Page images
PDF

The flints, when reduced to powder, are transferred from the mill into another vessel, where more water is added, and the whole is violently agitated by mechanical means; the finer parts are in consequence held in suspension above, and in this state are passed into a reservoir, while the grosser particles are left behind at the bottom of the vat. After subsidence, the supernatant water is drawn off from the reservoir, and the pulverized flint is in a fit state for use. It is considered o a proper fluidity for mixing with the clay when a pint weighs 32 oz., while an equal measure of the diluted clay should weigh 24 oz. The proportions in which the clay and flint are mixed vary with the quality of the clay, with the nature of the ware to be produced, and also with the practice of each manufacturer. Parkes, in his • Essay on the Making of Earthenware,’ &c., though his knowledge was obtained by a residence of some years at the seat of manufacture, does not give any precise information on the subject, but states that flint forms a fourth, a fifth, or a sixth part by weight of the prepared paste. The dilutions of clay and flint being brought together in suitable proportions, are intimately mixed by agitation, and passed, while in a state of semi-fluidity, through different sieves, whereby the whole becomes a smooth homogeneous mass. This mixture, technically called slip, is then very carefully evaporated, the mass being frequently stirred and turned over lest a part should become improperly hardened while the remainder continues too fluid. hen the clay or paste is removed from the slip-kiln, it is well incorporated together by beating it with wooden mallets, in order to expel the air which it contains. The next operation is cutting it into small pieces, which are thrown together again with all the strength of the workmen; and this process is continued until the mass is considered in a complete state of consistence. When in this state it should be allowed to remain for a considerable period before being used, since it becomes more intimately united by time than by any mechanical means. The paste, when taken for use, undergoes the process of slapping, which is similar in its effect to the last operation, and should incorporate the whole mass so completely, that wherever it is cut, it should exhibit a perfectly smooth and uniformly close appearance. The clay, being thus prepared, is now in a fit state for forming into ware. The processes for this purpose are of three different kinds—throwing, pressing, and casting, which are respectively employed according to the form of the article required. The operation of throwing is performed upon a machine called a potter's lathe, and is used in shaping vessels which have a circular form. By this means the thrower moulds the clay into the form which he desires; and when finished to his satisfaction, he removes his work to a board or shelf, where it is left to dry partially; and when in a particular state of hardness, called the green state, well known to the operator, the vessel is in proper order for being further smoothed and shaped in the turning-lathe, and for being furnished with handles, spouts, or any other addition. The turning-lathe is similar to that used by the turner in wood, and by means of it rings, rims, &c. are formed on the vessels. For making dishes, plates, and other similar shallow vessels, a plaster mould is used, which is placed on the block at the top of the upright spindle of the lathe, and the workman continues the process in nearly a similar manner as in throwing. When sufficiently dry to be taken from the mould, the edges are pared with a sharp knife, and the vessels are placed in piles and left to harden, preparatory to their being baked. A machine called an engine-lathe, which has a horizontal movement backwards and forwards, in addition to the rotary motion, is used in giving to earthenware a milled edge. Handles, spouts, &c. are fixed on the vessels as soon as they are taken out of the turning-lathe. They are affixed by means of slip, with which the parts designed to come in contact are moistened: in a short time, when dry, the union of the parts is found to be perfect. , Handles, &c. are made by pressure in a small metallic cylinder, which has an aperture in the centre of its bottom, to which plugs of various shaped orifices are fitted. There is likewise a piston, so fixed as to be worked by a screw up and down the cylinder. The cylinder, being filled with clay, the piston is inserted, and forces the clay through the orifice at the bottom, and consequently gives it the same form as the aperture through which it was pressed. Being then cut into lengths and bent to the desired shape, the clay is ready,

