Affairs of the East India Company: Minutes of evidence, 26 March 1830

Pages 1016-1022

Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].

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In this section

Die Veneris, 26 Martii 1830.


The Lord President in the Chair.

The Honourable Mount Stuart Elphinstone is called in, and further examined as follows:

You stated in your Evidence Yesterday, that the Grants of Land called Jaghires are resumable by the Government, at Pleasure, at the Death of the Occupier; are they in general so resumed?

Under the Native Government they are not in general so resumed, because the same Motive for keeping the Troops up continues to exist that existed at the Time they were granted.

Have they been resumed under your Government where Occasion has offered?

All the Jaghires in the Mahratta Country which were for the Maintenance of Troops were resumed at the Conquest, that Portion only being left which was for the Maintenance of the Chief himself and his immediate Followers. When the Chief was not a Member of a Family of Consequence, or where there was no other Motive for keeping up the Allowance, the Jaghire was resumed at his Death. The Native Governments frequently resumed, even during the Life of a Jaghiredar, when they were offended with him.

Are the Committee to understand that there has been no Resumption under the Government of the Company during the Life of the Occupant?

I do not recollect any Resumption since the first Conquest from the Mahrattas.

Is there any regular Principle laid down as to the Resumption of Grants when Opportunity is afforded for it, or is each Case left to be considered on its own Merits?

In the old Territories I think each Case is left to be considered on its own Merits. In the Deccan, when I quitted that Part of the Country to go to Bombay, I sent in a List of all the Jaghiredars with a Recommendation specifying which should be perpetual and which should be resumed, and on what Occasions.

Can you state generally the Principle on which you made the Distinction?

I think all granted from The Great Mogul or the Mahratta Rajahs, and all which belonged to very old Families under the Peishwas, were to be perpetual.

Was that with a view to the Maintenance, in the Country, of that Class of Society which we should describe as the Aristocracy?

Partly that, and partly to conciliate the Feelings of the Natives.

Where the Jaghires are resumed, and no fresh Grants made to Individuals, in what Manner are they disposed of?

There exists no Rule for their Disposal at present. I strongly recommended that they should form a Fund from whence to afford the Rewards for meritorious Native Servants of the Government.


What Extent of Interest is given to the Native Servants when those Grants are made to them as Rewards?

They are sometimes granted for Life, sometimes for more than one Life, and sometimes perpetually. It will probably be best that the Grant should frequently be perpetual.

Do you conceive that the Prospect of acquiring Land under such Circumstances operates as a strong Stimulus to the Exertions of Individuals?

I should conceive that it certainly would.

You stated in your Evidence Yesterday, that considerable Grants were enjoyed by particular Families, naming the Putwurdens particularly, and very advantageously managed by them; will you describe more particularly what those Families are?

It is one single Family of that Name. They have branched into several Divisions. The Lands which they originally held have been divided among them, and they have obtained new ones, so that they possess a considerable Tract of Country. Though not of very old Standing (probably the Third Generation), they were Military Chiefs under the Peishwa, and their Lands were granted them for the Maintenance of Troops in his Service.

Can you state what their System of Management is?

I am not acquainted particularly with the Details of their Management; but I have heard their Success ascribed to their not farming their Lands; to their Moderation in Assessment; to their always employing the same Servants; and to the Advantage they derive from the Emigration of numerous Cultivators from the worse managed Districts of the Peishwa in their Neighbourhood.

Have the Lands under those Circumstances materially improved in productive Value?

They have improved considerably in productive Value.

You are of Opinion then that there is a Disposition in the Natives of India to emigrate freely into Districts in which they find themselves liable to be moderately assessed, and where they find the Security of Person and Property?

I think there certainly is such a Disposition, though it may be limited by Distance and other Obstacles.

Are the Persons to whom Jaghires have generally been granted of the Hindoo or the Mohamedan Faith?

Generally the Hindoo; though those of the Moguls are perhaps more frequently Mohamedan; but those form but a small Part of the Whole.

Have you observed any Difference in the System of Management between those of the one and the other Persuasion?

Generally speaking, the Mohamedans are more careless and more rapacious than the Hindoos; but some of the Hindoos are quite as bad as any Mohamedans.

Which of the Two Descriptions have the greatest Disposition to accumulate Capital?

I should think the Hindoos, decidedly.

In Cases where Capital has been so accumulated, in what Way is it generally applied?

A good deal is hoarded by the Chiefs that have a Disposition to save, and it is spent by their Successors who have another Turn. Great Sums are expended on Marriages and on other great Ceremonies.

Is there any Disposition to apply it in Commercial Speculations?

The great Native Chiefs often lend out Money at high Interest, which is employed in Commerce; and they sometimes employ Banking Houses to carry on Commercial Business on their Account; but this is seldom avowed, and is not the general Practice.

In those Cases is it lent to Native or to European Merchants?

To Native Merchants.


Do the Natives acquiesce willingly in the great Powers which are understood to be exercised by the Jaghiredars?


With as much Willingness as in the Sentences of other Tribunals?

