Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/241

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


highest degree satisfactory. Peace had been concluded between the great Mogul and the English. That mighty potentate had not only withdrawn his troops from the factories, but had bestowed on the Company privileges such as it had never before enjoyed. Soon, however, appeared a very different version of the story. The enemies of Child had, before this time, accused him of systematically publishing false intelligence. He had now, they said, outlied himself. They had obtained a true copy of the Firman which had put an end to the war; and they printed a translation of it. It appeared that Aurengzebe had contemptuously granted to the English, in consideration of their penitence and of a large tribute, his forgiveness for their past delinquency, had charged them to behave themselves better for the future, and had, in the tone of a master, laid on them his commands to remove the principal offender, Sir John Child, from power and trust. The death of Sir John occurred so seasonably that these commands could not be obeyed. But it was only too evident that the pacification which the rulers of the India House had represented as advantageous and honourable had really been effected on terms disgraceful to the English name.[176]

During the summer of 1691, the controversy which raged on this subject between the Leadenhall Street Company and the Dowgate Company kept the City in constant agitation. In the autumn, the Parliament had no sooner met than both the contending parties presented petitions to the House of Commons.[177] The petitions were immediately taken into serious consideration, and resolutions of grave importance were passed. The first resolution was that the trade with the East Indies was beneficial to the kingdom; the second was that the trade with the East Indies would be best carried on by a joint stock company possessed of exclusive privileges.[178] It was plain, therefore, that neither those manufacturers who wished to prohibit the trade, nor those merchants at the outports who wished to throw it open, had the smallest chance of attaining their objects.