when sufficiently dry, to be joined to the vessel. For ornamental spouts, small ornaments, and other appendages of the like nature, the clay is pressed in moulds, the particulal mode of doing which may be readily conceived. When the vessels are sufficiently dry they have to be submitted to the action of fire. For this purpose they are placed in deep boxes called seggars, made of a mixture of fire-clay and old ground seggars, and capable of sustaining the most intense degree of heat without being fused. The seggars are of various sizes, shapes, and depths, adapted to the different pieces which they are to contain. In no case is one piece placed in or on another in the seggar, and all is so arranged that the heat may be equally applied to every part of each. The seggars, with their contents, are then disposed in the oven in such a way that the heat may be distributed fairly throughout: they are built one layer on the top of another until they reach nearly to the top of the oven, each seggar forming a cover to the one beneath it, and the upper seggar in each pile being always empty. The oven is of a cylindrical form, and very similar to the common kilns used for burning tiles. The process of baking usually lasts from forty-eight to fifty hours, during which time the heat is gradually increased, as it would be injurious to the ware to apply a very high degree at first. o ascertain when the baking has been carried far enough, the workman uses tests of common Staffordshire fire-clay, the pyrometer of Wedgwood having been long, laid aside. [PyRomETER.] When the appearance is considered satisfactory the firing is discontinued, and the oven is suffered gradually to cool during twenty-four or thirty hours before the contents are taken out. The ware in this state is called biscuit. The glaze is now applied; the pieces are again laced in seggars, and conveyed to the glass-oven, where eat is applied to them of sufficient intenseness to fuse the glaze; but the heat must by no means be so great as that to which the biscuit has previously been exposed, as the glaze would crack or peel off if the vessels were liable to any further o The glaze generally used for common kinds of earthenware is a compound of litharge and ground flints, in the proportion of ten pounds of the first to four pounds of the latter This method of glazing is however highly objectionable on account of its injurious effects on the health of the workman, while the lead being soluble by acids, makes a most pernicious glaze for vessels which are used for containin many articles of prepared food. Glazes for porcelain an the finer kinds of earthenware are generally made with white lead, ground flints, ground flint-glass, and common salt. But almost every manufacturer uses a peculiar glaze of his own, the manner of making which he keeps in as much mystery as possible. Some glazes are made without the admixture of any lead, and in the whole of the better glazes this ingredient enters in so small a quantity as not to be injurious. The manner of applying the glaze is, to reduce the ingredients to powder, mix them with water to the consistence of cream, and then merely dip the pieces into the preparation and withdraw them immediately, taking care that all the parts have been wetted with the glaze. When the earthenware is to be printed it undergoes this process previously to glazing. It is thus performed:—the landscape or o is engraved upon copper, and the desired colour being mixed with linseed-oil, is laid on the plate, and impressions are taken off on tissue-paper, in the manner usually employed by copper-plate printers. The paper, wet with the colour, has then all the blank parts cut away, leaving only the pattern entire, which is applied lightly to the ware when in the state of biscuit. It is then rubbed with a piece of woollen cloth, and rolled tightly in the form of a cylinder, till the colour is pressed sufficiently into the ware. In this state the whole is left for an hour, when it is placed in a cistern of water, so that the paper becomes sufficiently moistened to peel off readily, having transferred to the biscuit the colour and impression which it had received from the copper-plate. When the pieces thus printed are sufficiently dry they are placed in an oven and exposed to a gentle heat, in order to dissipate the oil: they are then in a fit state to receive the glaze. Till within the last few years, blue produced from the oxide of cobalt was the only colour employed, but at present many other colours are printed with equal facility. The art of painting on earthenware more particularly applies to porcelain: the description of the colours used,

which are all metallic oxides, and the manner of applying them, therefore more properly belong to the article under that head, as well as the method of gilding porcelain. Gold and silver lustre ware is commonly of an inferior quality. The metallic oxides used for this purpose are intimately mixed with some essential oil, and then brushed entirely over the surface of the vessel: the heat of the enamelling oven dissipates the oxygen, and restores the oxides to their metallic state, but with their brilliancy somewhat diminished. The principal seat of the manufacture of earthenware in England is in Staffordshire, about a mile from the borders of Cheshire. This district, known as “The Potteries,” extends through a distance of more than seven miles, in which there are towns and villages so thickly built and so close to each other that to a stranger the whole appears one large straggling town. There are likewise extensive manufactures of earthenware and porcelain in Yorkshire, and Worcestershire. There are establishments for making the commoner kinds of ware in many parts of the kingdom. In the evidence given by Mr. Wedgwood before a committee of the Privy Council in 1785, it is stated that the manufacturing part alone in the Potteries and their immediate vicinity gives bread to 15,000 or 20,000 ". yet this is but a small part when compared with the whole number of those who depend upon it. A very great number of persons are employed in raising the raw material and the coals for fuel, in the conveyance of these materials to the Potteries, and in the re-conveyance of the finished goods to every part of England and to the different ports where they are shipped for foreign consumption. The number of pieces of earthenware of English manufacture exported, and the real value of the same in each year, from 1831 to 1835, were as follows:–

[ocr errors]

Shipments of these goods are made to every country with which Great Britain has any trading relations. The exports in 1835 were sent to various quarters in the following proportions:—

Pieces, Value.