Quite as much, unless in Cases where the Proceedings of the Jaghiredars are evidently tyrannical, which sometimes they are, owing to individual Character.

Do you conceive considerable Attachment to exist towards the Jaghiredars where they conduct themselves with Leniency towards the Population under them?

I conceive that the People are attached to them, but it is not so strong as a Clannish Attachment.

You stated that the Survey of the Country, intended with a view to a new System of Leases, was not yet completed?

Not yet.

No Leases have been made under the particular Plan you described Yesterday, namely, that for a limited Term, not to be increased afterwards?

None have been made in furtherance of that particular Plan; but Leases have been ordered in the whole of the District of Guzzerat for Seven Years, no immediate Alteration in the Assessment being considered necessary there. Most of Guzzerat is not heavily assessed at present; it is the most flourishing Country in India.

What are the comparative Advantages which Guzzerat possesses?

It is very difficult to answer that Question. Probably that it is a Country into which the Mahrattas were never able completely to introduce their Authority; or at least that People discontented with their Government have very great Facilities in retiring beyond the Reach of its Power.

Under what Authority then was Guzzerat administered?

It was administered under the Authority of the Mahratta Government; but it is full of Forests and Ravines, and Places that are very difficult of Access, and into which their Cavalry could never penetrate, and where they could never perfectly establish their Dominion. The Inhabitants of the most accessible Parts had always those Retreats to retire to in case they were oppressed by the Native Government.

Do you conceive then the Prevalence of the ancient Usages of the Country to have been more favourable to its Prosperity than any regular Native Government?

I am not sure that it is so much owing to particular Usages of that Country, as to the Limit which was placed to the Exactions of the Government by the Means which the Natives possessed of evading them.

Can you state generally the degree of Variation in the Amount of Produce throughout the Country arising from the Variety of Seasons?

I cannot state it very precisely; but it sometimes amounts to a total Failure of all Revenue.

You mean to the Failure of Produce to such an Extent as to make it impossible to extract a Revenue?


In comparing the Lands leased to Zemindars with those leased to Ryots, have you found it more easy to deal with the one Description than with the other?

Lands are leased to Zemindars (though not bearing that Name) in one Part only of the Bombay Territory. It has not been found easy to manage, owing to the Difficulty of protecting the Ryots from the Exactions of the Zemindars.

With respect to the Payments due to the Government, and in his other Relations with them, is the Zemindar, or the Person answering to that Appellation, more punctual and more to be depended on than the Ryot?


I should think there would probably be less Fluctuation in the Revenue where the Payment was by the Proprietor of a considerable Tract of Country than where it was by individual Ryots.

Is the Existence of a Class of Persons under the Description of Zemindars an Advantage to the Government in other respects?

In that Part of the Country it is by no means an Advantage to the Government. The People are particularly oppressed; and from particular Circumstances I do not conceive that the Zemindars are attached to the Government. The principal Circumstance is, that they are chiefly Dependents of the Peishwa's Government, recently elevated by its Favour.

Is there any Difference in the Moral Character or Education of the Zemindars, as compared with the Ryots, to the Advantage of the former?

There is a considerable Difference. The whole of the Zemindars in the Part of the Country alluded to are Brahmins, and consequently of the educated Class; they are generally People that have been connected with the Government, or with farming the Revenue.

You do not conceive then that any of the beneficial Effects to Society, and the Existence of a better Class, or an Aristocracy, is attained by the Maintenance of the Zemindar Class?

Certainly not in that Instance; but I beg to observe that this Class is entirely dissimilar to that which bears the same Name in Bengal.

You consider then that the same Circumstances, affecting the Gradations of Society, do not apply in the same degree to the different Parts of India?

I do not conceive that they do.

Can you state whether the Zemindars in Bengal are Brahmins of the same Description as you have stated the Zemindars under the Bombay Government to be?

No; they are quite a different Description of People; they are seldom Persons that have been employed in the Public Service.

Will you state upon what Circumstances of Difference in their Condition you found the more favourable Opinion you appear to have of the Zemindars of Bengal, as compared with those under the Bombay Government?

I have had very little Opportunity of judging of the Zemindars of Bengal, especially in Bengal Proper, where they principally exist; but I know that the Administration of the correspondent Class in Bombay is attended with very bad Effects, which I do not hear to be observed to an equal Extent in Bengal.

You stated in your Evidence Yesterday, that none of the higher Ranks are employed as Native Judges; does that arise from their Indisposition to undertake that Office, or from their supposed Unfitness for it?

From their Indisposition.

How do you account for that Indisposition to hold Offices necessarily connected with the Exercise of great Authority?

Most of them have been accustomed to great arbitrary Authority under the former Government, and would not be contented with so limited a Share of Power as they would possess under our System.

Supposing the Salaries of the Native Judges to be increased, would that produce a Desire to hold those Offices?

I make no doubt it would in some degree; but I am not certain that it would improve the Administration of Justice, as it is probable that those great Chiefs would be less attentive than Persons of lower Rank.

From what Class of Persons are the Judges now selected?

The Question is not easy to be answered, from the great Difference in the Grades of Society in India and in this Country; but they are generally Persons who have been employed in the middle Ranks of Offices under the former Government.

