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the insurgents from ever seeking an accommodation. But the same sanguinary and short-sighted policy laid the foundation of the future prosperity of Holland, and enabled the Dutch to attain, in a very short period, an unrivalled ascendency in commerce. To check the growing spirit of freedom in the Netherlands, the Spaniards destroyed the trade of Antwerp, discouraged every effort made for its restoration, and thus drove its merchants to increase the establishments and the trade of Amsterdam. Desirous of humbling the Portuguese, Philip's ministers laid the most vexatious restraints on the commerce of Lisbon, and thus compelled the Dutch, whose subsistence almost wholly depended on the carrying-trade, to seek out means for the direct importation of Indian commodities. It was still hoped that a northeast passage to the Indian seas might be discovered, and three fruitless expeditions were sent out on this hopeless inquiry. In the meantime, Cornelius Houtman, who had been made prisoner by the Spaniards at Lisbon, obtained such information from the Portuguese respecting the course of their voyages round the cape of Good Hope, that on his escape to Amsterdam, he induced some of the leading merchants to form a company for sending him out with an expedition ; and a fleet, well provided, sailed from the Texel (A. D. 1595). The Spaniards first attempted to defeat the enterprises of the Dutch by main force, but being soon convinced of their inferiority at sea to the hardy republicans, they sent emissaries to the principal eastern sovereigns, describing the new adventurers as pirates. But the Dutch admiral, Heemskirk, having captured a rich Portuguese vessel, on her way from Macao, treated his prisoners with so much generosity, that letters of thanks were addressed to him from the principal Spanish authorities in the east; these letters he produced in every port at which he touched, and thus satisfactorily refuted the calumnies which had been heaped upon his nation. A company was soon incorporated in Holland for managing the Indian trade; and the rest of the subjects of the United Provinces were prohibited from trading with Asia, either by the cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. They first occupied the Moluccas, or Spice islands, from which they were driven by the Spaniards, but soon retrieved their losses. Ere long, the Dutch and English East India companies, excited by mutual jealousy, began to assail each other's possessions. The island of Java was the chief object of their mutual ambition; after a long struggle, the Dutch prevailed, and immediately secured their acquisition by building the city of Batavia. Soon afterward, all the English merchants resident at Amboyna were massacred, and by this act of treachery the Dutch succeeded in securing for a long time the monopoly of the spice trade. They also wrested the Japanese trade from the Portuguese, and continue even now to be the only Europeans admitted to trade with the empire of Japan.
The next great object of the Dutch was to gain possession of the island of Ceylon, from which they not only expelled the Portuguese, but reduced the native princes under their dominion, and thus gained the monopoly of the cinnamon trade. They long kept possession of this valuable island, but during the wars of the French revolution it was wrested from them by the English, under whose power it still continues.
The influence of the jesuits at the court of Pekin baffled all the efförts of the Dutch to open a trade with the Chinese empire ; but they succeeded in establishing a flourishing settlement on the island of Formosa, which opened to them a lucrative traffic with the Indo-Chinese nations. But soon after the conquest of China by the Mantchew Tartars, the Formosans, joined by a large army from China, besieged the Dutch settlement and compelled the garrison to surrender. Since that period, Formosa has been annexed to the empire of China, and is no longer visited by Europeans.
The Dutch adopted a more exclusive system of policy than the Spaniards or Portuguese, and this was the principal cause of the ruin of the empire they had acquired. Their harsh conduct to the natives produced frequent civil wars or insurrections, which greatly weakened their settlements. In Java especially, their dominion was maintained only by an enormous expenditure of blood and treasure; and as other European nations began gradually to obtain a share in the spice trade, the Dutch East India company found the profits of its monopoly rapidly diminishing. During the wars of the French revolution, most of the Dutch colonies were occupied by the English, but some of them were restored at the general peace. England, however, kept the two of greatest importance, the cape of Good Hope and the island of Ceylon; but Holland still possesses the island of Java, and the monopoly of the trade with Japan.
SECTION IX.--The Danes in the East Indies.
An association was formed at Copenhagen for opening a trade with the East Indies (A. D. 1612), in consequence of the riches which so lucrative a branch of commerce seemed to have brought into the neighboring nations. A small expedition was sent out to the Coromandel coast, where the adventurers were hospitably received by the rajah of Tanjore, from whom they received permission to establish a settlement at Tranquebar. Many circumstances contributed to check the prosperity of the Danish East India company, but none more than the pertinacious jealousy of the Dutch, who excluded them from the most profitable branches of trade. But though the Danes did not attain to any remarkable eminence in East Indian commerce, they were honorably distinguished by their zeal for the propagation of the Christian religion ; and, notwithstanding their limited means, they have succeeded in diffusing the principles of true religion through a considerable portion of the south of India.