Northern Europe, chiefly to Ger

many and the Netherlands . 7,214,515 £65,716 Southern Europe, chiefly Portugal,

Spain, and Italy - - . 3,293,870 42,726 Africa - - - - - 855,695 10,160 Asia, chiefly East India Company's

territories, islands of the Indian

Seas, and New South Wales , 2,534,811 30,563 United States of America . . 17,527,271 246,220 Other parts of North America, chiefly

British colonies - - . 6,706,156 74, 183 Brazil - - - > . 5,369,103 . . 42, 123 Other States of South and Central

America • - e. - . 2,059,943 24,537 Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, &c. . 332,082 4, 193

-

Pieces . 45,893,446 £540,421 EARTHQUAKES are the most terrific of all natural phaenomena. The solid surface of the globe is put in motion by them, and assumes an appearance which in some cases may be compared with the sea when agitated by the wind. The least dangerous of these phaenomena are those which by the Creoles of South America are called Tremblores, a term which may be translated by tremors. The surface of the earth is put in a trembling motion, by which such objects as are not well supported are thrown to the ground, and even walls are split, but the damage does not extend farther. Life is safe, and property but slightly injured. These tremors are by far the most common kind of earthquakes, and occur in some countries of South America, especially in Chile, almost every day, at least in certain seasons. The terremotos of the Creoles, or proper earthquakes, give to the surface either horizontal oscillations, not dissimilar to the waves of an agitated sea, or they consist in violent rol. upliftings, so that it would seem as if repeated explosions were exerting their force against the roof of a subterraneous cavern, threatening to burst it open and to blow into the air every thing placed over it. By these earthquakes walls are overthrown, and fissures are

force.