You stated Yesterday your Doubts as to the beneficial Effects of the Introduction of the Jury System into the Native Courts in India; does that apply equally to what we term the Grand and the Petit Jury?


I think it applies equally; the Power of the Grand Jury being smaller, the Inconvenience would be less, but I think the Advantage would be proportionably so. The Object in India is not to prevent innocent Persons being brought to Trial, so much as to obtain the Assistance of Natives to sift the Evidence brought forward against Persons who are accused.

Do you conceive any Advantage would result from a Combination of the Supreme Court with the Court of Sudder Adawlut, for the Purpose of administering Justice to the Natives?

I do not think any Advantage would result from it. It would have a Tendency to introduce the Technicalities of the English Law into the Administration of Justice in the lower Courts.

Should you, for the same Reason, consider that the Establishment of Circuits by the Supreme Court would be objectionable?

I should.

Supposing it was thought expedient to form a new Code or System of Legal Regulations for the Natives, would it be necessary, in your Opinion, to have a different Code or System in the different Parts of India, owing to the Variety of Laws and Usages which prevail?

Yes, I conceive it certainly would.

Do you think it would be found quite impracticable to apply One common Code to the whole of the Indian Territories?

I think it would. There might be a general Correspondence, such as may be found in Countries in Europe the Laws of which are founded on the Roman Law; but there must also be very great Points of Difference.

Subject to those Differences, do you think that such a Regulation might be attended with Advantage?

Perhaps at some remote Period it might; but in the present State of our Knowledge of India I think it is desirable to abstain from all Attempts to introduce Uniformity.

Do you conceive it necessary to maintain in India Two distinct Systems of Law for the Europeans and for the Natives?

I think it is. The Europeans would never be contented with the System of Law that suits the Natives; and the probability is, that great Alterations might be made to accommodate them that would not be equally suitable or even acceptable to the Natives.

Do you conceive that any Dissatisfaction exists in the Minds of the Natives, from the Idea that there is one Law for the Europeans and another for them?

I should not think there was, as they are accustomed, even amongst themselves, to see different Classes living under different Laws. There may be some Dissatisfaction from the Courts to which the Europeans are subject not being equally accessible with those to which the Natives are subject.

Having filled different Official Situations in various Parts of India, have you formed any Opinion, as to the Native Race, which is most capable of Improvement; or do you consider them all in the same Light in that respect?

I do not conceive that the Difference is very great. Some are more tied down by Religious Prejudices than others, and consequently less accessible to Improvement.

Do you conceive that upon the whole those Religious Prejudices are in any degree diminishing under the present System of Government?

Amongst some few of the educated Classes only, I think they are.

Do you see any probability of that Diminution of Prejudice extending itself further among the other Classes of Society, either from the Effect of Education or any other Circumstances?

A very great probability, from the Effect of Education.

How does it appear to you that the Objects of Education can be most extensively and usefully effected?


By the Encouragement to the greatest Extent of Village Schools; by the printing of Books for the Use of those Schools, and of Books of Entertainment and Instruction for the lower Class of People; by the Foundation of Colleges for higher Branches of Knowledge, and by the Publication of Books in those Departments of Instruction. Probably more by a systematic Education of the Natives for Office than by any other Means that can be attempted.

Are the Brahmins or other Persons who possess Authority among the Natives favourably or unfavourably disposed to the Extension of Education amongst them?

In general I should think they are rather unfavourable, though some Individuals have exerted themselves to promote it.

But you do not apprehend such a degree of Resistance from them as would ultimately defeat the Object?

I do not; as long as they do not perceive the inseparable Connection between the Diffusion of Education and the Destruction of the Superstition on which their Power is founded.

In reference to the Education of the Company's Servants at Home, you have stated Objections to exist to a separate System of Education; do you conceive that the Knowledge usually acquired at our Schools and Colleges is a sufficient Preparation for young Men to go out to India, and to exercise the Functions which are there allotted to them soon after their Arrival?

I should think they were. They might perhaps with Advantage also be instructed in the Grammars of the Native Languages; and those who chose, in Sanscrit and Arabic, which are dead Languages in India as well as here. But all other Knowledge peculiar to India is better acquired on the Spot; while much Knowledge is attainable in England which can never afterwards be obtained in India.

Would it not be necessary to establish a Preparatory System of Education, then, after their arriving in India?

Some Attention would be necessary to provide Native Instructors for them; but I think their Studies might be left to their own Conduct, provided they were subjected to strict Examinations before Employment.

Is there any thing that occurs to you beyond what you have already stated, calculated to effect an Improvement in the Condition of the Native Subjects of The East India Company?

I have stated the principal Means of improving their Condition; which are, light Assessment, clear Laws, Education, and Employment. No other Means of improving their Condition occur to me; but I might perhaps lay more Stress on Education expressly for Employment, as contributing so much to promote the Fitness of the Natives for taking a Share in the Administration of the Country, and also as affording a Stimulus to Education, by the Connection which it establishes between Instruction and Promotion.

