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A Short View of the Laws Now Subsisting with Respe

A

SHORT VIEW

OF THE

LAWS

Now subsisting with Respect to the Powers of the

EAST INDIA COMPANY

To borrow Money under their Seal, and to incur Debts in the Course of their Trade, by the Purchase of Goods on Credit, and by freighting Ships or other Mercantile Transactions.

LONDON:

Printed for W. NICOLL, in St. Paul's Church-Yard. MDCCLXVII.

A short View, _&c._

As many erroneous opinions have been industriously propagated with respect to the powers of the East India Company to contract debts, I think it a duty to the Company and to the public, to give a fair state of the laws now subsisting with respect to these matters, by which the prejudiced may be set to rights, the ignorant informed, and the malevolent deceivers of the public exposed and detected.

By act 9 and 10 William III. c. 44. Sec. 75. the Company is allowed to borrow on the credit of the two millions lent to Government, but is restrained from borrowing any greater sums than shall be employed in their trade, without, however, any restriction as to the amount of such borrowing, only such borrowing must be under common seal.

By Sec. 86 of the same statute, the Company is directed to take care that the sum total of its debts do not exceed the amount of its funds and effects, and if they shall reduce their funds and effects by dividends, so as not to leave sufficient to answer their debts, the persons who receive the dividends are each made answerable to pay the debts, to the amount of the dividend respectively received.

By act 9 Ann, c. 17. Sec. 2. The Company having lent to the public 1,200,000_l._ more, they are allowed to borrow under their common seal, to the amount of 1,500,000_l._ above what they might lawfully borrow by the preceding act.

By act 7 Geo. I. c. 5. Sec. 32, the Company is allowed to borrow under their common seal for carrying on their trade or lending on bottomry, to the amount of the sum due from the publick, _or five millions_.

By act 17 Geo. II. c. 17. Sec. 8. the company having advanced _one million_ more to government, the power of borrowing under their common seal, is extended to one million above what they might borrow before that act.

In consequence of these acts, the Company has always considered itself entitled to borrow to the amount of six millions under its common seal.

By act 23 Geo. II. c. 22. Sec. 5 and 6. the Company was authorized to convert part of its bond debts into annuities, to the amount of 4,200,000_l._ but it is declared that its power of borrowing granted by former acts should continue in force, but that the amount of the annuity should be computed as part of what they were empowered to borrow.

In consequence of this last act, the Company did convert 2,992,440_l._ or near _three millions_ of their bonds into annuities, and they owe besides, by bonds under their common seal, 2,898,124_l._ so that the total amount of their bonds and annuities is 5,890,564_l._ which is 109,436_l._ under the six millions which they are entitled to borrow by bonds and annuities.

In the course of the Company's trade, they have been in the practice, like all other merchants, of purchasing goods upon credit, and of contracting for ships upon freight, and only advancing a part of that freight 'till after the voyage was compleated. It was impossible for them to carry on their trade in a proper manner in any other way, for if they had paid ready money for all their goods, and advanced the whole freights, they would have been exposed to imposition in the quality of the goods, and to misconduct in the freighters of the ships, without retaining in their hands a proper sum to repay such damage as the Company might suffer by the hands of the freighters or merchants.


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