render to them of the spice trade, which is the great object of their jealousy. What I mean by an amicable footing is a complete enjoyment of the advantages of the Cape and Trincomalé and the arsenals of Batavia in time of war. The cession of Trincomalé to us in return for Negapatan would undoubtedly be a most advantageous transaction. In short, any transaction which makes the Dutch and us friends in place of enemies in India is a good one for us; and in saying this, I desire to be understood as meaning to leave them the exclusive possession of the spice trade, which, according to the ideas which they entertain of that trade, is all they can possibly desire. As to a mutual guarantee of Indian possessions nothing certainly can be safer for us or wiser for them. There can be no difficulty in accommodating them as to opium and saltpetre, but we cannot with any propriety give any further communication of the right of exporting salt without imposing a material revenue. In every other respect there can be no difficulty in placing them on the same footing as the French. When talking of Trincomalé and the navigation of the Eastern seas you write as if the possession of these was incompatible with the interest of the Dutch on account of the spice trade, but I do not exactly follow what you mean in that observation. I do not see how there is any inconsistency between their having the exclusive spice trade, and yet our having Trincomalé as a safe asylum for our fleets, and our having a free navigation in the Eastern seas for the purposes of our China trade, and likewise for the purpose of opening new markets both for our Indian and European manufactures. . . .
DUNDAS-GRENVILLE CORRESPONDENCE 30 May to 1 July 17901
1790, May 30. Wimbledon.
... In order that I might be perfectly confident of the grounds of the propositions I stated on Friday evening in our discussion of the Dutch projet, I thought it right to send for Mr. Fergusson, lately from Bengal, that I might know the sentiments of the greatest European merchant, I suppose, ever came from India. The result of the conversation is to confirm me with confidence in the following points:--
1. That the spice trade, except as a monopoly, is of no value worth mentioning, 2. That a place of intercourse in the course of navigation between India and China, where our ships may meet the traders and inhabitants of the Eastern Isles, and barter their commodities, is____________________