Would there be any Difficulty in finding Persons in India calculated to carry on the Education of Natives with the particular view you have described?

Very great Difficulty in procuring Persons capable of teaching the European Branches of it; that is one of the principal Obstacles which is felt to the Promotion of the higher Branches of Native Education. The only Remedy would be, to provide young Men properly qualified in this Country, who should proceed to India at a sufficiently early Age to admit of their learning the Languages of that Country.

Have you any doubt, that supposing such a Supply were provided from this Country in the first instance, a sufficient Number of Natives might ultimately become qualified to carry on the Business of Education, in the Sense you have described?

I have no doubt of it.

Is there any Willingness on the Part of the Natives to learn the English Language?

There is no Unwillingness; but there is no great Disposition among them to learn it, except where they are likely to be employed in Offices where a Knowledge of English is necessary.


Is the Condition of those Lands that are granted as Jaghires superior to the Condition of those for which a regular Rent is paid?

Generally speaking, I should say not, though there are Instances in which Jaghire Lands may be superior to any of those which pay a Revenue; but of this Fact I am not positive.

How is it with respect to those Lands that are held at a small Quit Rent, or those that are held without paying any Rent at all?

The Difference between them and the Lands which pay Rent is by no means so great as might be expected.

Are the Sea Customs ad valorem or rated Duties?

There was an Alteration of the System going on when I left India. I rather think a Tariff was to be established, according to which all Duties were to be paid; or rather they were paid according to certain Rates, and the Value was to be fixed by the Tariff.

Has the Rate of the Sea Customs been recently diminished?

I think not, under the Bombay Presidency.

Do you know what Proportion the Transit Duties bear to the whole Amount of that levied under the Head of Customs?

I think the Sea Customs of the Bombay Presidency are about Twenty Lacs of Rupees, and the Transit Duties from Ten to Fifteen, or thereabouts.

Do you conceive that the Transit Duties affect the Price of the Articles upon which they are levied to a degree beyond the Amount of the Duty itself?

Some Increase of Price must be occasioned by the Loss of Time occasioned by Detention.

Are the Transit Duties collected within our own Territories, or merely on the Passage through our Territories to the Territories of the Native Princes?


Are the Sea Customs charged on every Species of Produce and Manufacture, whether British or Foreign; is it an universal Tariff?

The Charges are different, I believe. Those on British Produce are regulated by Act of Parliament, and those on other Produce by the Regulations of the local Government.

Do the Transit Duties apply to the same Articles exactly?

They apply to many Articles not imported by Sea. I rather think the Payment of Sea Duties exempts the Goods from the subsequent Payment of Transit Duties; but I am not positive.

Do you conceive, that if the Transit Duty was commuted for an Addition to the Sea Duty the Articles would come to the Consumer at as a low a Rate as they do now under the Two Duties?

The Articles imported by Sea would not; but many Articles which now pay Transit Duty would, no doubt.

What is the general Proportion of the Land Assessment to the Produce?

That is extremely uncertain; but it is generally reckoned at from One Third to One Half; seldom, I believe, so much in reality as One Half.

Would the Condition of the People in general be improved if the Land Assessment were substantially reduced to a lower Proportion?

It certainly would.

Would such an Improvement in their Condition give them increased Means of purchasing such Articles as those upon which the Sea Customs are now levied?

It no doubt would give them the Means; but I doubt whether those are the Articles on which they would first expend any Addition to their Incomes which they acquired.


Upon what Articles do you think they would expend those increased Means?

More probably on the domestic Productions which they are now in the habit of consuming than on Foreign Imports. The Benefit would chiefly be derived by the Poor, who would consume more Grain and wear more Clothes than they do at present.

Would not that general Improvement of the Country tend ultimately to a greater Consumption of Articles imported from Abroad?

No doubt it would.

Would not in that Case the Sea Customs bear a moderate Increase of Duty?

They clearly would bear an Increase in case of such an Improvement as is supposed.

You stated that you conceived it would be advantageous if greater Facilities were given to the Residence in India of Persons possessing Capital, provided the Power of Removal were still retained?

I think too much Facility cannot be given to the Settlement of Capitalists in India.

What are the Rules by which the Grant of such Facilities is now regulated?

I have not the Means of answering that Question. They are granted in England by the Court of Directors and the Board of Controul.

You think that an Extension of the Facility is desirable?

I am not aware what Facilities are at present afforded, or whether the Number of the Capitalists who go to India is limited by the Difficulty of obtaining Permission.

Does it require the Permission of the Governor of the Presidency to enable such a Person to reside at any Distance from the Presidency?

I believe it does. My Difficulty in answering the Question is occasioned by my not being able to distinguish in my Memory between the Cases of Persons who have obtained the Permission of the Court of Directors to reside in India, and those who have not. Persons that have not the Permission of the Court of Directors are frequently allowed to reside at the Presidencies without being questioned; but the greatest Difficulty is made in permitting them to go into the Interior. There are however but few Europeans residing in the Interior of the Provinces under Bombay.

What particular Articles of Produce might be extended by a greater Application of Capital?

I am not very capable of answering that Question; but Sugar and Cotton occur to me.