produced in the ground. The latter are frequently more than a foot in width, and sometimes water gushes out of them like a fountain. Nothing makes such an awful impression on the senses as an earthquake. The earth is violently convulsed, heaving up and down in a manner hardly conceivable by those who have not witnessed it. The tottering buildings, the crashing of the timbers of the roofs, and the ‘. of the tiles, completely distract the senses. Fear drives men from their houses; but they do not always find safety out of doors. No person can stand without support: people cling to one another, to trees, or to posts. Some throw themselves on the ground; but the motion of the earth is so violent that they are obliged to stretch out their arms on each side to prevent themselves from being tossed over. Animals are equally alarmed. They stand with their legs spread out and their heads down, trembling violently. The air itself seems to participate in the convulsion, for the birds fly about wildly. Meanwhile the sea retires from the shore ; but after a few minutes it returns in a high wave, which advances like a watery wall with incredible velocity, and covers all those tracts which are not more than fifty feet above high-water mark. It rushes back with equal velocity. This motion of the sea is repeated as long as the shocks of the earthquake are violent. Vessels sailing along a coast convulsed by an earthquake feel also a motion quite different from that produced by gales or currents. The loss of life by earthquakes is sometimes considerable. It is chiefly produced by the falling of the buildings when the shock is so unexpected that the inhabitants have not time to escape. In some cases the overflowing of the sea has been fatal to a great number of persons. People have also been swallowed up by the fissures caused by earthquakes. Earthquakes are generally preceded and sometimes attended by a subterraneous moise, which is compared by some to that of a very heavy artillery waggon rolling quickly over a stone pavement at a distance; by others, to the echo of distant thunder in a mountainous country. It is worthy of remark that this noise is sometimes heard without any earthquake taking place, as in 1784 at Guanaxuato, in Mexico, and that it has been as audible in places situated at a considerable distance from the seat of the earthquake as in those which experienced the shocks. There are also several cases on record in which the earthquakes have not been attended by such subterraneous noise. Considerable changes may be produced on the surface of the globe by earthquakes. It is said that by the earthquake of 1783 in Calabria some mountains changed their relative positions to one another; but this fact is not well established. It is, however, beyond all doubt that the coast of Chile has undergone a considerable change by earthquakes during the last fifteen years. In 1822 the coast, north of Valparaiso, to the extent of fifty miles, was raised nearly three feet above its former level; in some places the rocks on the shore were raised four feet. In 1825 the island of S. Maria (near 37° S. lat.) was upheaved nine feet, so that the southern port of this island has almost been destroyed, and the soundings round the island have diminished a fathom and a half every where. The single shocks of an earthquake last from a few seconds to two or three minutes. Sometimes they follow one another at short intervals. It is remarkable that generally either the first or one of the first shocks is the most violent, and that they afterwards gradually decrease in Sometimes they return for several days, and even weeks; and in some places, as at Copiapo, in Chile, they are of daily occurrence. Earthquakes are sometimes experienced over an immense tract of country. The last earthquake in Chile (in 1835) was felt at all places between the Island of Chiloe (40° S. lat.) and Copiapó (27° S. lat.); consequently over thirteen degrees of latitude. It extended from the Island of Juan Fernandez to the town of Mendoza, on the east side of the range of the Andes, over ten degrees of longitude. But when earthquakes extend over such an immense tract of country, some districts are always convulsed with greater violence, and these may be considered as the centre of the earthquake. The farther a place is removed from these centres, the less violent, as a general rule, are the shocks. We know little, or rather nothing, of the origin or cause of earthquakes. It may, however, be considered as certain that they are due to the same agency which produces volcanic eruptions, These eruptions are frequently preceded by earthquakes; and whenever, in places situated near active volcanoes, it is observed that no smoke issues from their craters, the inhabitants begin to fear the approach of an earthquake. It is not quite certain whether or not there is any connexion between the state of the atmosphere and the phaenomena of earthquakes. It is not improbable that such is the case with the slighter shocks, the tremblores. They commonly occur, or at least are by far most frequent, at the time of the changes of the seasons, in Guatemala as well as in Chile. But the more violent concussions seem to be quite independent of the seasons, and they occur both in calm and cloudless weather and in storms and during rain. In some instances they have been preceded by luminous In eteors. Antient authors, especially Thucydides, frequently mention earthquakes; but only in general terms. Yet we learn enough from these slight notices to show that they were often equal in violence to those which in modern times have convulsed the continent of Europe and Asia. (Thucyd. 1. 101; iii. 89; v. 50; viii. 41.) No detailed description of an earthquake in Europe or in the old continent exists before that which, on the 1st of November, 1755, almost destroyed the city of Lisbon. This is the most destructive earthquake which has ever occurred in Europe. The number of persons that perished by it is stated to have been 30,000. In February and March, 1783, the north-eastern part of Sicily and the southern portion of Calabria were convulsed by repeated and very violent shocks, which overthrew the town of Messina, and killed many thousands of its inhabitants, as well as many persons in Calabria. The last considerable earthquake in Europe extended over the middle of the kingdom of Naples, and was most destructive in the districts lying along the declivities of Mount Matese. (41° 30' N. lat.) The number of persons who perished by it amounted to 3274, besides 1615 who were wounded. On the first day of the present year (1837) the countries along the eastern extremity of the Mediterranean, especially Syria, were violently agitated by an earthquake. The towns of Damascus, Acre, Tyre, and Sidon, suffered great damage, and Tiberias and Safet were entirely destroyed. It is stated that about 6000 lives were lost. America is more subject to earthquakes than any portion of the Old Continent, but they are only strongly felt between 20° N. lat, and 40° S. lat; and it is not the whole country included between these latitudes that is visited by them, but only the table-lands of the Mexican isthmus, the Andes, and the countries bordering on them, and those which are adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. Mention of earthquakes in these countries occurs in the Spanish historians of the Conquest; but it would seem as if the earthquakes were less destructive formerly than in the last century. In 1717 the town of Guatemala was greatly damaged by an earthquake on the 29th of September; and on the 29th of June, 1773, the town was almost entirely destroyed. Caracas was destroyed by an earthquake on the 26th of March, 1812, when upwards of 12,000 of its inhabitants were buried in the ruins; and the same town experienced, in 1826, another earthquake, which was hardly less destructive. Bogotá experienced a very severe shock in 1827. On the table-land of Quito violent earthquakes are frequent. In 1698, on the 20th of June, Lacatunga and Hambato were destroyed; and on the 4th of February, 1797, the town of Quito was greatly damaged, and Riobamba levelled to the ground. Not less than 40,000 persons are stated to have perished by this last earthquake on the table-land. Lima and the countries about it are likewise subject to frequent and violent earthquakes. The town of Lima was almost entirely destroyed on the 20th October, 1687, and again on the 28th October, 1746. . In this latter catastrophe the port of Callao was inundated by the sea, and the whole population perished. Arequipa has had its share of earthquakes; but the last violent one occurred in 1725. Copiapô was destroyed on the 11th of April, 1819, and again in 1822. By this last earthquake, which happened on the 19th of November, the town of Valparaiso was levelled to the ground. Santiago has suffered largely from the destructive effects of the earthquakes so frequent in Chile: on the 8th of July, 1730, it sustained great damages. But no place in Chile has so frequently been destroyed as Concepcion. It was first destroyed by the united effects of repeated shocks and the inundation of the sea in 1730, and again in the same manner in 1751. After this the town

