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SIR JOSIAH CHILD (163o - 1699)

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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 135 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR JOSIAH CHILD (163o - 1699)  ,
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English merchant, economist and governor of the East India
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Company, was born in
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London in 163o, the second son of Richard Child, a London merchant of old
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family . After serving his apprenticeship in the business, to which he succeeded, he started on his own account at Portsmouth, as victualler to the
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navy under the
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Common-
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wealth, when about twenty-five . He amassed a comfortable fortune, and became a considerable stock-holder in the East India Company, his
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interest in India being accentuated by the fact that his
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brother John (q.v.) was making his career there . He was returned to parliament in 1659 for
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Petersfield; and in later years sat for Dartmouth (1673-1678) and for Ludlow (1685-1687) . He was made a
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baronet in 1678 . His advocacy, both by speech and by pen, under the pseudonym of
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Philopatris, of the East India Company's claims to
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political power, as well as to the right of restricting competition with its trade, brought him to the
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notice of ,the shareholders, and he became a director in 1677, and, subsequently, deputy-governor and governor . In this latter capacity he was for a considerable time virtually the
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sole ruler of the company; and directed its policy as if it were his own private business . He and his brother have been credited with the change from unarmed to armed
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traffic; bfit the actual renunciation of the Roe
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doctrine of unarmed traffic by the company was resolved upon in
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January 1686, under Governor
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Sir Joseph Ash, when Child was temporarily out of office . He died on the 22nd of
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June 1699 . Child made several important contributions to the literature of
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economics; especially Brief Observations concerning Trade and the Interest of
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Money (1668), and A New Discourse of Trade (1668 and 1690) . He was a moderate in those days of the " mercantile
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system," and has sometimes been regarded as a sort of
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pioneer in the development of the
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free-trade doctrines of the 18th century . He made various proposals for improving
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British trade by following Dutch ex-ample, and advocated a low
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rate of interest as the " causa causans of all the other causes of the riches of the Dutch
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people." This low rate of interest he thought should be created and maintained by public authority .

Child, whilst adhering to the doctrine of the

balance of trade, observed that a people cannot always sell to foreigners without ever 141ying from them, and denied that the export of the precious metals was necessarily detrimental . He had the mercantilist partiality for a numerous population, and became prominent with a new scheme for the
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relief and employment of the poor; it is noteworthy also that he advocated the reservation by the
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mother country of the sole right of trade -With her colonies . Sir Josiah Child's eldest son, Richard, was created Viscount Castlemain in 1718 and
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earl of Tylney in 1731 . See also Macaulay,
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History of England, vol. iv.; R . Grant, Sketch of the History of the East India Company (1813); D . Macpherson, Annals of Commerce (1805); B . Willson, Ledger and Sword (1903) . (T . A .

End of Article: SIR JOSIAH CHILD (163o - 1699)
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