« PreviousContinue »
portion of articles taken in barter by the natives. This species of commerce, so lucrative to India, and which must have deposited a large amount of gold and silver, continued for upwards of a century and an half. But, after the English Government was established in Bengal, the necessity of this commercial system no longer existed; the amount of the revenues became sufficient to purchase the cargoes of the country, and to defray the public expenditures: here, one channel of the influx of specie into Bengal was stopped, and it will be found, also, that the revolutions, which in that quarter, advanced the fortunes of the English, have materially lessened the like imports of the other European nations, who traded to Bengal. For, exclusively of finding a current sale for their commodities, they have been enabled to procure, from the English, large sums of money, for bills on Europe. An important change has also been effected on the interior commerce of Bengal, by the extinction of the Mahometan dominions.
The native princes, and chiefs of a various description, the retainers of numerous dependants, afforded a constant employment to a vast number of ingenious manufacturers, who supplied their masters with, gold and silver.stuffs, curiously flowered, plain muslins, a diversity of beautiful silks, and other articles of Asiatic luxury; the use of which, wealth, and a propensity to a voluptuous life, naturally excited. These Mahometan, or Hindoo, chiefs, have either been removed, or, being no longer possessed of their former resource, have fallen into poverty and decay; and the artisans, who had been supported in their professions by these powerful and wealthy masters, were, on their expulsion, obliged, from a want of subsistence, to quit their professions, or the country. Hence, many branches of rare manufacture, evidently declined; and some of the most precious are now no longer known. The distracted and impoverished condition of the Moghul and Persian empires, hath contributed, considerably, to lessen the great demand which was made by those states, for the produce of Bengal, when Delhi and Ispahan enjoyed reigns of grandeur and vigour. When it is considered, that the Moghul court, whether in its splendour or wealth, exceeded that of all other nations; that the numerous governors, interspersed throughout the provinces, adopted the manners of sovereign princes, arid that all their more luxurious articles of dress were fabricated in Bengal; we must conclude, that the discontinuation of such a traffic has produced strong effects. In describing this commercial event, which has brought an evident change in the quality of the trade of Bengal, I am not authorized, by any specific knowledge, to say, that a general injury has been felt by the country; perhaps, the losses which have been sustained are counterpoised by the augmentation of the cargoes, though of a different species, which are now transported, annually, to Europe.
Having already noticed the large influx of European specie, or bullion, in this country, and the cause of the cessation of this traffic, I will offer some desultory sentiments, on the subject of the diminution of the coin in Bengal, of which, grievous complaints have long existed. During the Mahometan administration, private wealth was usually expended1 on the spot where it had been acquired; and though severity and oppression might have been exercised in the accumulation, yet, by its quick circulation through the many channels of luxury, the country at large was improved and embellished, without any decrease of the general currency. It may be urged, that the expenditure of Europeans, in their public and private buildings^ has, adequately, supplied- the wants of the artisan and labourer. But, I am led to hazard an opinion, that this amount falls much short of that applied by the preceding princes to the construction of mosques, baths, Hindoo tern
piTfis, grand reservoirs ofwarir, spacious.gardens', together With a variety of costly-private edifices. These modes of expence ate neither aWapWif to the genius', of inclination of Europeans, who have no religious passion to gratify, nor arc they impelled; by patriot zeal, to raise inbriurrients' 6f grandeur in India; but holding themselves the moveable tenants of the day, t!ney are eager to reach their native hdmd, that they may there enjoy the fruits of their labour.
As the remittance of* English property to Europe could not be sufficiently attained, by means of public bills, the servants of the Corripany, and private merchants, have been often, driven to the necessity of exporting specie, though such a medium be attended with heavy loss; or they are induced to throw their cash? into foreign funds, whereby their.eWmiesi or at least, their rivals, are enriched. The injuriotrs tendency of this limitation of public remittance, having been so severely felt, and repeatedly represented' to the superior Government; iti Erigland,' it is to be expected that the chaririel'^of conveying property from India, will be operiefl iii so efficient a manner, that "the necessity of pursuing, in future, the destructive alternative of exporting gold and silver, or employing foreign agents, will be, wholly, obviated. As the private cash taken up in and hold them out to public view; without proposing remedies for the ills that are exhibited. The scantiness of my local knowledge, •will only permit nie to say, that as the welfare of the British dominion in India, ultimately depends on the prosperity of Bengal, no labour should be thought irksome, no rational plah! left untried, which may improve its revenue, or encourage its trade.
ON the 39th of May I arrived at Berham'pore. In this cantonment, which is large and5 commodious, are stationed three regiments of Sepoys, and a battalion of Europeans. On' the 15th of June",; made an excursion to Mooreshedabad, and its environs, that I might view the theatre on which those" interesting schemes had been agitated, .Which, after a* series of intrigue and bloodshed, advanced the English to the1 dominion of a wealthy kingdom.- .'.. . .,
At the distance of a mile below the city, and" on the opposite bank of the river, stands the burying place of Ali Verdy Khan, known also in India by the name of Mahobut Juftg; a mah^ who,' by his abilities as a soldier and^a states-: man, raised himself from a private condition,-to the Subahdarry of Bengal. He maintained an obstinate war with the ^lahrattas,. for' the space of eight years, and was^ -after an obstinate