Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Die Mercurii, 31 Martii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
John William Ricketts Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
You are a Native of Calcutta?
You were the Bearer of a Petition from a certain Portion of the Inhabitants of Calcutta and the Presidency of Fort William, which has been presented to the House of Lords?
How is that Petition signed; by what Number?
Between Six and Seven hundred.
Are they mostly Persons immediately descended from European Fathers and Native Mothers, or are they the Offspring of Intermarriages?
They are also the Offspring of Intermarriages.
Do you know in what Proportion?
No, I do not.
Can you state the Grievances which are detailed in that Petition? The first Grievance appears to be a Complaint with respect to their being destitute of any Rule of Civil Law; will you explain how that operates upon the Petitioners?
We are not recognized as British Subjects by the Supreme Court of Calcutta, if residing in the Mofussil.
That is without the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
Just so; which throws us upon the Mofussil Courts, the Proceedings of which are regulated by the Mohamedan Law. As Christians, we cannot avail ourselves of the Mohamedan Civil Law, though we are subject to the Criminal Code. The Mohamedan Civil Code does not apply to us as Christians, though we are subject to the Lash of the Criminal Law.
It does not apply to you as regards Marriages or Succession to Property?
The Mohamedan Code is expressly for Mohamedans. It provides for the Rights and Interests of Mohamedans.
Therefore, in all that regards Marriages and Succession to Property, you are without any Rule by which you can regulate your Conduct?
Without any definite Rule of Civil Law.
You have said that in Criminal Cases you are subject to the Code of Mohamedan Law?
Is that attended with considerable Hardship and Severity; for instance, the Infliction of Punishment in Criminal Cases?
I am not aware of its being unnecessarily severe, so far as my personal Knowledge goes; though its Provisions are barbarous as applicable to a Christian Population.
Has there been no Mitigation of the Severity of Part of that Code?
The Code is modified by the Company's Regulations.
Is there any Appeal from that Tribunal?
To the Sudder Dewanny Adawlut in Calcutta, but not to the Supreme Court. The Question was tried in the Year 1821; and it was the Opinion of the Judges that we could not claim a Right of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
Does the Tribunal of Sudder Adawlut possess the Power of increasing the Punishment?
So I understand.
Is that the Case, without fresh Evidence being adduced?
In that Petition there is a Complaint that from all the superior and covenanted Offices, as well as all the sworn Offices of the Marine, the Petitioners have been excluded by the positive Regulation of the Company?
Either by the positive Regulation, or by the established Usage of the Service.
Does the Preamble also provide that a Person so appointed shall not be the Son of a Native Indian?
It does, with regard to Appointments in the regular Service of the Company, and in the Military Appointments of the Company.
Does that apply after Intermarriage?
It used to do; but I believe there has been some Modification of that Rule within the last Two Years.
That Modification is by Regulation?
There is no Law upon the Subject; it is by the Orders of the Court of Directors.
Do you know of Instances in which that Modification has been acted upon, in which Persons not immediately descended from Native Mothers have been appointed to Situations under the Company?
I know certain Instances in which the Appointment was refused on that Ground on former Occasions.
Since the Year 1827, has there been no Alteration in that respect in the Regulations of the Company?
I see that the Phraseology of the Prohibition is altered within the last Two Years or so.
It is restricted to the immediate Descendants of the Mother, is it not?
I think it is. There has been no formal Regulation or Notification on the Subject; but I gather the Fact from the Phrase employed, which has been modified of late.
With regard to the subordinate and inferior Offices, which do not come under the Head of superior and covenanted Offices, is there any Exclusion of the Petitioners?
There is a certain Class of Situations which are confined by Usage to the Natives of the Country, in which we have no Share or Part whatever. It would be considered irregular to appoint us to these Situations.
From their being filled by Native Officers?
Does that apply to Offices in the Judicial Department, such as Munsiffs?
Are they appointed to act as Pleaders in any of the Courts?
No; that is confined to Natives.
With regard to the Military Department, how are they situated?
They can hold no Commission in the Company's or King's Service.
Are they excluded from being Non-commissioned Officers?
They are employed as Drummers and Fifers, and so forth.
Can they advance to the Rank of Corporal?
I am not aware of any Instance in which they have been so employed.
Is there an Order of the Commander in Chief in force, which prevents their holding any Commissions in the Indo-British Army?
There was an Order passed by the Commander in Chief in the Year 1808 to that Effect.
That you conceive is still in force?
Yes, practically so; it has never been repealed.
Therefore they can hold no Commissions either in the King's or the Company's Army?
No, certainly not.
Are there no Instances of any Deviation from that Rule?
There were some of our Class who were admitted, both into the Civil and Military Service, prior to the Prohibition; the Quartermaster General of the Army, for instance, who is an East Indian, but he was admitted prior to the Year 1791; and there is Mr. Achmuty, of the Civil Service, who was also admitted prior to the prohibitory Regulation.
Does Colonel Skinner hold a Commission in the Company's Service?
He holds a local Rank in the Company's Service.
Is he descended from a Native Mother?
Colonel Skinner is an Officer who has served with great Distinction?
Yes; he has signalized himself on many Occasions.
Are you aware that there was any Disinclination to serve under Colonel Skinner, on the Part of the Natives of India?
I am not aware of such a Thing.
You never heard of any Objection being raised against him on the Ground of his Mother having lost Caste?
No, I am not aware of that.
There is also a Complaint with regard to Non-employment of the Persons of your Class by Native Powers; that there is a Restriction upon your Employment by the Native Powers?
Do you know any Instance of any Persons of your Class being employed by Native Powers?
There were many employed by the Mahratta States; and I believe there are some still in the Service of some of the Native States.
Do you refer to the independent Mahratta States over which the Company has no Controul?
In those States over which the Company has a Controul are Persons of your Class employed without obtaining Permission from the Government?
It is generally understood that they cannot be so employed without the Permission of Government.
Has that Permission been refused, to your Knowledge, when applied for?
I am not aware of any particular Instance in which it has been refused.
If that Permission be granted, it is always liable to be recalled, is it not?
Yes; should any Disturbance arise, or any War break out, they are required to return to the Company's Territories. The Mahratta Officers who were employed in the Years 1801 and 1802 were invited back to the Company's Territories upon the Promise of being pensioned. There were some who availed themselves of the Pension, and came to the Company's Territories; there were others who were barbarously murdered by the Native Princes the Moment they came to the Knowledge of the Circumstances.
The Treaties with the Native Powers only prevent Europeans being employed; therefore under what Head do you come, as you are not recognized as Europeans in the Interior?
We are sometimes recognized as Europeans, and sometimes as Natives, as it serves the Purposes of the Government; there is no precise Character affixed to us in that respect.