Could Silk?

There is not much Silk produced under Bombay at present, but I think that it might. Some was produced in the Southern Mahratta Country, owing to the Exertions of the Gentleman who was Collector there.

One of your Answers seemed to imply that Redress of Injuries by one Native against another was more easy than by a Native against a European; is that the Meaning you wish to express?


Will you state to what Extent and in what Manner a Protection exists to a European that does not to a Native?

In serious Matters no Redress can be obtained from a European by a Native, except by Application to the Supreme Court at the Presidency.

To what degree are Proceedings in such Cases more tedious or more expensive?

They are more tedious and expensive, in the first place, owing to the Distance. I am not able to speak precisely to the additional Expence or Delay, from the different Nature of the Proceedings, but I should think it was considerable.


To a Native residing at a Distance from the Presidency, is such Redress unattainable?

It is certainly not unattainable if he has the Means of proceeding to the Presidency, or of employing some Person there; but to a poor Man it is.

Where in any Case the Government has Reason, from Information it has received, to believe that any European Functionary has misconducted himself to any Native, is it not the Practice to institute a Commission of Inquiry, for the Purpose of ascertaining the Circumstances?

It is.

And in the event of the Fact being proved, would not the Person so convicted be punished by Deprivation of Office or Dismissal from the Service?

Yes, he certainly would; and probably be prosecuted in the Supreme Court also.

This Partiality of the Law, if it may be so called, applies not to Functionaries only, but to European Residents?

Yes, it does.

Is Redress more easy to a European against a Native than to a Native against a European?

It certainly is. None of the Difficulties to which I have referred exist in the case of a Native. There is more Facility, as far as mere Regulation goes, in complaining against a Functionary than against a private European.

Will you state the different Circumstances under which they are placed by the Regulation?

There are particular Tribunals established throughout the Country to which Complaints may be addressed against Functionaries; and in those Cases, as well as in case of Crimes by Europeans, the Tribunals in the Country have the Means of forwarding a Notification of them to the Presidency; but I am not aware that there is any such Provision for punishing Complaints in Civil Matters.

Would there be any Objection to making Europeans residing in a distant Part of the Provinces, who were not in the Service of the Company, subject to the Jurisdiction of the European Magistrates?

I think there would be an Objection to their being entirely subjected to the local Tribunals, because the Law which is administered in the Provinces would not be always suitable to them, and the Complaints which they would in consequence make would probably lead in Time to the Alteration of that Law in a Manner not suited to the Natives. For example, it might be considered oppressive to try a European in a Capital Case without a Jury; while it might not be reckoned expedient that the Use of Juries should be extended in such Cases to Natives. There must be many similar Points in which a Prejudice would be created by applying the Laws in the Provinces to Europeans.

Is not that contingent Inconvenience a less Evil than that which subsists at present, which appears to be in many Instances a Denial of Justice to the Natives?

I do not think it is. The Europeans are subjected, to a certain Extent, to the local Tribunals; and their Number is not at present so considerable as to create any considerable Inconvenience from the Cases in which they are not.

Upon what Articles are the Transit Duties taken?

On a great Variety of Articles. I am not able to specify them.

Have Licences that have been granted to Europeans to reside at a Distance from the Presidency been in many Instances revoked or refused?

I do not recollect any Instance under Bombay where they have been revoked. They have frequently been refused to Europeans residing at the Presidency, without a Licence from the Court of Directors.


Is there any Principle by which you are guided in refusing or granting them?

I do not at this Moment recollect any being refused, except to Persons who had not Permission from the Court of Directors to reside.

Have they ever been granted to Persons of that Description?

They have in One or Two Instances been granted, on another Person becoming reponsible for their receiving Permission within a Year.

The Principle is not to give Permission unless they have that Licence?

It is.

Is it a Matter of Course to grant such Licence on their being able to obtain a Person to be so responsible?

By no means a Matter of Course; the Government departs from its strict Line of Duty in granting a Permission at all to a Person who has not the Permission of the Court of Directors to reside in India.

It reports immediately to the Court of Directors every such Permission as soon as it is granted?

It does.

Have many Applications been made for such Licences?

There have not; the Number of Europeans residing in the Provinces under Bombay is very small.

Is the Governor's Licence to a particular Place, or merely for Permission to reside at a Distance from the Presidency?

I believe for a particular Place; but I should think there would be no Difficulty in a Person who had a Licence for one Place obtaining a Passport for another.

What is the Description of Europeans who have been at Bombay without the Licence of The East India Company?

All Descriptions of Persons.

Have there been any Persons of Capital?

I should not think there have.

Any Persons connected with any Mercantile Concerns?

I really cannot answer. At the Presidency little Distinction is made between those who have and those who have not a Licence; but I should think that few would be there without a Licence, except Persons who had made up their Minds on the Voyage to remain, or Deserters from Ships, or Persons that knew it would be impossible to get a Licence in England.

How are the Half caste Persons considered in Bombay; are they considered to be Natives?

They are Natives in the Eye of the Law; Europeans in the Eyes of Society.

Are they employed in any Offices under the Government?

