helpless Americans; and in proportion to the 
natural fertility of the countries which they 
inhabited, they were, besides, much more 
populous. The most barbarous nations
either of Africa or of the East Indies, were 
shepherds; even the Hottentots were so. 
But the natives of every part of America, except 
Mexico and Peru, were only hunters
and the difference is very great between the 
number of shepherds and that of hunters
whom the same extent of equally fertile territory 
can maintain. In Africa and the East 
Indies, therefore, it was more difficult to 
displace the natives, and to extend the European 
plantations over the greater part of the 
lands of the original inhabitants. The genius 
of exclusive companies, besides, is unfavourable
it has already been observed, to 
the growth of new colonies, and has probably 
been the principal cause of the little progress 
which they have made in the East Indies
The Portuguese carried on the trade both to 
Africa and the East Indies, without any exclusive 
companies; and their settlements at 
Congo, Angola, and Benguela, on the coast 
of Africa, and at Goa in the East Indies
though much depressed by superstition and 
every sort of bad government, yet bear some 
resemblance to the colonies of America, and 
are partly inhabited by Portuguese who have 
been established there for several generations
The Dutch settlements at the Cape of Good 
Hope and at Batavia, are at present the most 
considerable colonies which the Europeans 
have established, either in Africa or in the 
East Indies; and both those settlements are 
peculiarly fortunate in their situation. The 
Cape of Good Hope was inhabited by a race 
of people almost as barbarous, and quite as 
incapable of defending themselves, as the natives 
of America. It is, besides, the half-way 
house, if one may say so, between Europe 
and the East Indies, at which almost every 
European ship makes some stay, both in going 
and returning. The supplying of those 
ships with every sort of fresh provisions, with 
fruit, and sometimes with wine, affords alone 
a very extensive market for the surplus produce 
of the colonies. What the Cape of 
Good Hope is between Europe and every 
part of the East Indies, Batavia is between 
the principal countries of the East Indies. 
It lies upon the most frequented road from 
Indostan to China and Japan, and is nearly 
about mid-way upon that road. Almost all 
the ships too, that sail between Europe and 
China, touch at Batavia; and it is, over and 
above all this, the centre and principal mart 
of what is called the country trade of the East 
Indies; not only of that part of it which is 
carried on by Europeans, but of that which is 
carried on by the native Indians; and vessels 
navigated by the inhabitants of China and Japan
of Tonquin, Malacca, Cochin-China
and the island of Celebes, are frequently to 
be seen in its port. Such advantageous situations 
have enabled those two colonies to surmount 
all the obstacles which the oppressive 
genius of an exclusive company may have occasionally 
opposed to their growth. They 
have enabled Batavia to surmount the additional 
disadvantage of perhaps the most unwholesome 
climate in the world
The English and Dutch companies, though 
they have established no considerable colonies
except the two above mentioned, have 
both made considerable conquests in the East 
Indies. But in the manner in which they 
both govern their new subjects, the natural 
genius of an exclusive company has shewn itself 
most distinctly. In the spice islands, the 
Dutch are said to burn all the spiceries which 
a fertile season produces, beyond what they 
expect to dispose of in Europe with such a 
profit as they think sufficient. In the islands 
where they have no settlements, they give a 
premium to those who collect the young blossoms 
and green leaves of the clove and nutmeg 
trees, which naturally grow there, but 
which this savage policy has now, it is said, 
almost completely extirpated. Even in the 
islands where they have settlements, they have 
very much reduced, it is said, the number of 
those trees. If the produce even of their own 
islands was much greater than what suited 
their market, the natives, they suspect, might 
find means to convey some part of it to other 
nations; and the best way, they imagine, to 
secure their own monopoly, is to take care 
that no more shall grow than what they themselves 
carry to market. By different arts of 
oppression, they have reduced the population 
of several of the Moluccas nearly to the number 
which is sufficient to supply with fresh 
provisions, and other necessaries of life, their 
own insignificant garrisons, and such of their 
ships as occasionally come there for a cargo 
of spices. Under the government even of the 
Portuguese, however, those islands are said 
to have been tolerably well inhabited. The 
English company have not yet had time to 
establish in Bengal so perfectly destructive
system. The plan of their government, however, 
has had exactly the same tendency. It 
has not been uncommon, I am well assured, 
for the chief, that is, the first clerk of a factory
to order a peasant to plough up a rich 
field of poppies, and sow it with rice, or some 
other grain. The pretence was, to prevent a 
scarcity of provisions; but the real reason, to 
give the chief an opportunity of selling at a 
better price a large quantity of opium which 
he happened then to have upon hand. Upon 
other occasions, the order has been reversed; 
and a rich field of rice or other grain has 
been ploughed up, in order to make room 
for a plantation of poppies, when the chief 
foresaw that extraordinary profit was likely 
to be made by opium. The servants of the 
company have, upon several occasions, attempted