You are generally recognized as Natives, except within the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
Yes; those Officers who were employed by the Mahratta States were threatened to be dealt with as Traitors if they did not return to the Company's Territories on the Announcement of the Order.
What Mahratta States were those?
Scindiah and Holkar.
Are there any Institutions in Calcutta for the Education of the Children of Persons of your Class?
There are both public and private Schools.
Is the Expence of those Schools defrayed by yourselves, or do you receive any Assistance from Government?
We have never received any Assistance from Government in any Shape whatever.
There are Funds applicable by Act of Parliament for the Education of the Natives?
There are; and we are not included in that Grant. We have never received any Assistance from Government in the Education of our Offspring.
Therefore the Expence is entirely defrayed by yourselves?
Is there any other Grievance which you wish to state to the Committee?
With regard to our not being employed by the Native States, I know of some Instances were a Penalty Bond has been taken from Persons going out from this Country to India, under Two Securities, that they should not enter into the Service of the Native States. East Indians who have come to England for Education, when they have applied for Permission to return to their Native Country, have been allowed to do so, but under a Penalty Bond that they should not enter into the Service of any Native State.
Can you state the Number of Persons of your Class in the Province of Bengal?
I should think that the Number would not be underrated if I estimated it at about 20,000, more or less, in Calcutta and all the Provinces. There was a Police Committee Report made in the Year 1822; and the Christian Population in Calcutta was estimated at 13,138, of which there were 2,254 Europeans; consequently we are included in the Remainder, that is about 10,884. The Number must have increased considerably since 1822.
The Number increases in proportion to the Number of Europeans employed?
We out-number the Europeans, very considerably, certainly.
More Europeans being employed in consequence of the Increase of Territory, your Numbers are upon the Increase?
Yes; and from the Offspring of Intermarriages.
You stated that in the Provinces, you, being Christians, were subject to the Mohamedan Criminal Law; is not that Law much altered and modified by the Company's Regulations?
Yes, it is considerably modified.
Are not all Native-born Subjects of The King subject to the same Law for any Offence, less than Felony, in the Provinces?
I am not aware of the Extent to which they are. They are not understood, certainly, to be subject to the Criminal Law of the Mofussil Courts.
Are they not liable to be punished for Offences, less than Felony, by the Company's Magistrates in the Provinces?
I am not aware of that Circumstance. I have not resided in the Interior to know the Fact.
Will you turn to the Act of Parliament of the 53d Geo. 3d, Cap. 155, and state what Enactment is contained in that Clause with regard to Criminal Offences committed by British Subjects in the Provinces?
By this it appears they are subject to be punished for any Offence, not being Felony, by the Magistrates of the Zillah Courts. I do not know that that has ever been put into practice, which made me doubt the Fact.
You have stated, that although subjected to the Mohamedan Criminal Law, you are not permitted to avail yourselves of the Mohamedan Civil Law, being Christians; will you state under what Civil Law you consider yourself to be placed in the Province?
What I meant to say was this; that, as Christians, the Mohamedan Civil Law does not apply to us, so as to render it desirable for us to avail ourselves of it. It is exclusively applicable to Mohamedans; it applies to their Case, not to the Case of Christians. It is a singular Anomaly, that a Christian Subject under the British Government should be subject to the Mohamedan Civil Code. The Mohamedan Civil Code goes entirely upon the Principles of the Religion professed; it is based entirely upon the Koran.
Are you acquainted with Regulation III. of the Year 1793, by which all Natives and other Persons not British Subjects are amenable to the Jurisdiction of the Zillah and City Courts, and those Courts are empowered to take cognizance of all Suits and Complaints respecting the Succession or Right to Real or Personal Property, Lands, Rents, Revenues, Debts, Accounts, Contracts, Partnerships, Marriage, Caste, Claims to Damages for Injuries, and generally all Suits and Complaints of a Civil Nature. By the same Regulation, in Cases coming within the Jurisdiction of those Courts for which no specific Rule may exist, the Judges are to act according to Justice and Equity and good Conscience. By the same Regulation, in Suits regarding Succession, Inheritance, Marriage and Caste, and all Religious Usages and Institutions, the Mohamedan Laws with respect to Mohamedans, and the Hindoo Laws with regard to Hindoos, are to be considered as the general Laws by which the Judges are to form their Decisions. Do you apprehend that under that Regulation any Christian engaged in a Civil Suit would be obliged to have that Suit determined according to the Law which was solely applicable to a Mohamedan?
I certainly think so.
What Civil Code is in use in the Provinces as regards Hindoos?
If the Party be a Hindoo, there is the Hindoo Code for him; if the Party be a Mohamedan, there is the Mohamedan Code for him; but there is no express Provision made for Christians.
Supposing a Person of the Half-blood to be the Son of a Hindoo Mother, do you apprehend that that Person would be considered as a Mohamedan, and that his Civil Suit would be tried according to the Mohamedan Law?
I think that they are generally taken for Mohamedans, and dealt with accordingly.
Do you not think that under the Regulation of which the Substance has been stated to you, the Magistrate would have a Power of acting in such a Case according to Justice, Equity and good Conscience?
It may be so; but that is a very dubious Principle; and it would be left entirely to the Magistrate's own Sense of Justice, or his own Feelings on the Subject. The Magistrate may certainly act upon the new Principle with regard to Christians, if so inclined.
Are you aware of any practical Grievance that has been sustained by Persons of Half-blood, in consequence of the present State of the Law of the Provinces in regard to Civil Suits?
I have not resided in the Mofussil, and therefore my Acquaintance with the Practice of those Courts is very limited; but what we complain of is the Principle of the Thing, more than the Practice: the Principle is odious.
Will you state what Description of Offices are now held by Persons of the Half-blood?
They are principally employed in subordinate Capacities in the public Offices of Government.
They are employed very extensively as Writers, are they not?
And as Clerks?
As Clerks in Merchants Houses?
As Clerks in the Customs and the Revenue Department?
And in the Judicial Department?
They are generally employed as Clerks in the different Departments.
In the Military Department?
As Clerks in all the different Departments of Government.
Can you state whether they are employed in the Police of the Country?
They are employed as Clerks in the Police Department.
Are they employed in the irregular Corps?
They have been so employed; but the Corps were disbanded, and they were thrown out of Employment.
As long as they existed they were employed in the irregular Corps?
For a Time they were; during the Nepaul War; that is, as long as the Exigencies of the Government required their Services.
Can you state the highest Salaries received in any Case by a Person of Half-blood?
They have received Salaries as high as Four and Five hundred Rupees a Month.
That is about £600 a Year, is it not?
It is. These are very rare Cases indeed; there are not many such Cases.