They are very much employed as Clerks in all the Public Offices.

Do they hold the Rank of Non-commissioned Officers in the Bombay Army?

No; I do not know any Instance.

Or in the Marine Department?

I rather think there are in the Marine Department. They are eligible to all Employments held by Natives; but I do not know that they are much employed in them. The Government would probably be very jealous of a general Employment of them, from a Fear of supplanting the Natives.

That would exclude them from the Army and Navy?

They are excluded from the Situation of Officers in the Army or Navy.

May they serve as Privates?


I presume they may. I must observe, the Half-castes in Bombay are so very few, that they probably would not occupy many more of the Offices than they do if there were no Restrictions. I do not think there are more than One or Two Thousand.

Is the Education of Half-castes particularly attended to?

There is no public Establishment for educating them. There are many Schools where they are educated at the Expence of their Parents; but at Bombay there is no Public Establishment. There is a very considerable Establishment at Bombay for the Education of Half-castes, but it is carried on by a Subscription, and only assisted by Government.

Are the Half-castes a superior Race to the Natives in point of Intelligence or any other Quality?

They partake partly of the Native and partly of the European Character.

Are they not principally of Portuguese Blood?

I do not mean to include them under the Term of Half-castes.

Are the Portuguese numerous?

They may amount to about 50,000. They are partly Descendants of Portuguese, and partly Converts from the Religions of the Country, who have assumed Portuguese Names, but retain in fact the Manners, and in a great measure the Religion, of their Nation.

Are they a very debased Race?

Those about the Towns are very little esteemed. In the Country, probably, they more resemble the Hindoo Ryots.

Are there any considerable Mercantile Houses carried on by them?

There are One or Two.

Are the other Half-castes you have alluded to respected by the Hindoos?

As far as they make a Distinction between them and Europeans, I should think it was certainly to the Disadvantage of the Halfcaste.

As far as they make a Distinction between themselves and the Half-caste, how is it?

I should think it was to the Disadvantage of the Half-castes, and even of the lower Orders of Europeans, in many respects.

Are you aware that The East India Company have made great Efforts to diminish the Charges of their Government in Bombay?

They have to my Knowledge made very great Efforts to diminish the Charges of their Government.

Have those Exertions been attended with a Success corresponding to their Wishes?

Very great Reductions were made.

Is not the Collection of the Revenue in India unavoidably a very expensive one?

It is certainly very expensive; but I do not know how far it is expensive, as compared with the Collection of the Revenue in other Countries.

Does not the Nature of the Land Assessment make the Employment of a very great Variety of Officers peculiarly necessary?

A great Number of Officers are certainly necessary to collect the Land Revenue; but I have not the Means of comparing it with the Number of Officers employed in this Country, in collecting the Excise, or the Revenue derived from any other Source.

Have the East India Directors also made great Exertions to improve their Revenue?

They have, and in former Periods perhaps more than was advisable. Of late I think the Disposition has been very strong to moderate the Revenue, as far as was compatible with the necessary Expenditure of the Government.

Do you think the Revenue arising from a Land Assessment susceptible of much Improvement, under the existing System of Cultivation?

I conceive that it would be a very great Improvement if it were fixed, or a Limit put to the Increase of it.


Do you conceive that the Ryots are in a Situation to lay out much Capital in the Improvement of the Land?

The Ryots are generally not possessed of much Capital.

Do you think the System of Cultivation of the Land by them, and under the Zemindars, has been much improved since the Territory of Bombay came into the Possession of The East India Company?

There are very few People under Bombay that can be called Zemindars. The general Cultivation, even in the short Period that most of the Territory has been under Bombay, has been very greatly extended; but it has latterly received a severe Check from the Fall of Prices arising from that rapid Extension of Cultivation itself, as well as from other Causes.

Does the Amount of Land Assessment leave to the Cultivator much Surplus of Income for the Maintenance of himself and his Family in ordinary Seasons?

I think it was conjectured in the Deccan, which is more heavily assessed than most of the Provinces under Bombay, that it left about Sixty in the Hundred for the Expences of Cultivation and the Maintenance of himself and Family.

Do you conceive that the Cultivators are now subject to heavy Exactions on the Part of the Officers of the Revenue?

I do not conceive that they are; though there must be many Instances, no doubt, of Corruption and Embezzlement on the Part of the Native Officers of Government.

Do you think that any attainable degree of Vigilance could check those Abuses under such a System of Cultivation, under poor Occupiers, as is now pursued?

I think if the Revenue were once fixed there would be very little Opening for Corruption or Abuse; if every Man knew what he had to pay every Year, and that it was neither subject to Increase nor Diminution.

Have you not Reason to think that now, in many Instances, the slender Means of the Ryot render him unable to resist the unjust Demands of the Revenue Officers, or to carry an Appeal to a Court of Justice?

I conceive that to be less the Case in Bombay than in any other Part of India. The Districts are small there, and the Provision for the Administration of Justice is very ample. In new and unsettled Districts, where great Power is still left in the Hands of the Collector and his Establishment, there must be a greater Opening to Abuses of that Nature than in those into which the usual Checks have been more fully introduced.