was rebuilt on another site; but this new town and its port of Talcahuano were entirely demolished on the 20th of February, 1835. A most graphic description of this dreadful earthquake is given in the ‘London Geographical Journal,’ vol. vi. p. 319, &c., to which we are much indebted for several valuable facts and remarks. The inundation of the sea during this calamity may be compared with the narrative of a similar event recorded by Thucydides (iii. 89). EARWIG. [FoxFiculidze.] EASEL (derived by some from the Teutonic asel, or esel, an ass), the wooden frame, furnished with a set of moveable pegs, or more convenient sliding ledge, on which pictures are placed while being painted, and which raises or lowers them according to the artist's convenience. Its antiquity is manifest, from its appearance in pictures discovered in Herculaneum. EASEMENT (from the French words aise, aisement, ease), is defined by the old law writers as a service or con venience which one neighbour hath of another by charter or prescription without profit; as a way through his ground, a sink, or the like. It includes rights of common, ways, water-courses, antient lights, and various other franchises, issuing out of corporeal hereditaments, and sometimes, though inaccurately, applied to rights of common. (Kitchin; Woodd. Lect.) At the common law these privileges (which can only be created and transferred by deed) might be claimed either under an immemorial custom or by prescription; but 20 years uninterrupted and unexplained enjoyment of an easement formerly constituted sufficient evidence for a jury to presume that it originated in a grant by deed; except in the city of London, where the presumption of a grant from 20 years possession of windows was excluded by the custom which required that there should exist ‘some written instrument or record of an agreement.” Nonuser during the same period was also considered an extinguishment of the right, as raising a presumption that it had been released. By the recent statute 2nd and 3rd William IV., cap. 71, several important alterations have been made with regard to this description of property: 40 years' enjoyment of any way or other easement, or any water-course, and 20 years uninterrupted ‘access and use of any light to and for any dwelling-house,’ &c., now constitute an indefeasible title in the occupier, unless he enjoys “by some consent or agreement expressly given or made for that purpose by deed or writing.' The same statute also enacts that nonuser for the like number of years (according to the description of the particular right) shall preclude a litigating party from establishing his claim to it. The easements of the English correspond to the Servi tutes of the Roman and the Servitudes of the French law. The servitutes were a class of rights which gave rise to numerous complicated questions. Those of road, water, light, drains, were the principal. (Dig. lib.viii. Deservituti. bus ; Code Civil des Français, liv. ii. tit. 4, Des Servitudes.) EAST, the point of the compass which is in a direction at right-angles to that of north and south, and which is to: Wards, the right hand of a spectator who faces the north. The distinction between east and west must ultimately be derived from a reference to the human body; for we can only define a spectator's right hand by saying that it is the hand which is not upon the same side as the heart. EAST INDIA COMPANY This association originated from the subscriptions, trifling in amount, of a few private individuals. It gradually became a commercial body with gigantic means, and next, by the force of unforeseen circumstances, assumed the form of a sovereign power, while those by whom it was directed continued in their individual capacities to be without power or political influence; thus pre*g an anomaly without a parallel in the history of the World. The company was first formed in London in 1599, when its capital, amounting to 30,000l., was divided into 101 shares. At the end of the next year the adventurers obtained a charter from the crown, under which they enjoyed certain privileges, and were formed into a corporation for fifteen years, under the title of The Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading to the East Indies. Under this charter the management of the company's affairs was intrusted to 24 members of a committee chosen by the proprietors from among their own body, and this committee