Are there many Persons of Half-blood who, in your Opinion, are qualified to hold high Situations, by their Education?
Certainly. I say so with the most perfect Confidence.
Can you give the Committee any Idea of the Number of Persons whom you consider qualified to hold higher Situations than those now filled by Persons of that Class?
I dare say we might collect about 500 Persons of that Description, calculated to hold Situations of Trust and Responsibility.
How are those Persons now employed?
They are employed, as I have before stated, as Clerks in different public and private Offices.
Your Opinion is, that a well-educated Clerk is fit for a much higher Situation?
I mean to state that their Talents are not brought into proper Exercise.
You have stated the Number of Persons so employed as Clerks to extend to 500?
I should think there must be about 1,000 or more of them, altogether.
Do you mean in Calcutta alone?
Yes, in Calcutta alone; in the different public and private Offices.
The total Number of Persons of the Half-blood you stated at 20,000?
Can you state the Number in public Offices?
There may be Five or Six hundred.
Are they extensively engaged in Trade?
Some of them are.
Are they engaged in the Maritime Trade of the Country?
Yes, they are.
To any great Extent?
To a pretty considerable Extent, as a Beginning.
Is any large Portion of the Trade between Calcutta and China conducted by Persons of the Half-blood?
Not a considerable Portion.
Are they in any Cases Officers and Captains of Ships engaged in that Trade?
Some few of them are.
Are there any wealthy Mercantile Houses in Calcutta?
There are some.
Can you state the Amount of the Property of any House of Persons of the Half-blood?
Baretto's House was considered one of the wealthiest Houses in India; besides which there are Lackersteen's, Brightman's, and Bruce and Allan's Houses.
Persons of Half-blood, as the Law now stands, and under the Regulations of the Company, can purchase Land in any Part of India, can they not?
Yes, they can, but under all the Disadvantages of the Case, arising from the imperfect State of the Law, and the corrupt Administration of Justice in the Mofussil Courts.
And are not liable to be sent out of the Country?
No, certainly not.
Therefore they have those Advantages which are not possessed by Europeans?
Yes, such as they are.
What Establishments are there for the Education of Persons in your Condition in Calcutta?
There is the Military Orphan School, which is supported by the Subscriptions of the Army; and there is the Parental Academic Institution, and the Calcutta Grammar School.
How many Persons may be educated in those Three Establishments?
There must be about 500 or 600 in the Military Orphan School (the Upper and Lower Orphan School); perhaps 800, including both Sexes. There are about 130 or 140 Boys in the Parental Academic Institution, and about Forty or Fifty in the Grammar School; and there are private Schools besides.
How high is Education carried in those Three Establishments you have mentioned; to what Age do the Children continue there?
The Age of Seventeen or Eighteen in the Boys School.
The Boys and Girls are not together 'till that Age?
They are not in the same Building.
Have they any Means of Education after the Age of Seventeen?
They have no Collegiate Education after that.
There are no Means of Collegiate Education in Calcutta?
No, there are not; unless it is the Bishop's College, which is confined to Missionary Purposes. The Parental Academic Institution has done a great deal in that way; it has succeeded to a happy Extent in raising the Tone of Education in the Country.
Some Persons of Half-blood being educated as you have mentioned, and fit for higher Situations than those they can now hold; there are others, are there not, who have no Education, and who are in a State of great Destitution?
Yes; there are others who are educated in the Free School and in the Benevolent Institution, and other Charitable Institutions.
In that Number of 20,000 you have mentioned, do you include the Children of common Soldiers?
I include the whole Number.
Can you state with any degree of Accuracy the Proportion which Persons in that State of Destitution, the Sons of common Soldiers, and Persons of very low Condition, bear to the more educated Class of which you have spoken?
They must form the great Majority.
What should you suppose to be the Number of the educated Persons of whom you have spoken?
I should think there must be 1,500.
Of whom 1,000 are already employed; and of that 1,000,500 or 600 in Government Offices?
Are those who are the Children of common Soldiers in all Cases Christians?
They are brought up as Christians.
By whom are they brought up?
The Children of European Soldiers by Native Mothers are brought up at the Lower Orphan School.
If born in the Country, what is done?
They are sent to the Lower Orphan School.
How are they disposed of when they grow up?
They are sent out as Drummers and Fifers, and so forth, and apprenticed to Tradesmen.
Are there many of the Half-blood who are not Christians?
I am not aware of any; there may be some solitary Instances. I understand, but I do not know how far it is true, that there are some Europeans residing in the Interior, who, seeing the Disadvantages under which their Offspring labour, have preferred bringing them up as Mohamedans. I have understood that there are some Cases of that kind in the Interior.
You are not able to give any general Idea of the Situations which have been held by the Fathers of those Persons to the Number of 1,500, of whom you have spoken as educated?
They have been in the Civil and Military Service of the Company, and in the King's Army, Merchants, Tradesmen and others.
Are Persons of that Class residing in the Interior entitled to the Protection of the Habeas Corpus Act?
No, they are not.
They are treated in that respect as Native Subjects, even though they may have purchased Land in the Interior?
Entirely as Natives.
They are liable to Imprisonment at the Discretion of the local Magistrate?
In the Petition which has been presented, it is stated, that by an Enactment of the Local Government they have, as belonging to the above-mentioned Class, that is the Class of Hindoos and Mohamedans, been deprived as a Body of the Protection of the Act of Habeas Corpus; and the Regulation to which Reference is made in the Margin is Regulation III. of 1818. Is not that a Regulation for the Confinement of State Prisoners?
The Natives are not entitled to the Protection of that Act?
Therefore the Half-castes stand in the same Situation as Natives in that respect?
Have you observed in the Persons of the Half-blood who are in poor Circumstances, a strong Desire to improve their Situation in general?
Yes, there is a strong Desire of that kind.
Do you think they are under the Influence of a stronger Feeling in that respect than the poorer Class of Hindoos and Mohamedans in general?
Yes; from the nature of the Education they receive, and the Principles in which they are brought up. This gives a different Tone to the Mind.
Are you aware of any Applications having been made to the Government for pecuniary Aid to those Schools you have referred to?
Yes; there were Three different Applications made to the Government: One was for the Supply of Medicines for the Parental Academic Institution, and Two Applications for pecuniary Assistance; but they were one and all refused.
Would not that Assistance, if it had been afforded, have been as valuable, from the Sanction that it would have afforded to the Schools, as from the Amount of pecuniary Aid that might have been obtained?
Are you aware of Persons of the Half-blood having been employed in Situations that have required a remarkable degree of Circumspection and Propriety of Conduct; as Teachers of Religion, for instance?
They have been employed as Missionaries in some Parts of the Country.
Have they been employed as Preachers, or chiefly in the Business of Education?
