Trade in the Eastern Seas, 1793-1813

By C. Northcote Parkinson | Go to book overview

NOTES

Note on East India Patronage (see p. 16)

The process by which an appointment was made, whether as cadet or writer, was a simple one and admirably suited for any corrupt purpose. The candidate, or his parents, had first to secure the favour of one of the directors. This might be done through the kind offices of some mutual friend, supposing that the candidate's relatives had no acquaintance in the direction. The director, having agreed to favour the young man's interests, filled in and signed a card of nomination. The candidate then presented the card at the East India House, and was directed to the Shipping Office. There he was laconically interviewed by a clerk, who asked him his name, questioned him briefly, filed the nomination card, and told him to return on a given day and at a specified time. Coming for this second interview, the candidate brought with him a birth certificate. He was shown into a waiting room, and ultimately brought before the Court of Directors. Someone asked him his age, and checked it by a glance at the birth certificate. Someone more important then asked him whether he had read the conditions, and whether he wished to go out to India as a cadet? Reassured on this point, the Court then appointed him, told him of the fact and had him shown out. Two minutes completed the business and the young man was free to begin ordering his tropical outfit.

In this casual method of appointment there were one or two glaring defects. One was the absence of any mechanism for ensuring that the boy interviewed and the boy appointed were one and the same. Another was the failure to insist on any qualification of any kind. Worse, however, than either of these was the complete reliance placed on the directors' honesty, perception and care. To work well, the system demanded that each and every director should be filled with a strong moral sense of his responsibility in making a nomination. Men are not like that. Inevitably, some directors were dishonest; inevitably, some were careless. Among the directors were to be found the good-natured and easy-going, the absent-minded, the trustful and the stupid; and with all these characteristics might mingle that slight laxity in principle which

-367-

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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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