SECTION X.. The French in the East Indies.
MARITIME affairs were long neglected in France; and though Francis I. and Henry III. issued edicts, exhorting their subjects to undertake long voyages, yet either a want of enterprise in the people, or the inability of the government to afford pecuniary assistance, prevented any effort being made meriting notice. After some attempts to form an association of merchants, productive of little advantage, an East India company was founded (A. D. 1616), but meeting with some misfortunes, the members resolved to abandon the Indian trade, and to
direct their attention to the establishment of a settlement in the island of Madagascar. Toward the close of the seventeenth century, the French purchased the town of Pondicherry from the king of Visapúr, and began to form a settlement there with every reasonable prospect of
It was, however, wrested, from them by the Dutch (A. D. 1693), but was subsequently restored by the treaty of Ryswick A. D. 1697). Thenceforward, the prosperity of the colony progressively increased, and the subsequent acquisition from the Dutch of the islands called the isles of France and Bourbon, but previously the Mauritius and the Mascarenhas, led the French to hope that they might acquire an important share in eastern commerce. A new career of ambition was opened to them by the sanguinary struggles which arose between the new states formed out of the fragments of the empire of Delhi; M. Dupleix, the governor of Pondicherry, hoped by embroiling the natives with each other, to obtain territorial acquisitions as the price of his assistance to some of the combatants. The English adopted the same course of policy, and thus the ancient hostility between the two nations extended its influence to India. The talents of Clive, however, carried the English triumphantly through an arduous struggle, which ended in the almost total expulsion of the French from the peninsula, and the cession of most of their settlements, by the peace of 1763. They afterward intrigued with the native princes, Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sultan, against their successful rivals, but they have been utterly unable to regain any portion of their former influence.
SECTION XI.-The English in India. A HUNDRED years have not elapsed since the possessions of the British East India company were limited to three settlements of narrow extent, inhabited by a few hundred Europeans, who were scarcely able to defend themselves against pirates and banditti, much less compete with the power of the native princes. Now this association of merchants, from its court in Leadenhall street, rules over an empire containing a hundred millions of subjects, raises a tribute of more than three millions annually, possesses an arıny of more than two hundred thousand rank and file, has princes for its servants, and emperors pensioners on its bounty. Calcutta, froni a miserable village, has become the metropolis of the east; Bombay possesses more trade than Tyre, in the days of its glory; an:1 Madras, in spite of its perilous sui f, rivals the commercial prosperity of Carthage. There is no parallel to such a career in the annals of the world; conquerors, indeeil, have acquired a more extensive dominion in a shorter space of time, but they failed to establish a permanent empire ; after a few years, the traces of their tempestuous passage were as completely effaced as the track of a vessel in the waves of the ocean.
In the preceding chapters, we have incidentally noticed the progress of the company's empire in its relation to the general politics of Europe, but it is of importance to mark more definitely the successive steps by which such vast acquisitions have been won and secured. The history of the East India company, indeed, has more than ordinary claims on our attention; it is intimately connected with our national character and national welfare, and all must desire to know whether our eastern empire has advanced the great cause of civilization, and whether our domination is likely to endure, or to meet at some time or other a precipitate overthrow.