In both. They have been employed as Teachers of Schools, and also as Preachers of the Gospel.
Have you heard of their having subjected themselves in those Employments to any degree of Reproach or Censure?
No, certainly not; they are still so employed.
Do you not think that the Influence which they would possess in such Employments would be very much increased by the Removal of those Restrictions to which they are now subject?
Certainly. It is a Thing for which the Natives themselves cannot account, that the Government should reject, as it does, their own Christian Offspring, and treat them with marked Neglect and Proscription.
Do you not think that the disadvantageous Situation in which they are now placed in the Provincial Courts of Law is extremely unfavourable to their Employment and the Means of investing Capital in those Situations?
It operates very injuriously in that Way: it must prevent their Residence in the Interior.
Can you from any Idea of the Proportion in which Persons of the Half-blood have increased within the last Ten Years, as compared with the European Population?
I cannot form any precise Idea of it; but the Population has increased very rapidly within the last Fifteen or Twenty Years, and is still increasing. The full Tide of our Population has flowed in, and must increase; there is no stopping it.
Are the same Branches of Knowledge taught in the Schools in which the Persons of Half-blood are educated as in the European Establishments?
The same. My Opinion of the Education in Calcutta is such, that, having brought Two of my own Sons to England for Education, and not being satisfied with what I have seen in this Country, it is my Intention to take them back again to be educated in Calcutta. I give the Preference to an Education in Calcutta; that is, I see no Necessity for the Sacrifice of tearing Children from their Parents, and sending them away to England for Education.
Is more Attention paid to the Acquisition of the Native Languages in the Schools in which Persons of Half-blood are educated than in others?
Yes. We employ Native Teachers for Instruction in Bengalee and Persian. That is a particular Branch of Education.
Do you not think, then, that if the Restrictions under which they now labour were removed, their Proficiency in the Native Languages would give them a very considerable Advantage over every other Description of Inhabitants of India?
Certainly; as Natives of the Country, and as Fixtures of the Soil, they might be rendered Instruments of great Good to the Country. If the real Interests of India be sought, those Interests cannot be more effectually promoted than through the Instrumentality of those who have been born, educated, and have spent their Lives in the Country; that is my firm Opinion.
Will you state whether you are acquainted with any Circumstances of Persons of your Class who have been subjected to Detention by the Government under the Regulation of the Year 1818?
I am not aware of any Instance.
You are one of the Persons who have signed the Petition to which Reference has been made?
You state in that that the Rule and Regulation of the Government of The East India Company has, by clear and express Declaration, included your Petitioners in the Class of Native Subjects of the British Government. Is the Offspring of European Fathers and of Indian Mothers, supposing a Marriage to have taken place, classed by those Regulations as Native Subjects of the British Government?
If born in Wedlock, by the Law of England they are British Subjects.
They are entitled to all the Privileges of British Subjects?
Clearly; but, practically speaking, they labour under the same Disabilities as those born out of Wedlock.
The Grievances of which this Petition complains refer to those that are illegitimate Children?
Yes, and also to their Offspring born in Wedlock.
Have you known many Instances of Europeans being married to Native Women?
There have been One or Two Instances. I think Mr. Harington, who was afterwards a Member of Council, married a Native Woman.
Do not such Instances occur among the European Soldiers and Persons in that Rank of Life?
They are married to Native Christian Women, but not to Hindoos and Mohamedans. I mean that they are married to Portuguese Women, as they are called.
The Ladies of Half-blood are very extensively married to Europeans; are they not?
Yes, they are.
In their Case their Offspring become entitled to all the Privileges of British Subjects?
Yes; but should we marry European Women on our Part, our Offspring are not British Subjects.
Do you think that if the Half-castes were put on the Footing desired by that Petition, that would tend very much to increase the Number of them?
I do not know that that would tend either to increase or decrease the Number; but it would certainly tend to place them on a more satisfactory Footing.
Is it not the Case as to the illegitimate Son of an Hindoo Mother by an European Father, in the Case of his Civil Affairs they would be governed by the Hindoo Code; and if the Son of a Mohamedan Mother by an European Father, then by the Mohamedan Code?
That would strictly be the Case; but they are generally dealt with as Mohamedans in the Native Courts.
Might not the Son of an Hindoo Mother claim that his Suit should be decided according to the Hindoo Law?
Certainly he might do so; there could be no Objection to it.
The Judge could not refuse so to decide?
No, he could not.
Would the Appointment of Persons of your Class to Offices from which they are at present excluded raise their Respectability in the Eyes of the Natives, or would it be seen by them in an unfavourable Light?
It would raise them in the Estimation of the Natives, who are at all Times disposed to identify them with their Fathers; and it is the marked Distinction that prevails which attracts their Notice; it is a Thing for which they cannot account.
You mentioned that your Applications to the Government for pecuniary Assistance to the Institutions for Education were refused; do you remember the Grounds on which they were refused?
There was no Reason assigned; the Letter merely stated that Government did not deem it expedient to comply with our Application.
There was nothing in the Letter which could lead you to suppose it was grounded on any Principles applicable alone to the Class of Half-castes?
Coupling it with the general Tenor of the Company's Policy towards our Class, it could have made no other but that one Impression, that the Refusal was grounded on the Application having come from our Class, and from the Institution in fact being an Institution that originated with and was supported by our Class.
Was not that Answer which you received from Government the same as had been returned to similar Applications from different Descriptions of Charities?
I remember Doctor Marshman having made an Application for pecuniary Assistance for the Benevolent Institution, and that Application was complied with; and Mr. Thomason having made an Application for the Female Asylum, which was also complied with, and the Government made a similar Grant to other Institutions, in consequence of Applications from Europeans in their Behalf; such as the Free School and some others.
Do you recollect any Instance of Grants having been refused, which were applied for on similar Grounds to that you referred to?
I am not aware of any.
What Situation do you hold yourself in Calcutta?
I was in the Office of the Board of Customs.
State the Name of the Office?
What was your Salary?
300 Rupees a Month.
Have you any Objection to state who your Father was?
He was an Ensign in the Engineers, and died at the Siege of Seringapatam in the Year 1792.
Where were you yourself educated?
In Calcutta; in the School supported by the Army,-the Military Orphan Society.
Did you go to any other School after you left that?
No, I did not. There is one Circumstance that I omitted to state, which is this, that many of my Countrymen have been educated in England, Scotland and Ireland, but on their going back to India they have been so much disappointed at the State of Things that they have in many Instances returned to Europe to seek a Livelihood, finding that the Door was completely shut against them in their own Native Country. I mean Men of the first-rate Education.
Did those Persons return to India during the Lifetime of their Fathers?