was renewed by election every year,

The first adventure of the association was commenced in 1601. In the month of May of that year, five ships, with cargoes of merchandise and bullion, sailed from Torbay to India. The result was encouraging, and between 1603 and 1613 eight other voyages were performed, all of which were highly profitable, with the exception of the one undertaken in the year 1607. In the other years the clear profits of the trade varied from 100 to 200 per cent. upon the capital employed. At this time the trading of the company was not confined to the joint stock of the corporation, but other adventurers were admitted, who subscribed the sums required to complete the lading of the ships, and received back the amount, together with their share of the profits, at the termination of every voyage. The charter of the company was renewed for an indefinite period in 1609, subject to dissolution on the part of the fo upon giving three years' notice to that effect. n 1611 the company obtained permission from the Mogul to establish factories at Surat, Ahmedabad, Cambaya, and Goga, in consideration of which permission it agreed to pay to that sovereign an export duty upon all its shipments at the rate of 3% per cent. After 1612 subscriptions were no longer taken from individuals in aid of the joint-stock capital, which was raised to 420,000l., and in 1617-18 a new fund of 1,600,000l. was subscribed. This last capital, although managed by the same directors, was kept wholly distinct from the former stock, and the profits resulting from it were separately accounted for to the subscribers. The functions of government were first exercised by the company in 1624, when authority was given to it by the king to punish its servants abroad either by civil or by martial law, and this authority was unlimited in extent, embracing even the power of taking life. Under the peculiar circumstances of the case the granting of such a power might perhaps be necessary in order to prevent the grossest disorder in distant settlements, where no authority more regular was established; but this necessity proves only the impropriety on the part of the government of permitting the formation of settlements without at the same time making provision for the regular administration of justice. The success which attended its commercial operations naturally induced a desire for their extension. In 1632, a third capital, amounting to 420,700l., was raised, and its management, although confided to the same directors, was also kept distinct from that of the first and second subscriptions. There is some obscurity in the early annals of the company, which makes it uncertain whether the capitals here severally mentioned were considered as permanent investments or were returned to the subscribers at the termination of each different adventure. A rival association, formed in 1636, succeeded in obtaining from the king, who accepted a share in the adventure, a license to trade with India, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the chartered body, of whose rights this was deemed an infringement. Promises indeed were given that the license should be withdrawn, but these promises were never fulfilled, and after carrying on their trade for several years in a spirit of rivalry which was fatal to their prosperity, the two bodies united in 1650, and thenceforward carried on their operations under the title of “The United Joint Stock.' Two years after this arrangement was made the Company obtained from the Mogul, through the in: fluence of a medical gentleman, Mr. Boughton, who had performed some cures at the Imperial Court, the grant of a license for carrying on an unlimited trade throughout the province of Bengal without payment of duties: for this privilege the very inadequate payment of 3000 rupees (375l.) was made by the Company. Some proprietors of the Company's stock becoming dissatisfied with the management of the directors, obtained from Cromwell in 1655 permission to send trading vessels to India, and nominated a committee of management from their own body, for which they assumed the title of ‘The Merchant Adventurers.’ The evils to both parties of this rivalship soon became apparent, and in about two years from the commencement of their operations the Merchant Adventurers threw their separate funds into the §.". stock under the management of the directors. On this occasion a new subscription was raised to the amount of 786,000l. In April, 1661, a new charter was granted to the Company, in which all its former privileges were con

