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at one time, equally affected the import and the manufacture; and when he propofed the reform in 1780, the Calcutta Committee could not let the falt Mahals at any rate.
It is evident that the advances or outlay for the manufacture is beyond the fcale of private adventure, and the fupply of fo neceffary an article ought not to depend on chance; when the confumption of a country can be eftimated, it is obvious that a provident Government will provide an excefs, to be able at all times, to diftribute the falt at eafy prices to the inland diftricts. The checks feem obvious ;— i£ Government, to fave advances and charges, manfactures lefs falt than the eftimated demand of the country, and fells the reduced quantity at an advanced price, it realifes the revenue, but defrauds the country; the quantum of the extortion will appear on the face of the accounts: if the proper quantity is manufactured and averaged through the country, the temptation to diftrefs the frontier diftricts, by exporting inland the falt intended for home confumption, can be checked by judicious diftribu«
tion, and the export fhould be under the control and on the account of Government, not rafhly to be extended. In no political view can it be policy to abandon the internal confumption of Bengal to a precarious fupply; and we muft remember merchants have lefs intereft in the fupply of the country than the Company, and will not be content with lefs profit. If falt fhall be raifed to 4 or 5 rupees per Maund, it muft be from ignorant or corrupt mifmanagement, and is eafily corrected; but the extortion of merchants is not eafily diftinguifhed from natural fcarcity by an improvident or ignorant Government, and cannot be controlled without much inveftigation and judgement, even when inquiry is inftituted with integrity and humanity.
As to the other articles of monopoly, Saltpetre and Opium, they ftand on very different grounds: their produce do not materially affect the country or the revenue, and notwithstanding it may be true that the diftrict of Patna furnifhes three fourths, and Purneah and Oude the remaining fourth part of the faltpetre collected for the Company, it is not to be thought that it might not be obtained in other parts of the country; and it muft be confidered a monopoly in the hands of the Company as a commercial body, and fhould be maintained at the charge of the Company, by which I mean,' that the territorial revenue need not neceflarily make advances for this fpecies of produce from the foil, but merely to pay tenants after fulfilling their engagements according to contract: thus the advances of Government fhould be limited to the manufacture of cloth, falt, and produce of grain; all other articles ought not, and are not taken in kind, but when cultivated, the aflefled rent in coin fhould be fubftituted to the legal and cuftomary tender of the portion of produce.
Saltpetre neceflarily will be always an article of importance to the Company, both for the fupply of the Indian eftablifhment, and for its import to Europe. The regular replenifhing of Government ftoras, by the Company, may be made in itfelf profitable, and the fuperabundance may be fold to profit: as a commercial concern, the above conftant demand will be a fuffictent encouragement, without the aid of rigorous exclufion of competition in the inland market. The comparifon of German and JLngli/h powder fhews the difference of a fupply by contract, partly paid in-damaged powder, or by manufacture in the laboratories of arfenals, where the purity of thp ingredients cannot be evaded. The regular fupply does not require monopoly: the natives could fupply any quantity on timely notice; but this article, from its nature, fhould remain more than others under the control of the Government; and in this view the right to monopoly, founded on ufage, ought to be exercifed according to circumftances.
As to Opium, unlefs not only the whole produce of the article in Bengal, and alfo all the produce of Oude, is fubje&ed to the Company's monopoly, the ffzier's Opium will open evafions; and therefore it appears better to give up a monopoly which fanctions improper interference in the cultivation of the country, than to extend its influence.
The Commimoners authorifed by parliament, will not overlook this obvious confideration: they will alfo trace the degree of its importance as an article of export from Bengal, and of import in the markets to which it is fent. I only endeavour to demonftrate the neceffity of accurate inveftigation, and am fatisfied thac my inquiries authorife this conclufion; that every article of management may be reduced to very fimple and practicable rule, but that the inequality of offices, and inequalities of afleffments unneceffarily maintained, are the fources of corruption and abufe. I have endeavoured to trace principles, and to fhew their conlequences when reduced to practice; it will be neceflary therefore to remember, that I am fatisfied that the collector of revenues, whether Zemindar or covenanted fervant, in the Britijh as well as Mogul fyftem, ought to be paid by a per centage ;"that collections mould be as regularly divided, in extent of income and in trouble, as poflible; and that the arrangement of collections need not confufe the rights nor tenure of any Pottah-holder, or Reyut: that the agents fuperintending the