Yes, in some Cases. There was the Son of a General Officer, who returned in the Year 1825; he had obtained the Diploma of Doctor of Medicine, and went out to practise, but he found that the State of Society was such as to compel him to return to Europe, and I believe he is now practising in this Country. There have been some other Instances of this kind.
Have those Persons generally returned to India as Men to seek their own Livelihood, or were they called to India by their Fathers, after having completed a Portion of their Education in this Country?
In some Instances they have been called by their Fathers; in others they have gone out of their own Accord.
Have they upon Arrival in India been excluded from the British Society?
Not altogether excluded; but they have soon been able to feel the Public Pulse on the Subject, and they could not brook any thing of that kind, and they would therefore much rather return to Europe than drag out an uncomfortable Existence like that in India.
Are any of them practising to any Extent in the Medical Profession in India?
There are Two or Three.
They are received in Society, of course.
They are received in a certain Class of Society.
There was nothing in the Company's Regulations that prevented the Employment of the Physician to whom you have referred?
No, not applicable to him individually.
Was he employed by Europeans?
He did not remain long enough in Calcutta to ascertain that; the Moment he saw the State of Things, he returned to England.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Thomas Harvey Baber Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
In what Situation were you in India?
I was employed for the First Ten Years in the Revenue Department, also a Judicial Officer.
In what Part of India?
On the Western Coast principally; in the Malabar Province. From 1798 to 1808 I was employed in the Revenue Department, as above; from 1808 to 1816 in the Capacity of Zillah Judge, first of the Zillah Court of Tillicherry, and afterwards of Mangalore; from 1816 to 1824 as Third Judge of the Provincial Court of Circuit and Appeal in the Western Division; from 1824 to 1827 as Principal Collector and Political Agent of the Southern Mahratta Country; and from 1827 to 1828 (January 30) as Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Circuit and Appeal in the Western Division.
Will you state by what Classes of People Malabar is inhabited?
By Hindoos and Mohamedans, and a great many Christians. I can give the Average of the Number. The different Classes of the Hindoos, I apprehend, are about Four Fifths of the whole Population, the Mohamedans nearly One Fifth. There are about 10,000 Christians altogether in Malabar, and about 50,000 in Canara. The Mohamedans differ from those of Hindostan or the Carnatic; they are called Mopillas, Anglicè, Sons of their Mothers.
There are many Arabs, are there not?
A few of the Mopillas are Descendants of Arabs.
Do many Arabs still come over to the Country?
Constantly; every Year.
What is the Condition of the Christians of whom you have spoken?
They are Descendants from Europeans; some few from Englishmen, but chiefly from Dutch, French and Portuguese; also Native Converts.
They are all of the Half-blood, are they?
Their Ancestors married or formed Connexions with Native Women; but there are very few of those Half-castes remaining. The Remainder are Descendants of those Half-castes.
Are there any Christians among them who appear to have any European Blood?
The greater Proportion of them are fully, with respect to Colour, as dark as the Natives themselves.
Are there many Christians among them who appear not to have descended at any Distance of Time from Europeans; to be pure Natives?
There are about 10,000 Christians altogether in Malabar, I should imagine, chiefly of the Roman Catholic Church.
What is the Tenure of Land in Malabar?
The Property in the Soil exists as strong as it does in this Country; it is more properly allodial; the Name of it is Jelm, which means Birthright.
Is Property of that kind equally possessed by Christians, Mohamedans and Hindoos?
Are the Properties of any considerable Extent?
They are divided and subdivided. There are Estates so small as to produce hardly a Rupee a Year Patom or Rent; on the other Hand, there are Estates which produce perhaps from 5,000 to 10,000 Rupees. Some Individuals possess from Ten to One hundred Estates; the Zamorin Rajah for instance: his Domains (Crown Lands) probably bring him a Revenue of from 20,000 to 50,000 Rupees a Year; I cannot exactly mention the Amount, for they are distributed all over the Country.
Do those great Proprietors manage all their Estates themselves, or lease them to Tenants?
They lease them almost exclusively, except perhaps the Land on which their Family House stands, which they never part with.
What is the Extent of those Leases?
If Garden Land, Twelve Years is the general Period; but this is often continued from Generation to Generation, without going through the Form of drawing out a new Lease or a new Assignment.
Are they in the habit of altering the Rent from Year to Year?
Yes; Garden Lands at the Expiration of the Leases, but not Paddy Fields, (that is Rice Fields,) which never undergo any Change, unless it is Land newly brought into Cultivation.
There is in those Cases an Hereditary Tenant who pays the same Rent which has been paid by his Predecessor?
Yes; but there are Two Descriptions of Tenants; what are called the Jelm, or permanent Hereditary Tenants, and the temporary, or Tenants at Will. In Canara the former are called Moolgueny, or Hereditary, and the latter Chaly Gueny; in Malabar the former are called Jelm Patom and Jelm Koori, the latter Koori Kanum, or simply Patamkar. Jelm, as I have before said, means Birthright.
In what Manner is the Government Revenue assessed on those Properties?
There is no actual Standard; there never has been a Standard. In fact we have perpetuated the System we found established by Hyder, and afterwards by Tippoo.
What is that System?
It varies in different Parts of the District. In the Province of Canara it is about Twenty-five per Cent. in Malabar about Thirty, that is, of the Gross Produce; though this is after all but nominal.
Is that Revenue collected from the Tenants, or from the Proprietors?
Partly from the Proprietors and partly from the Tenants; it depends entirely on the Will and Pleasure of the Proprietor.
Have there been any Sales of Land for Arrear of Revenue?
Very considerable; so much so that almost an entire Revolution has taken place in Property, owing to these and Sales in Execution of Judgments of Courts, within the last Thirty Years. When they have been sold, many of them have not fetched One Fifth of their Value; that is, original Cost.
Where a Tenant of a small Estate failed to pay the Revenue, did the Collector immediately sell that Portion of the Estate?
No. In the first instance his Person was liable, then his moveable Property; every Article of every Description, every thing which could be laid hold of, was seized and sold; and that failing, then the Land; even Slaves have been sold the same as Cattle.
Did not the Collector apply to the Proprietor for the Payment of that Revenue deficient on One of the small Estates?
Not unless the Proprietor's Name was registered in the Revenue Accounts as the responsible Person.
By the Nonpayment of Revenue, on the Part of a Tenant, the Property occupied by that Tenant might be sold without the Knowledge of the Proprietor?
It was very often sold. The Proprietor might step in and tender the Sum, if it was worth his while, or he could raise the Means so to do.
Had the Proprietor, after the Sale, any Power of repurchasing the Estate?
The same as all other Persons, but none in consequence of his having been the former Tenant or Proprietor; he came into the Market in the same Manner as other Persons, but not in consequence of any former inherent Right.