Are you of Opinion that the Ryot System, accompanied as it is with so heavy a Land Assessment, has had a Tendency to keep the Mass of the Population in a degraded State?

I do not perceive that in Places where the Collection is made from the individual Ryots the People are in a more degraded Situation than in the other Parts of the Country.

Is it not usual under the Hindoo Law to subdivide the Possessions of Families among the Children?

It is usual.

Do not you think that has a direct Tendency to increase the Poverty of the Mass of the Population?

It must prevent the Accumulation of Property.

Do not you therefore think that the Land Assessment operating upon such a System as now exists in India has a Tendency to reduce the Mass of the Natives to that Level which, in your Evidence of Yesterday, you conceived to be one of the bad Effects which have resulted from Foreign Dominion?

I do not conceive that the Land Assessment has that Effect. The Land Assessment may be laid on great Proprietors as well as on small.

Does it not actually fall, in a very great Number of Cases, on very small Proprietors?


The Number of large Landed Proprietors under Bombay is certainly small, but it frequently falls on the Heads of Villages, who are comparatively Persons of Property; and even in Cases where it falls on an individual Ryot, I am by no means certain that it prevents the Accumulation of Property by the Ryots.

Does not it fall on a considerable Number who are unable, from the large Amount of Assessment to which they are subject, to improve the Cultivation of their Lands, and therefore to improve their Condition?

When the Assessment is too heavy, it must no doubt prevent the Improvement of the Country and the Condition of the People, whether it is levied from great Proprietors or from individual Ryots; but no doubt, where there are large Properties in the Hands of great Proprietors, there is more likely to be an Accumulation of Capital with which further Improvements may be carried on.

Have you Reason to think that such Improvements have been made in Cases where large Estates are possessed by Individuals?

No, I cannot say that I have. The Part of the Bombay Territory which is in the Hands of great Proprietors is the least prosperous of the whole Establishment.

In what Situations are the Native Officers generally employed now in Bombay?

They are employed in all the subordinate Offices of the Judicial and Revenue Departments.

In those Situations, do you not think, that from the Nature of the Financial System now pursued they are subject to great Temptations to commit Fraud and to be guilty of Exactions?

The System which is now pursued is designed as much as possible to prevent their being exposed to such Temptation.

Do you not think, notwithstanding that, that they are very much subject to such Temptations; and that considerable Abuses of that kind do still exist?

Their Morality is rather loose, especially in Matters connected with Public Money; but I do not conceive that the Abuses which exist are by any means to be ascribed to the System.

Are you not of Opinion that the Diffusion of a Foreign Capital, under such Restrictions as you alluded to Yesterday, would, by leading to an improved Cultivation of Land, very much facilitate the Collection of Revenue?

All extensive Improvements must facilitate the Collection of Revenue.

Do you not think that an increased Employment of European Capital upon the Improvement of Land would unavoidably lead to the Creation of Employments in which the Natives might be engaged?

The Employment of European Capital is extremely likely to lead to such a Result; not perhaps the Employment on Land so much as on any other Object.

Do you not therefore think that such Employment would produce very considerable Advantage to the Native Character, by affording to them Opportunities of arriving at Situations of Confidence and of Trust?

A greater Variety of Employments, and consequently a greater Competition for Labour, would no doubt improve the Situation of the Natives, and ultimately their Character; but I am by no Means prepared to say that such an Influx of European Capital is likely to occur as would produce such an Effect. I have all along spoken under the Supposition of an actual Influx of European Capital.

Are you not of Opinion that the Private Trader has a direct Interest in acting in a kind and conciliatory Manner towards the Natives?

If he consults his true Interest, I have no doubt he has; but I question whether any Trader, unless he is one of a superior Description, would look beyond the Advantage of his present Bargain.


Do you not think that a Person who from his Situation was more dependent on such Conduct, in order to recommend himself to the Natives, than a Person who was armed with the Power of the Company, would feel it to be more his immediate Interest to consult the Feelings and Dispositions of the Inhabitants?

The more a Person felt himself dependent on the Good-will of the Inhabitants, the more likely he would no doubt be to conciliate them.

Would not such be unavoidably the Situation of a Private Merchant, as compared with the Situation of a Servant or Agent of the Company?

I do not immediately perceive that it would. A Public Servant has many Motives for conciliating the Good-will of the People that are placed under him, which I do not conceive any individual Trader would have.

Are not the Wishes of the Company usually received by the People as a sort of Law?

The Wishes of the Company are never made known to the People, except in the Form of Laws.

There is not therefore the same Opportunity, or the same Inducement, to consult the individual Feelings of the Inhabitants, in the case of Agents of the Company, as in the Case of Private Traders?

Your Lordship perhaps speaks of the Commercial Agents of the Company. The Commercial Agents of the Company have no Authority whatever beyond that of a Private Trader.

Have you Reason to think that the Attachment to Caste, that prevails amongst the Hindoos, is as strong in Commercial Towns as in the Country Districts?

I should think it was.

You do not observe any Difference in that respect from increased Intercourse with Europeans?

