. the stock which they carried with them no account 1629. is preserved.
As the sums in gold and silver, which the Company had for several years found it necessary to export, exceeded the limits to which they were confined by the terms of their charter, they had proceeded annually upon a petition to the King, and a special permission. It was now, however, deemed advisable to apply for a general license, so large, as would comprehend the greatest amount which on any occasion it would be necessary to send. The sum for which they solicited this permission was 80,0001. in silver, and 40,0001. in gold; and they recommended, as the best mode of authenticating the privilege, that it should be incorporated in a fresh renewal of their charter; which was accordingly obtained.
Notwithstanding the terms on which the English stood with the Dutch, they were allowed to reestablish their factory at Bantam after the failure of the attempt at Lagundy : a war, in which the Dutch were involved with some of the native princes of the island, lessened, perhaps, their disposition, or their power, to oppose their European rivals. As Bantam was now a station of inferior importance to Surat, the government of Bantam was reduced to an agency, dependent upon the Presidency of Surat, which became the chief seat of the Company's government in India. Among the complaints against
i Bruce, i. 278, 293.
4 Ib. 298.
BOOK I. the Dutch, one of the heaviest was, that they sold CHAP. 2.
- European goods cheaper, and bought India goods
dearer, at Surat, than the English ; who were thus expelled from the market. This was to complain of competition, the soul of trade. If the Dutch sold so cheap and bought so dear, as to be losers, all that was necessary was a little patience on the part of the English. The fact was, that the Dutch, trading on a larger capital, and with more economy, were perfectly able to outbid the English both in purchase and sale.
The English at Surat had to sustain at this time not only the commercial rivalship of the Dutch, but also a powerful effort of the Portuguese to regain their influence in that part of the East. The Viceroy at Goa had in April, 1630, received a reinforcement from Europe of nine ships and 2000 soldiers, and projected the recovery of Ormus. Some negotiation to obtain the exclusive trade of Surat was tried in vain with the Mogul Governor ; and in September, an English fleet of five ships endeavouring to enter the port of Swally, a sharp, though not a decisive action, was fought. The English had the advantage ; and, after sustaining several subsequent skirmishes, and one great effort to destroy their fleet by fire, succeeded in landing their cargoes.
Bruce, i. 296, 304, 300, 302.
From the Formation of the third Joint-Stock, in
1632, till the Coalition of the Company with the Merchant Adventurers, in 1657.
In 1631-32, a subscription was opened for a third joint-stock. This amounted to 420,7001. Still we are left in darkness with regard to some important circumstances. We know not in what degree the capital which had been placed in the hands of the Directors by former subscriptions had been repaid ; not even if any part of it had been repaid, though the Directors were now without funds to carry on the trade.
With the new subscription, seven ships were fitted out in the same season ; but of the money or goods embarked, no account remains. In 1633-34, the fleet consisted of five ships ; and in 1634-35, of no more than three, the money or goods in both cases unknown.
During this period, however, some progress was made in extending the connexions of the Company with the eastern coast of Hindustan. It was thought advisable to replace the factory at Masulipatam not long after it had been removed ; and certain privileges, which afforded protection from former grievances, were obtained from the King of Golconda, the
Papers in the Indian Register Office. Sir Jeremy Sambrooke's