Supposing the Estate to have been sold without his Knowledge, had he the Power of repurchasing it?
He could not prevent the Sale; it was gone from him and his Family to all Intents and Purposes.
Has any Commission been sent into that Part of the Country to remedy any Inconvenience that might result from that State of the Law?
Yes; Three. The first in 1807, under Mr. William Thackeray; afterwards, in 1817, Sir Thomas Munro; and in 1819, to the best of my Recollection, Mr. Græme, the late acting Governor at Madras.
What Measures where adopted by those several Commissioners?
Reports and Recommendations were sent up to the Government, and more especially by Mr. Græme; and Regulations were drawn out, also Surveys were made, which were about to have beer acted upon, but there were Objections to them on the Part of the People.
Nothing has been done?
Not that I know of. There was something doing when I left Malabar in 1828, I believe; but I am not aware of the Extent or Effect of it.
Is the Country well cultivated?
Highly; a Garden from one End of it to the other.
Was that so at the Time we first obtained Possession of it?
Not so much so as at the present Moment; the Country had been a Prey to intestine Wars and Rebellions for Years, and in consequence a great Part of the Population had fled to the Cochin and Travancore Countries, nearly all of whom have since returned.
Who were the chief Purchasers of the Estates which were sold?
Mopillas, and the Public Servants; that is, Persons in the Receipt of Salaries from the Government; these in fact have been the most thriving.
Are the Mopillas engaged in Trade?
They are; the whole of them are Merchants and Shopkeepers, as well as Land Proprietors and Cultivators.
Therefore they invested the Fortunes they have had in Trade?
Do they trade much with the Coast of Arabia?
With the Persian Gulf?
Yes; with the Red Sea, especially Judda, Aden, Mecca, and Medina, and generally with all the Ports in the Red Sea.
Are their Vessels numerous?
They were; but they are not now Half what they were, in consequence of the Monopoly of Timber by the Government, who assumed and declared the Forests to be Royalties, instead of which, those in Malabar have been purchased or inherited in the same Way as every other Description of Landed Property.
Are they unable in consequence to build Vessels?
They were for some Years. I have seen several Applications, both to the Bombay and Madras Governments, requesting Permission to fell Timber themselves, or to purchase Timber of the original Proprietors; which Requests were invariably refused, on the Ground that the Timber was required for Naval Purposes.
Has it been used for such Purposes?
Yes, it has, to a great Extent: but a certain Portion has been sold, chiefly what is called the Refuse, or Second and Third Sorts.
What Description of Wood?
Chiefly Teak and Poon.
Who were the Purchasers of the Timber which was sold, which you call the Refuse Timber?
Arabs, Parsees, and occasionally some of the Inhabitants themselves.
What is the Size of the Vessels?
The Size of the Vessels was from One hundred to Five hundred Tons. I can mention the Names of some of the Ship Owners: the Beebee or Queen of Cananore. This Lady is Queen in her own Right.
How many Vessels has she?
She had previous to the Monopoly Nine; she has now Four or Five. Chowakkara Kunhy Packey, the Heir of old Moossa, a Man well known on the Western Coast, had Twelve; that is, Moossa himself had. These are reduced, I think, to Seven. I can mention their Names and Burthen.
What was the total Number of those Vessels?
At one Time, from Twenty to Thirty of from One hundred to Five hundred Tons Burthen, belonging to the above Two Persons and other Ship Owners; besides which there were other Descriptions of Vessels, such as Botillas, Dows, Dingeys, and Patamars and Munchoos.
Those smaller Vessels carried on the Coasting Trade?
Yes; and some of the largest of them go up to Mocha, Judda and other Places in the Red Sea; also to Muscat, Bushire and Bussora, in the Persian Gulf; Porabunder, Cambay, Cutch, Sind, and a long Way up the Indus.
To what Town on the Indus did those Vessels go; did they go to Hydrabad or Sind?
Yes; I believe they go up so far at least. I have seen Bales of Cashmere Shawls brought amongst the Return Cargoes.
Are you aware whether they have ascended the River of Punjab?
No; I am not aware of any Communication with the Punjab Rivers. They go up the Indus; but I am not aware of their going there further than that. I know that Peishwoor Merchants have come down in Sind Boats.
Trade to a considerable Extent is carried on to Shiccapore, is it not?
No, I am not aware of that.
What are the Articles which are exported in those Vessels to the Red Sea?
Pepper, Cardamums, Rice, Paddy, (or Rice in the Husk,) Grain of all Descriptions, Arrow Root, Ginger, Cocoa Nuts, Kopra, (Kernel of the Cocoa Nut,) Cocoa Nut Oil, and Coir, which is made from the Fibres of the Cocoa Nut. The Value of the Produce of the Cocoa Nut Tree alone, exported from the Western Coast, is supposed to be an Hundred Lacs of Rupees.
From what Ports do those Exportations chiefly take place?
From Cochin, Chowgaut, Panany, Tanore, Perperangady, Beypoor, Calicut or Kohicote, Quilandy, (which is a favourite Arab Port,) Kotah, Barragurry, Mahe, Tellicherry, Cananore, Cavai, Bekklum, Mangalore, Cundapore, Onore, Cumpty, Seedashagur, besides numerous intermediate Ports.
Is Quilandy a good Port?
Yes; there are more of the Arabs congregate there, and more Mosques, than in any other Port on the Coast. The Mopillas here are the fairest of all the Mohamedans.
Can Vessels of 700 Tons enter every one of those Ports?
They can approach as near as a Thousand Yards of the Shore with perfect Safety, nearly all along the Coast.
Are they safe in those Ports during the Monsoons?
No; the strongest Vessel that was ever built could not ride out a Malabar Monsoon. One or Two Attempts have been made within my Observation, but they were obliged to go off.
Where do they go to when they are obliged to go off?
To Bombay; some to Cochin, where there is a very fine River.
What are the chief Importations from the Red Sea?
Coffee, Dates, and Gold Dust; Almonds, Kissmisses, (dried Grapes,) Prunes, Gums, Drugs, Perfumes, Elephants Teeth. There are several others which I cannot call to Recollection at this Moment; but chiefly, however, they bring Specie, in Venetians or Sequins and Dollars.
Do you know how far up the Red Sea those Vessels go?
The full Extent of the Red Sea. Very few of the Malabar Vessels go up that length, but they have Agents or Commercial Dealings the whole Way to Suez.
How far do the Vessels go?
To Cosheir, I think.
Have you heard of their being frequently lost?
No; very rarely indeed.
What Time do they occupy in going and returning?
They generally go before the Monsoon, and return after the Monsoon; or rather from January to April, and return from the Beginning of August to January.
From what Part of the Coast of Arabia do the Arabs chiefly come?