An increased Intercourse with Europeans has a Tendency to weaken the Prejudices of Natives, but I cannot say that I saw it had any Effect in diminishing their Attachment for Caste.

Are you aware that the Excess of Charge above the Revenue in Bombay is greater than in any of the other Presidencies?

It used to be very much greater.

In fact, the whole Deficiency of Income of our Territories in India is almost entirely referrable to the Presidency of Bombay?

I was not aware of that. But at one Period almost the whole of the Expenditure at Bombay formed a Deficit; there was hardly any Revenue; there never was any Proportion between the Revenue and Expenditure of Bombay.

Can you state to what Causes it is to be referred that the Excess of Charge above Income in the Years 1825, 1826 and 1827 is much greater than it was in the Years immediately preceding?

Partly to a Diminution of the Revenue, and partly to Increase of Charges.

Do you ascribe the Diminution of Revenue to permanent Causes, or only to those which are temporary?

Except in the Cessation of the Profits from Opium, I consider the Diminution of Revenue to be temporary. The Expence I conceive to be partly permanent and partly temporary.

Can you state what Parts are temporary and what permanent?

There was an Addition made to the Allowances of the Civil Servants by Orders from Home, which, although it did not bring them to a Level with the other Establishments, considerably increased the Expence. Some Addition was made to the Military Force during the same Period, which I believe is permanent; and several Expeditions were undertaken or projected, which must be considered as temporary. But I speak without a very distinct Recollection of the Causes that affected the particular Years in question; I do not recollect the Circumstances of those particular Years. But on our taking Possession of the Deccan in 1819 a great Encouragement was held out to Agriculture, and many other Employments were closed against the People of the Country; a great Increase of Cultivation took place in consequence. At the same Time the Destruction of the Power of the Pindarrees also increased the Cultivation of the Country under the Native Princes in the Neighbourhood. This was followed by a great Fall of Prices, and, ultimately, by a great Diminution of Revenue. There was one Year a Failure of the Rains in most of the Provinces under Bombay, which almost threatened a Famine, and must have occasioned a great Reduction of Revenue, I conceive, though I do not recollect that it did.

Can you hold out a Prospect at any future Period, and at no great Distance, of the Amount of the Revenue approaching more nearly to the Amount of the Charge?

As the Country improves it will probably approach more near to it; but there never was any sort of Proportion between the Amount of Revenue and the Amount of Charge. The Charges of Bombay were incurred for general Purposes, and bore a considerable Proportion to what they are now when we had little beyond the Island of Bombay.

Are you aware of a great Increase of Deficiency having occurred unexpectedly in the course of the last Year?

I have heard that a Deficiency has occurred; I can hardly say unexpectedly.

To what Cause is that to be attributed?

I speak entirely in the Dark; but a Survey was in progress for the Purpose of reducing the Assessment, and perhaps a Reduction may have been made in consequence of the Survey, or from Considerations such as would have influenced the Survey.

When you left Bombay, had you Reason to anticipate a still further Decrease of Revenue?

No further Decrease of Revenue than was intended to be made by the Survey.

The greatest Part of the Marine Charge of India is borne by the Presidency of Bombay, is it not?

I believe the whole.

The Army of Bombay is necessarily proportioned, not to the Population of the Bombay Territory which it may be necessary to controul, but to the Circumstances of the Native States by which the Bombay Territory is surrounded, and to the Circumstance of its being a Frontier?

Certainly. I think the Additions made to the Bombay Army, since the great Extension of our Territory in that Quarter, have not borne any Proportion to that Extension.

Can you state what Proportion the Military and Marine Expences of Bombay bear to the Total Revenue?

From the Accounts on the Table, the Proportion they appear to bear is from Seven Eighths to Eight Ninths.

Can you state what Proportion the same Expences bear to the whole Revenue of Bengal?

From the same Paper I see that it is between One Third and One Fourth. But I speak entirely from the Paper on the Table; I have no personal Knowledge.

Was not a considerable Reduction of the Charges made before you quitted the Government?

A very considerable Reduction.

Amongst the Resources of the Government which you enumerated Yesterday, you mentioned the Town Duties; how are the Town Duties usually applied in the Presidency of Bombay?

They are not, as is I believe the Case in Bengal, applied to local Improvements; they are mixed up with the rest of the Revenue of the Country.

Can you state whether any considerable Number of Weavers or Manufacturers have been thrown out of Employment since the Extension of Commercial Intercourse with India; since the Renewal of the Charter in 1813?


I cannot say from my own Observation that they have, as the Provinces under Bombay were not remarkable for that Description of Manufactures; but I have no doubt, from the Extension of the Use of European Manufactures among the middle Classes, that a Number of Weavers must have been thrown out of Employment.

You stated Yesterday, that if any resident Europeans were guilty of Oppression they might be sent out of the Country, or transferred to some other District; might it not be dangerous to allow a Person who had shewn a Disposition to Oppression to remain any where in the Country?

That would depend on the degree of Oppression, and whether it appeared to arise from any occasional Cause, or from one likely to have a permanent Operation.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Tuesday next, One o'Clock.