Trade in the Eastern Seas, 1793-1813

By C. Northcote Parkinson | Go to book overview

Chapter III
TRADE TO THE EAST

WHAT DID the East India Company export to India? It has already been suggested that the answer to this question should be 'Courage.' Perhaps it would be more correct to give 'Men' for an answer. Whichever reply is the more exact, it is at least clear that the Company could find little to export in the form of merchandise, and that the little it exported brought in but a scanty profit even when it did not occasion an actual loss. Whereas the men sent out, who mostly did not return, were the true means by which the wealth of Asia was procured. These men were mostly boys, and it was their sole merit that they did not run away in battle. In this quality of not running away, the East India Company had a monopoly which was secure just so long as the French could be excluded from India. It was Cobbett who, in 1808, observed 'how abominably cowardly our language respecting the French is. We appear to be more afraid of six Frenchmen than of thirty millions of Indians. . . .' And in this observation he scarcely went beyond the bounds of truth. Without French help, the native armies could do very little against the Company's troops, officered as they were by young Englishmen and stiffened by a few English units. It was not so much a matter of superior equipment or knowledge; still less of superior tactics. The native troops were beaten because their discipline broke down under fire; they ran away. And the people who will not fight sometimes end by paying tribute to the people who will.

Of the Company's export cargoes, then, the human part

-69-

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Trade in the Eastern Seas, 1793-1813
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter I- The India House 1
  • Chapter II- British India 29
  • Chapter III- Trade to the East 69
  • Chapter IV- The Eastern Seas 98
  • Chapter V- East Indiamen 121
  • Chapter VI- The Shipping Interest 164
  • Chapter VII- The Maritime Service 191
  • Chapter VIII- The Voyage 226
  • Chapter IX- Passengers 264
  • Chapter X- Naval Protection 304
  • Chapter XI- The Country Trade 317
  • Chapter XII- The End of Monopoly 357
  • Notes 367
  • Bibliography List of Authorities Arranged by Chapters 393
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