Chiefly from Arabia Felix.
From any principal Port?
From Aden, Judda, Mocha and Muscat, and all the Ports at the Mouth of the Red Sea.
Is much Trade carried on with Muscat?
A great deal, particularly with the Port of Cochin.
Are you aware whether any great Difficulties were experienced by the Merchants who come down the Indus?
No, I am not aware of any. Pirates were common some Years ago, but they are all destroyed, I believe, now.
The Question applies to the Navigation of the Indus itself?
No, I am not aware of any Impediment. I have often talked to the Sind Merchants whom I have met with at Tellicherry, Calicut, and Mangalore, but I have never been apprized of any particular Difficulties.
What are the Returns from Sind?
Cotton Piece Goods are all I can call to Recollection just now, except Shawls; but chiefly Specie. I think they generally purchase their Return Cargo with Money, which is so valuable to them.
How is Justice administered in Malabar?
According to the Regulations of Government, adopted from Bengal.
Just as it is in the other Parts of the Territories under Madras?
Precisely the same. What is called the Civil Law is the Local Law of Malabar and Canara, called Deshachari, which differs entirely from the ancient Hindoo Law as contained in their Shasters, named Iruti, Dherma Shastra, Mimamsa, Dya Bhaga, &c.; for instance, the Local Law of Succession, Descent and Inheritance is totally distinct, perhaps peculiar to the Western Coast, where Property descends, not from the Mother to the Son, but the Sister's Sons, and those failing to the Aunts on the Mother's Side and their Descendants. This is called Maramakatajum; AnglicÀ, Nepotism.
Is that peculiar to the Hindoo Part of the Population?
No; many of the Mopillas, especially the Two head Families (viz. the Beebee of Cananore and Chowakkara) I have mentioned, follow the same Rule.
As well as the Hindoos?
Yes, but not the whole; a Portion of them follow the Law of Mohamed.
Does this Law of Descent adhere to the Family or the Land?
If the Land was purchased by a Person of a different Religion, would it still descend according to the original Order?
It depends upon who the Purchaser was; if a Hindoo, or Mopilla following the Local Law, it is in his Gift; or it may go in the Way the Property was inherited, provided it can be ascertained or proved that it was purchased with the Proceeds of the Hereditary Property. The senior Male of the Family is generally considered as the Manager, although properly speaking the senior Female is the lawful Proprietor. The Cananore Beebee, for instance, also the Ranny or Queen of Travancore, under the Name of Attinga Umma Tamburattes. Treaties, every thing of Importance, is or should be done in her Name, though the Rajah her Son is the ruling Rajah. The Husband or Father are never mentioned, and with the Hindoo Rajahs perhaps not known.
Does Property more usually descend in the Female than in the Male Line?
Always with the Hindoos, excepting the Brahmins, in the Female Line; but the Sons of the Females are the Managers of the Property. One of the most reproachful Terms in Malabar is calling a Man Appa; Anglicè, Father.
Are Punchayets used in Criminal Suits in that Country?
Not since the Establishment of the Company's Dominion.
Were they exceedingly used before?
There were what were called Sabbahs, or Assemblages of influential Men, though not exactly of the Nature of Punchayets; but in point of fact there was no regular Administration of Criminal Justice at any Time.
Will you state your Opinion as to the practicability of introducing the Use of Native Juries in the Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice in Malabar?
It would be the most acceptable Alteration to the People that could be introduced; it is the one Thing wanting in the Part of India I have been employed in.
In that Part of India are the People who would be called to serve on Juries superior to those who would be called upon for the same Purpose in other Parts of India?
I think they are. They would be taken discriminately, I should imagine.
Are there Persons of higher Description in Malabar?
There are nearly 300 different Castes of People in Malabar.
Are there Persons better educated in Malabar, possessed of more Property, and altogether really more fit to perform the Duties of a Juryman, than there are in other Parts of India with which you are acquainted?
The only Parts of India I can speak to are the Southern Mahratta Country; that is, the Country from the Kistna River down to the Toongbudra, comprising a Population of about a Million and a Half of Souls; and the Western Coast Provinces, composing a Population of between Two and Three Millions. I should say decidedly that the People of Malabar were the most intelligent and best informed of any Natives I have ever met with.
Have they ever expressed a Wish to be admitted to any Share in the Administration of Justice?
Yes, frequently. When I was senior Judge of the Provincial Court of the Western Division, I was particularly directed to ascertain the Feeling of the People upon that Question. I have now brought with me Two Letters I received from Mr. Græme, the then Acting Governor of Madras, upon the Subject, which I can produce, if it is desired.
The same are delivered in, and read; and are as follow:
"My dear Baber, Madras, 21st August 1827.
"Your Opinion has always been in favour of the Independence, the Intelligence and the general good Character of the Inhabitants of Malabar; and you have always wished to raise them to the Possession of all Rights and Privileges that might be consistent with a due Subordination to the Government, and that would add to their Moral Happiness; you will therefore, I think, read with Pleasure the enclosed Draft of a Regulation preparing to establish Juries. It is thought better to confine them at present to those Places where the Zeal, the Ability and the Concurrence of the presiding Judge in the Expediency of the Measure may hold out the most rational prospect of its Success, and I am naturally anxious to know the Sentiments of one in every way so well qualified as yourself to give Effect to an important Institution, if you think it adapted to the State of Malabar. By your Answer I shall be determined on the Propriety, or otherwise, of proposing to extend the Jury Regulation to Malabar."
"My dear Baber, Madras, 15th September 1827.
"It gives me great Pleasure that you take up the Jury Regulation with your characteristic Ardour, for there can be little Doubt that with your Talent and perfect Knowledge of the Language and Character of the Malabar People, and your Partiality for them, the Measure will succeed in your Hands. The Regulation, modified by the Sudder, and sanctioned by Government, will be published in a few Days; when, upon expressing your Sentiments officially, the Government will be enabled to use the Discretion vested by the Regulation, by directing its being introduced into Malabar, when you may be known to be presiding at the Quarter Sessions."
Did that first Letter enclose the Draft of the Regulations?