The London company for trading with the East Indies was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth (A. D. 1600), and remained without a rival for nearly a century, when the necessities of the state led to the formation of the English company (A. D. 1698); it was soon found that the rivalry between these bodies was prejudicial to the interests of both, and at the recommendation of his majesty King William III., the two companies agreed to form one association, to be designated " The United Company of Merchants of England, trading to the East Indies.” The first English settlement of importance was Bantam, ir the island of Java ; but in 1658, they obtained a grant of land on the Coromandel coast, near Madras, where they erected a stronghold, Fort St. George. In 1668, the island of Bombay, ceded by the crown of Portugal to Charles II., as a part of the dowry of the infanta Catharine, was granted by the king, and appointed the capital of the British settlements in India. Bengal was not at first estimated at its true value, but toward the close of the seventeenth century (A. D. 1698), the English had a settlement at Calcutta, the French at Chandernagore, and the Dutch at Chinsura, all situated on the river Hooghly. An embassy was sent to the court of Delhi with presents; fortunately one of its members was an eminent physician, and his professional aid was required by the emperor Ferrokshir. In gratitude for the services of Dr. Hamilton, Ferrokshir granted valuable firmáns, or patents of privileges to the company, which gave them great advantages over their European rivals The viceroy of Bengal, jealous of the privileges granted to the English, advanced against Calcutta, took the town, and confined one hundred and forty-six in a dungeon called the Black Hole, so narrow and confined, that only twenty-three of the captives survived till the morning (1. D. 1756). Colonel Clive, who had already given proofs of his military talents in the Madras presidency, was sent into Bengal. He soon recovered Calcutta, and took Chandernagore from the French. Finding that the viceroy of Bengal, Suraj-u-Dowlah, was obstinate in his oppo sition to the company's interest, Clive adopted the bold resolution of deposing him without waiting for, or indeed asking the emperor's sanction, although the company was at peace with the court of Delhi. Acting promptly on this determination, Clive attacked the viceroy's troops at Plassey (June 23, 1757), and gained a decisive victory. Suraj-uDowlah was deposed, and his post given by the conquerors to Jaffier Ali Khan.
After Clive's return to England, the government of Calcutta was inirusted to a council, of which Mr. Vansittart was appointed president. The rapidity with which the English had acquired supremacy in Bengal, inspired them with feelings of contemptuous superiority, which involved them in angry disputes with the new viceroy. At length, the council of Calcutta, induced by a bribe of 200,0001., resolved to depose Jaffier, and confer the viceroyship on Cossim Ali Khan. But Cossim was soon as odious as his predecessor. The servants of the East India company claimed an exemption from all duties on commerce and thus
ruined the native merchants ; Cossim, after many remonstrances to the council of Calcutta, abolished the transit duties altogether; and this act of justice to his own subjects, though extorted by necessity, was loudly exclaimed against as an infringement of his engagements with the company, and two agents were sent to demand the repeal of the decree. While negotiations were pending, the English resident seized the citadel of Patna, and though it was immediately retaken by Cossim Ali, his rage was so excited by what he regarded a deliberate act of treachery, that he put all the English prisoners to death. War was instantly declared, Cossim Ali was defeated and deposed, and Jaffier Khan was once more declared viceroy of Bengal. It is not known at what price Jaffier purchased his restoration, but he did not long enjoy it; he died a few months before Clive, who had been recently elevated to the peerage, returned as governor-general to Calcutta.
Lord Clive found the affairs of the presidency in a deplorable condition: their troops, goaded to madness by the insolence and rapacity of their officers, were in open mutiny ; the fertile province of Bengal
“marred to a wilderness" by the most corrupt of all the corrupt bodies ever intrusted with its destinies; friendly native powers were estranged by systematic extortion ; hostile princes were confirmed in their enmity by witnessing such excesses of profligacy and peculation; and, to complete his lordship's difficulties, his proceedings were controlled by a subordinate committee, wholly unused to subordination. Clive's zeal in reforming such crying abuses, procured him a host of enemies, whose resistance was encouraged by their friends and patrons in the court of directors at home. The first outbreak of opposition was a general mutiny of the military officers, supported by a large subscription from the civilians in Calcutta. Through a defect in the mutiny act, the governor-general was not able to sentence any of the criminals to death, not even those who were found guilty of planning his assassination. Sir Robert Fletcher, the general in command of the army, was subsequently proved to be the instigator of the whole plot, and having been convicted by a court-martial, he was cashiered. But it must be added, that this very officer was subsequently appointed commander-inchief of the army of Madras, where he headed the mutinous opposition by which Lord Pigot was removed from that government. Another of the mutineers, sent home by Clive, on charges that affected his life, obtained a very high appointment in the civil service of Bengal by his party interest in the court of directors.
Clive's firmness restored order in Calcutta ; and soon after, the substitution of British rule for the native viceroyalties in Bengal, removed the chier source of intrigue and peculation. But in the meantime, the presidency at Madras was brought to the brink of ruin by the arms of Hyder Ali, whose abilities had raised him from the rank of a private soldier to that of an independent sovereign. After a protracted war, Sir Eyre Coote retrieved all the losses of the English, and, on the death of Hyder (A. D. 1782), concluded a treaty with his son, Tippoo, on terms very advantageous to the company.
The charters granted at various times to the company, only secured to it the exclusive right of trade; when, therefore, it began to make territorial acquisitions, it became a serious constitutional question