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That the inveftments of the Company fhould be made in the beft goods and the choice of the market, is juft and reafonable; but care lhould be taken to prevent the Company's fervants from becoming the purchafers of what remains, with a view to make a profit upon it in the retail to fhangers.
I do not object againft this purchafe be. caufe a profit upon it does arife to the fervants of the Company; this, in my opinion, fhould rather be a reafon for approving it, both in favour of the fervants, and becaufe it is a drawback upon the profits of thofe who rival the Company in its trade: but when we confider Bengal to be a country belonging to the Company, expofed to many drains in confequence of this property, and to one among the reft not inconfiderable, viz. the price paid for the raw materials of all the goods exported by the Company without any profit to Bengal, it will be expedient to encourage as much as pofiible the fale of all that is over the inveftments of the Company, in fuch a way as to increafe the demand of Grangers* which cannot be fo well ao complifhed, as by leaving a rcafonable profit both to manufacturers and to foreign merchants. Had, indeed, Bengal no occafion for foreign refources, I fhould pro* pole no farther reftri&ionson the Company's fervants in buying up goods upon their private account, than what might be neceffary for the protection of the manufactures.
To enter particularly into the regulations proper to be made with refpect to the trade of Bengal, requires the moft intimate knowledge of the fiate of every branch of It: I fhall, therefore, content myfelf with fuggelting the objects of fuch regulations. Thefe I take to be,
Fir/I, The branch of importations by the Company. As to this, the regulations will relate to the public fales of the goods imported, and to the rules to be followed by all thofe who are to vend fuch goods in every part of the country. Uniformity muf t here be obferved: if every purchafer be not intitled to the fame freedom; if every purchafer be not fubjected
to the fame duties upon retail; and if thefe liberties and thefe burdens be not exa&ly fpecified; this branch of trade will never flourifh as it ought to do, for the emolument of the Company and the ready fupply of the confumer: and as I am informed that there is very little abufe in this particular branch of trade, it will ferve as a good model for regulating the reft.
Secondly, The inveftments of the Company for the European market. Here all proper encouragement muft be given to manufacturers: if it be thought proper to accept of part of the rents of the lands in goods, fuch goods muft be of a determinate kind, fo as to come under a regulation of prices; and although the nature and the profperity of trade require freedom on all hands, ftill this freedom is not incompatible withj fuch regulations as may infure to the manufacturer the prices and profits which the Company fuppofe t& be confiftent with the intereft of their own trade, and fufficient to produce a living profit to their induftrious fubje&s, which from abufes they are fometimes deprived of.
Thirdly, The internal trade of 'Bengal", or the faleof its manufactures for the confumption of the country, and the fupply of all other markets, by merchants who are, or who are not, in the Company's fervice. What I fhall obferve concerning this is, that regulations ought to be made general with refpect to all traders: whatever cuftom, duty or excife be laid on, let them affect every trader equally; let the general and only Perwannah be the Company's regulation; let the only duftuck be a permit from the Cuftom Houfe; let frauds by the merchants, let oppreffions by the Company's fervants, be punifhed by courts of juftice, who then will have a written law before them to regulate their decifions.
The fourth and laft branch of trade is, the importations from the Afiatic nations, principally confifting of the raw materials for manufactures: of this enough has been already faid; I fhall only add, that premiums may be given to thofe who will explore the rivers and avenues leading to the countries which abound in fuch productions, and fecurity granted to the natives who will bring fuch goods' , tomarket.
• Many bitter inve&ives have been thrown
out againft the excife impofed upon falt, beetle-nut, and tobacco; and becaufe thefe articles of confumption have been mono* polized, and that the profits have fallen into-the hands of private perfons, it is rafhly concluded that the trade in them mould be laid quite open. I confefs that I fee the queftion in a very different light: the beft of all taxes are moderate excifes;
the moft productive excifes are thofe impofed on the neceflaries of life; they raife the price of living univerfally and proportionally, and therefore enable every induftrious man to raife the price of his labour in proportion to the tax he pays: they are hurtful to the idle; but I do not attend to the intereft of the idle, any farther than to difcover methods for making them induftrious.
The plan followed in France for levying a tax upon falt and tobacco will furnifh the Company with many good hints for eftablifhing one branch of excife upon