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the value of their money of account, that I never can recommend it to the imitationof any trading nation.
But although I am of opinion that no bank can be eftablifhed in Bengal under the authority of the Company, with the fame advantages as in Europe, where governments are better eftablimed, and property well fecured, fHll I am far from believing that the circulation of Bengal may not be greatly aflifted by the ufe of paper currency.
I have obferved above, that the lending of money to ftrangers by the fervants of the Company, who have a redundancy of wealth, contributed not a little to produce a drain of fpecie from Bengal; I have alfo hinted, that certain reafons might engage the Company to borrow this money from them upon reafonable terms.
From this circumftance, I think there is an opening for the eftablifhment of paper credit.
Let us then fupppfe the money borrowed by the Company from their fervants in India to be fufficient to compenfate what the latter now lend to ftraugers.
Were it propofed to them, either to fubfcribe their claims upon the Company into a banking fund, or to receive reimburfement from the Company to the extent of what may be fubfcribed by others for this purpofe; this new fund may be divided into mares, of rupees, transferable
as the funds are in England, bearing per cent. intereft, irredeemable by the Company for years; and an exclufive privilege may be granted to the fubfcribers for the fame number of years, for the purpofe of carrying on a banking trade; by the iffuing of notes in the difcounting of goods, bills payable in days; or in confidera. tion of pledges of treafure, jewels, or precious effects, depofited in the bank; or upon the mortgage of good property, and the beft perfoual fecurhy, for fuch length of time as may be judged reafonable and lafe; or in thepurchafeof gold and filver j or, laftly, for advancing certain fums of money to the Company, upon the fecurity of their annual revenue, according to the pra&ice of the Bank of England. All thefe articles of credit to be given in confideration of fuch rates of intereft as to the Company may feem reafonable, and as the fame may be regulated by the Company in the charter to be by them granted to the faid banking company.
But the faid banking company fhall be prohibited from launching out into any precarious object of commerce, or from iffuing their paper upon any other fecunties except thole above fpecified. Under thefe, and fuch other regulations as the Baft-India Company may think proper to add, this banking Company may be laid open to natives as well as Europeans: it may begin to difcount bills and notes of hand at fhort dates, which it may renew according to the goodnefs of the fecurity; and the Eaft-India Company may with fafety receive in payments the paper it iffues upon difcounting fuch bills and notes, to the extent of the money owing by themfelves; or they may furnifh out of their treafures what coin may be neceflary for the ready difcharge of fuch notes as may be prefented for payment at the bank.
It will, no doubr, be neceflary that the managers of the banking trade fhould quarterly lay before the proprietors an exact ftate of the notes in circulation, and of the fecurities received by the bank, at the time of their being iflued. And for the greater fecurity againft the malverfation of thofe who are in the direction of the bank, and who muft be chofen into the direction by the body of proprietors, let it be declared, that the fum of in the banking ftock mall be neceflary to intitle any one to be a Director: and farther, that the whole property (in India) of fuch Directors mall be pledged, while they hold their office, as an additional fecurity for their good adminiftration.
It is impofiible to fay what operations may be carried on by this bank, and how far it may in time extend its credit. It may for this purpofe open offices in all the principal cities of Bengal; which will be admirably well calculated for calling in and recoining all the old and unequal coin. The Shroff's will naturally become proprietors, and will lend their afliftance in this particular, which will be a douceur for them. They will be employed in a trade fomething like what they now carry on; but it will be fo fenced in by proper regulations, that it will have every advantage and none of the inconveniences of the prefent practice.
If it be thought expedient to eftablifh granaries, or banks for the circulation of grain, this Company will be at hand for carrying on the operation.
In fhort, it is impoflible to foretell the many advantages which may follow the eftablimment of credit, fecured upon a folid fund of property, in the hands, and tinder the protection, of the Company, who are to have no fhare of the profit, and the greateft intereft in preventing the iffuing of paper upon precarious fecurity.
It would not, I think, be proper to ad