firmed, and the further authority was given to make peace or war with or against any princes and people not being Christians;' and to seize all unlicensed persons (Europeans) who should be found within the limits to which its trade extended, and to send them to England. The settlement at Madras, on the Coromandel coast, was made about 1648, to facilitate the investments in piece-goods, then a chief object in the trade with India; and in 1668 the Company obtained a further settlement on the western coast of the peninsula by the cession in its favour of the Island of Bombay, made by Charles II., into whose hands it had come as part of the marriage portion of the Princess Catherine of Portugal. Bombay had been in possession of the English government during only a very few years, and its cession to the Company was only made because the expense which it occasioned was far beyond the revenue which it could be made to produce to the crown. The grant declares that the island is ‘to be held of the king in free and common soccage, as of the manor of East Greenwich, on the payment of the annual rent of 10l. in gold on the ... of September in each year. At the same time the Company was authorized to exercise all the powers necessary for the defence and government of the island. The first occasion on which the Company was brought into hostile collision with any of the native powers of India occurred in the beginning of 1664, when Sevajee, the founder of the Maharatta States, found occasion, in the prosecution of his plans, to attack the city of Surat. On this occasion the native inhabitants fled; but the members of the British factory, aided by the crews of the ships in the harbour, made a successful resistance, and forced Sevajee to retire. To show his satisfaction at the conduct of the Europeans upon this occasion, the Mogul accompanied the expression of his thanks with an extension of the trading privileges enjoyed by the Company. Another attack made upon Surat by the Maharattas in 1670 was repelled with equal success. The right given to the Company by the charter of 1661 of seizing unlicensed persons within the limits above mentioned, and sending them to England, was soon exercised in a manner which produced a very serious dispute, in 1666, between the two houses of parliament. A merchant, named Skinner, had gone in a ship loaded with merchandise to the Island of Barella, off the north-east coast of Sumatra, which he had bought from the king of Jambee, and upon which he had made a settlement. His ship and the island, with all the property thereon, were seized by the Company, upon which Mr. Skinner made complaint to the government, and by his importunities caused the matter to be referred first to a committeee of the privy council, and next to the House of Peers. It is difficult to understand the grounds for this last proceeding, or how the House of Peers could act judicially upon any case not brought before them by appeal from a court of law. Having awarded a compensation of 5000l. to Mr. Skinner for his losses, the affair was taken up by the House of Commons, who sent Mr. Skinner to the Tower, and passed a resolution declaring that any person who should proceed to execute the decision of the House of Lords was a betrayer of the rights and liberties of the Commons of England, and an infringer of the privileges of their house. These contentions proceeded to such a height, and were renewed so often, that the king adjourned the parliament in consequence seven times before he was able to induce the houses, by personal interference and persuasion used to influential members of both, to erase from their journals all their votes and resolutions relating to the subject. Mr. Skinner ultimately failed to procure any redress or compensation for his losses. For several years following the junction with the Merchant Adventurers the trade of the Company was carried on uninterrupted by any serious rivalry, and with considerable success. Sir Josiah Child, who was one of the directors of the Company, in his Discourses on Trade, published in 1667, represents that trade as the most beneficial branch of English commerce, employing from 25 to 30 sail of the finest merchant ships in the kingdom, each manned with from 60 to 100 seamen,” and supplying us with saltpetre, pepper, indigo, calicoes, and drugs, besides materials for export to Turkey, France, Spain, Italy, and Guinea,

• To show how imperfectly these matters were understood at that time, it may be mentioned that in a tiact published in 1615, entitled 'The Trade's Increase, and which was greatly esteemed, complaint is made of the decay of the English navigation, which is ascribed to the great consumption of mariners in the East India trade.

without which a profitable trade with those countries could not be carried on. According to this representation, the trade of England must at that time have been insignificant indeed when compared with its amount in more modern times. In 1677-78 the whole adventure of the Company to India was 7 ships, with an investment of 352,000l. In 1678-79 the number of ships was 8, and the amount employed 393,950l. In 1679-80, there were despatched 10 ships with cargoes valued at 461,700l. In 1680-81, 11 ships, with the value of 596,000l.; and in 1681-82 there were 17 ships employed, and the investment amounted to 740,000l. It was probably the indication of its profitableness afforded by the augmentation of the trade in the later years of the series just quoted, added to the great increase of commercial capital in the nation, that caused the formation of a project for establishing a rival company in 1682-83, but which failed to obtain the sanction of the government. As one means for discouraging similar attempts in future, the Company ceased to give any detailed statements concerning the amount of the trade, and for several years we have no knowledge as to the tonnage and amount of money to which it gave employment. Such an expedient was not likely to answer the end proposed. The veil of mystery thrown around their proceedings caused the public to entertain an exaggerated opinion concerning them, and tempted many private adventurers to set the regulations of the Company at defiance, and to despatch ships to trade where, according to the general belief, such great profits were to be obtained. These interlopers, as they were called, were seized by the Company's officers wherever they could be found, and under the pretext of piracy or some other crimes, they were taken before the Company's tribunals. Sentence of death was passed upon several, and the Company boasted much of the clemency that was shown in staying execution until the king's pleasure could be known; keeping the parties meanwhile in close confinement. A new charter, to have effect for twenty-one years, was granted in 1693, in which it was stipulated that the jointstock of the Company, then 756,000l., should be raised to 1,500,000l., and that every year the corporation should export British produce and manufactures to the value of 100,000l. at least. The power of the crown to grant the exclusive privileges given by this charter was questioned by the House of Commons, which passed a declaratory resolution to the effect ‘that it is the right of all Englishmen to trade to the East Indies, or any part of the world, unless prohibited by act of parliament.’ To obtain a charter thus at variance with the feelings of the people, it is known that bribery to a great extent was practised. The books of the Company, which were examined by order of the House of Commons, proved, indeed, that such practices were by no means new ; that for many years bribes had been regularly given to men in power; and that in the year in which the charter was obtained nearly 90,000l. was distributed in this manner. The Duke of Leeds, who was charged with receiving 5000l., was impeached by the Commons; and it is said that the prorogation of parliament which occurred immediately afterwards was caused by the tracing of the sum of 10,000l. to a much higher quarter. As might be expected, the resolution of the House of Commons just recited, unnoticed as it was on the part of the crown, acted as an encouragement to new adventurers, many of whom, acting individually, began to trade with India; but a still more formidable rival arose in a powerful association of merchants, whose means enabled them to outbid the old Company for the favour of the government. The necessities of the crown being at that time great, the Company offered as the price of the confirmation of its charter the loan of 700,000l., at 4 per cent. interest; but the associated merchants offering to lend 2,000,000l. at 8 per cent. interest, this offer was preferred, and an act was passed incorporating the association by the name of ‘The General Society,' and authorizing the subscribers to trade with India, each one to the amount of his subscription, while such as desired to trade in combination might do so to the amount of their aggregate subscriptions. The old Company was allowed to trade for three years, and further to subscribe towards the stock of the General Society, of which latter privilege it availed itself to the amount of 315,000l. Those members of the General Society who preferred to trade upon a joint-stock soon after obtained another charter of incorporation, under the title of “The Eng

