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of her soil,—her manufactures also have enjoyed a high reputation from the earliest antiquity. This branch of national industry, as Lord Lauderdale has ingeniously shown, is materially influenced by the wants of the several classes into which society is divided. India contains a great number of inhabitants that are extremely poor, and a few who are immensely rich. To meet the demands thus created, she produces on the one hand a great mass of coarse fabrics, and on the other a small quantity that is exquisitely fine. To exhibit themselves in splendid robes is a favourite object of oriental luxury: accordingly, the labours of the loom had reached a perfection to which those of no other country except Britain, and that very recently, made even an approach. The delicate and flexible form of the Hindoo, the pliancy of his fingers, and the exquisite sense with which they are endowed, even his quiet indefatigable perseverance, all render him peculiarly fitted for this description of employment. The muslins of Dacca in fineness, the calicoes and other piece-goods of Coromandel in brilliant and durable colours, have never been surpassed. Yet they are produced without capital, machinery, division of labour, or any of those means which give such facilities to the manufacturing interest of Europe. The weaver is merely a detached individual, working a WORKS IN GOLD AND SILVER. 327


web when ordered by a customer, and with a loom of the rudest construction,—consisting sometimes of a few branches or bars of wood roughly put together. There is even no expedient for rolling up the warp; the loom must therefore be kept stretched to its full length, and becomes so inconveniently large that it cannot be contained within the hut of the manufacturer, who is therefore compelled to ply his trade in the open air, where it is interrupted by every vicissitude of the weather. That in an art which such pains have been taken to carry to the highest perfection no attempt should have been made to improve the machinery, and to remedy the most obvious inconveniences, is a striking example of that blind adherence to ancient usage which forms so prominent a feature in the Hindoo character. The silk manufacture is also of great antiquity in India, and carried to considerable perfection, though not nearly equal to that of cotton. Bandanas, and other handkerchiefs, crapes, and taffetas, are the forms in which it is chiefly produced. The shawls of Cashmere, made from the wool of a species of goat, constitute an exquisite fabric, which bears a high price in every quarter of the world; but it belongs only half to India, being worked on its northern border, and consisting of a material entirely furnished by Tartary and Thibet. The use of gold, silver, and precious stones forms another object of Indian ostentation. To her princes and great men no present is so acceptable; and hence no expense is spared in obtaining them. Besides being the instruments of his pomp, they serve as a convenient means for hoarding up wealth; his jewels are an important part of every prince's treasure, and are regarded as public property. There arises thus a demand for ingenious workmen in gold and silver, as well as for such as excel ill the cutting, polishing, and setting of precious stones; and all these operations are performed with superior skill. Yet here, too, the instruments are extremely rude and defective. The ground is the workman's bench; his hands and feet the vice, and his tools only some misshapen pieces of iron. He carries on his trade in an ambulatory manner, waiting till he is sent for by a customer; when, packing up his little set of implements, he hastily obeys the summons. The demand for the finer manufactures of Hindostan has within the last fifty years greatly diminished. All branches of industry have been deeply affected by the fall of so many great sovereigns and splendid courts, where alone remunerating prices could be obtained. The astonishing success with which they have been imitated by several nations of Europe, and particularly by Britain, has also very much reduced the quantity brought into this part of the world, and made them be regarded as little more than objects of curiosity. Nor is this all. The fabrics of Manchester, of Glasgow, and of Paisley, by the superior cheapness which they combine with their excellence, have superseded on their native soil the finest which India can produce. The only cloths that now meet a sure sale are those coarse cotton robes woven in almost every village for the use of the great body of the people. The commerce of India, prior at least to the opening of that with Mexico and Peru, was considered the most copious source of wealth of any in the world. This impression, for reasons already hinted, was in some degree illusory; yet India always produced commodities of great value and beauty; and though the demand has somewhat diminished, in consequence of the improved state of manufactures in this country, an annual value amounting to more than five millions sterling, conveyed nearly 15,000 miles, marks it still as one of the most important objects of British enterprise. Cotton piece-goods, muslins, calicoes, though in a smaller degree than formerly, are still extensively exported. Silk manufactures and Cashmere shawls are only introduced in limited quantities. Opium, pepper, and indigo are articles in general use over the world, which are chiefly drawn from India. Thrown silk and cottonwool, though of secondary quality, make their way, by dint of cheapness, in the British market. Sugar, saltpetre, borax from Thibet, and various minor articles, form an addition to the cargoes of our Indian ships. The European returns have always been an object of considerable difficulty. The orientals, generally speaking, have shown very little taste for the productions of the West, and were wont to require that by far the greater part of their commodities should be paid for in gold and silver. This was a circumstance deeply afflicting to the commercial speculators of the old



school, who measured the wealth of every country solely by the abundance of the precious metals which it possessed, and looked upon the relinquishment of these as the most ruinous of all transactions. This was a chimerical distress, the grounds of which are now almost entirely removed. The company, by means of their territorial revenues, and of the remittances from their servants to England, are enabled to supply the pecuniary part of their investments with very little export of bullion; while the private merchants have obtained nearly the same result by the great quantity of European manufactures which they have succeeded in introducing. Formerly woollens were the only British fabric that could find a market, and the company even boasted that they sent out these solely on a patriotic principle, and with loss to themselves. At present numerous articles are sold, not excepting cotton, the staple commodity of India herself, which in 1829 was exported to the extent of above a million and a half sterling. The following is a statement presented to parliament, showing the proportion of merchandise and bullion in rupees, imported to and exported from India by the company and private traders, for the years 1827-8 and 1828-9:

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The mode in which the commerce of India is carried on is a subject of deep importance, and has given rise to very warm discussions. We have seen this trade from its first establishment uniformly conducted by exclusive companies, the only interruptions being caused by the occasional opposition of rival bodies. The mercantile public, notwithloud and repeated remonstrances, were never to any share, till on the renewal of the charter in 1793, it was stipulated that the company should set apart 3000 tons of shipping for the accommodation of private traders; but this boon was found to be quite nugatory. In 1813, therefore, when another renewal of the charter was required, the principles of free trade, which had been gaining ground, and the immense British capital for which employment was required, produced an impulse too strong to be resisted. The company were indeed allowed to retain the monopoly of China trade, which alone yields them any profit, but were obliged to consent that the traffic with India should be thrown open under certain restrictions. These limitations were, that it should be conducted only under license from the directors, in vessels of not less than 350 tons burden, and the homeward cargo brought only into certain towns where sufficient warehouses and docks had been provided. The ships of private merchants were also restricted to the leading ports of India,—Calcutta, licenses for any intermediate one, and were expected not to refuse without some special reason; while their decision could be reversed by the board of control. The limitation as to tonnage was taken off in 1823, and a license was no longer required for the principal settlements; but the other restrictions were continued. The company likewise retain, as rulers, the power of preventing any person from taking up his residence in India, or even proceeding into the interior more than ten miles from the capitals of the three presidencies, without special license. This costs from seven to fifteen guineas, with securities to a considerable amount that the individual shall not become chargeable to the local government. Under this arrangement British merchants have engaged with characteristic enterprise in the Indian trade, and carried it to a most remarkable extent. They may now be said to have driven the company entirely out of the field, and the trade left to them appears to be preserved only by submitting to extensive loss. The following is the result of their transactions for the year 1829-30, as reported to parliament:—



the company might

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