lish Company trading to the East Indies.' Their subscribed |

capital, which formed part of that of ‘The General Society,' being all lent to the government, their trade was by that means greatly crippled, and did not equal in amount that carried on by the old Company, which body procured an act of parliament continuing its corporate rights, and entitling the members to trade on their own account in respect of the stock which they held in the General Society. The commercial and political inconvenience that attended the working of these rival corporations was soon made apparent, and great efforts were made to bring about their union. The king himself strongly recommended such a course to both parties; but such was the spirit of hostility by which each was actuated, that whenever any advance towards accommodation was made by one, the other immediately drew back, and it was not until January, 1702, that the general terms of union were adjusted and mutually approved. The principal points embraced in this arrangement were, that of the court of twenty-four directors, twelve individuals should be chosen by the subscribers of each of the companies; that the directors should every year determine the amount of the exports, one half of which should be furnished by each company; that seven years should be allowed for winding up the separate concerns of each company, during which time each should appoint and employ separate factors in India; but that at the .. of the seven years one great jointstock should be formed by the complete union of the funds of both companies, which thenceforward were to be wholly subject to the absolute management of the same directors in England, and the same officers in India. An indenture, to which the queen was made a party, was drawn up to give efficacy to this arrangement: this indenture was passed under the great seal of the kingdom, and the two companies took the common name which has been continued to the present day, of ‘The United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies.’ That part of this arrangement which provided for the independent management of the affairs of each company in India during seven years was the occasion of many serious disagreements, which however gave place to a feeling of common danger. The necessities of the government induced it to call upon the Company for a loan of 1,200,000l. without interest, and it was impossible for it to raise the necessary funds unless their disputes were previously settled, while there was danger lest some other association might be formed which should take advantage of the wants of the government to obtain privileges at the expense of the existing corporation. Under this feeling, both parties agreed to refer their differences to the arbitration of Lord Godolphin, then lord high treasurer of England, whose award, dated in September, 1708, was made the foundation of the Act, 6 Anne, chap. 17, which is the foundation of the privileges long enjoyed by the United East India Company. Under this act, the Company advanced the sum required (1,200,000l.) without interest, to government. This sum, added to the former loan of 2,000,000l. at 8l. per cent, made the debt of the government 3,200,000l., and the interest equal to 5l. per cent. upon the whole sum. The charter which under the old indenture might have been terminated in 1711, was continued until the expiration of a notice of three years, which could not be given earlier than March, 1726, and further until the money borrowed by the government should be repaid. The Company was empowered to add the 1,200,000l. to its capital, and to raise 1,500,000l. either by bonds under its common seal or by contributions from its members. Having thus briefly sketched the history of the various bodies which, after successive unions and arrangements, came, in 1708, to form the body which has since performed so important a part in the history of the world under the title of the United East India Company, it is necessary now to give some account of its constitution and government, and to trace that part of its history which has carried it from conquest to conquest, and made it in fact one of the greatest sovereign powers of the present times. The capital stock of the Company, which, in 1708,

amounted to . - - - £ 3,200,000 was increased, under successive acts of parliament, as follows — In 1786 - e 800,000 1789 - - 1,000,000 1794 1,000,000 Making its present capital £6,000,000

« EelmineJätka »