It did. I have a Copy of the Regulation which was subsequently passed by The Governor in Council. There were some Objections made after Sir Thomas Munro's Death, and it was never, in consequence, carried into Effect. I can give your Lordships an Account how this Jury Regulation commenced, if it is wished. Two Judges of the Centre Division, of the Names of Newnham and Dacre, gave in a Minute to the late Governor Sir Thomas Munro, proposing the Introduction of Trial by Native Juries. The Grounds were as follow:-To remedy the double Inconvenience arising from the Foreign Origin of both English Judges and Mohamedan Law Officers, and to remove the Niceties of the Law, or rather Scruples of the Law Officers, in respect to Evidence, and generally to facilitate the Dispensation of Criminal Justice. So imperfect was the Law itself, (the Mohamedan Law,) and so utterly ignorant were the Mohamedans themselves of their own Law under the Madras Presidency, that it was found necessary to import Mohamedan Law Officers from Bengal, Hindostan, Oude, Surat, &c. into the Madras Presidency, on the first Establishment of the Judicial Code. Moreover, those Mohamedan Law Officers, so imported from Bengal, Hindostan, &c. laboured under the Disadvantage of being totally ignorant of the local or vernacular Tongues of the different Provinces wherein they were employed; and it became necessary, in consequence, to interpret and translate into Persian the Proceedings held in those Languages, for their Use. The subsequent Modifications of the Mohamedan Law, introduced in the Judicial Code at the Suggestion of the European Judges, almost superseded the Mohamedan Law altogether; for instance, where a Man was convicted of having seriously wounded, or of having robbed by open Violence, the Code of Regulations of the Madras Government fixed the Punishment. Of what Use then, these Gentlemen asked, was it to apply to the Law Officer for his Scruples, that the Court might overrule them? In Cases where the Punishment was not specified, or the Offence not provided for, a Reference might then be necessary to the Law Officer; not however for the Fact, for that could be decided by the Jury, (for at present the Mohamedan Law Officers are Judges both of the Fact and of the Law under the Madras Presidency, and under the Bombay Presidency they are merely the Judges of the Law,) but as to the Law itself, (as an abstract Question;) consequently no Necessity could exist for Persian Translates of the Record. Doubtful Points of Evidence might also be referred to the Law Officers. Juries would be no Innovation; on the contrary, would approximate the Administration during the Native Government, by Sabbahs, or Convocations of their Countrymen. The absurd Objections to the Evidence of Police Officers would no longer exist; the innocent would be secure from falling Victims to false Prosecutions; and the really guilty would find it more difficult to escape than at present. Such were, as I understood, the principal Arguments of the Two Gentlemen above mentioned. Sir Thomas Munro's (the late Governor of Madras) Arguments were, that the Way to extend the Knowledge of the People, and to elevate the Native Character, would be, by bringing them into contact with ourselves in every Department, in order that they might perceive and understand the enlarged Views of Europeans in all Matters of Government; that the Natives themselves are much better able to trace Facts and judge of the Credibility of Evidence than ourselves or Mohamedan Law Officers; that long Experience had shewn how utterly unsuited the present System of Criminal Law was to the Circumstances of the People, or Wants of the Country. He observed also on the absurd Scruples of Mohamedan Law Officers; on the Delays and Waste of Time in recording and translating Evidence, and preparing Trials for reference to the Foujdarry Adawlut, (the Superior Court at the Presidency.) He further observed as to the superior Competence of Judges presiding on Trials over those of the Foujdarry Adawlut of the Presidency, from the Circumstance of the latter not seeing or hearing the Evidence. He adverted to the Objections raised by the Mohamedan Law Officers in regard to the Inadmissibility of the Evidence of Police Officers because in the Pay of Government, also of those of the Inhabitants who were engaged in Conflicts with Offenders. All which, and other similar Objections, would be obviated by Trial by Jury. Furthermore, he thought that public Curiosity would be excited by Native Juries; that the Courts would be crowded; and that the consequent Presence of their Countrymen would operate as a Check upon Jurymen being partial. The above Views and Opinions having been concurred in by the Acting Governor, Mr. Græme, a Reference was made to the Foujdarry Adawlut, by whom a revised Regulation for the Trial by Jury was submitted, on the 6th of September 1827, professedly as calculated to facilitate the Operation of the Jury System. The Judges, in re-transmitting it, observed, that they had consulted several highly intelligent Natives, who had given their readiest Aid and much useful Information to them. In their Alterations of the Draft of the Regulation sent them by Government they raised the Allowance to Jurors from Half to One Rupee per Day; observing that the Difference of Expence would not be worthy of Consideration, compared to the Saving in translating and in transcribing the Proceedings, and in preparing and reporting upon referable Trials to themselves. To that Part of the Regulation that empowered the Foujdarry Adawlut to quash the Verdict of a Jury, they thought that a new Trial was preferable; and that it would be better, in order to provide against unjust Verdicts, that a sovereign Power of Pardon should be lodged in The Governor in Council. They concluded their Observations by an Opinion that, though the Regulation was not perfect, it would still, in its present Form, work well in Practice; and they had no doubt that Trial by Jury would be popular and successful beyond even the Expectations of Government. After Sir Thomas Munro's Death, Sir George Walker, the Commander-in-Chief, and Mr. Ogilvie, Third Member of Council, expressed some Doubts of the Policy and Expediency of the Introduction of Trial by Jury. Sir George Walker observed, that Punchayet Arbitrations were such a Decision as might have been come to by drawing Straws, provided, that is, neither Party were bribed; that he himself had no Confidence in the Integrity of Persons to be employed as Jurors; and he did not conceive the Character of the People would be raised by this Mode of distributing Justice. He concurred in Sir Thomas Munro's Observations regarding Mohamedan Law Officers, and was at a loss to understand upon what Principle such a Personage was ever introduced. Mr. Ogilvie did not think the Natives were morally fit to discharge the Duty with Integrity and Impartiality. He apprehended that they would consider it a great Inconvenience to be put upon Juries; and that their Caste Prejudices might interfere; for instance, that Brahmins would not be convicted of any Crime the Punishment of which would expose them to Infamy or Degradation; also Sectarism, such as the Right Hand and Left Hand Castes. Notwithstanding which, he still thought that the proposed Measure of Trial by Jury offered the most efficacious Means of remedying the Defects of the present System. Mr. Græme, the Second Member of the Council's Opinions were in entire Accordance with Sir Thomas Munro's. After this, on the 11th of September 1827, a Regulation, No.X. A.D. 1827, "for the gradual Introduction of Trial by Jury," was passed by The Governor in Council. Nothing appears to have been done until after Mr. Lushington's assuming Charge of the Government. In December 1827 he recorded his View of the Jury Regulation; in the course of which he observed that the most remarkable Feature was the Precipitancy with which this great Change in the Administration had been introduced; that, in disregard of all the wholesome Restraints of the Regulations, neither the Provincial or the Sudder Courts had maturely examined and discussed the Subject; and the Regulation had been passed in Defiance of the Commander-in-Chief's earnest Entreaty, that the Board would pause before it authorized a Plan replete with so much Mischief. Mr. Lushington thereupon proposed that a Reference be made to all the Judicial Officers and the Principal Collectors for their Sentiments, until which were received the Regulation be suspended. Mr. Græme, Second Member of Council, dissented from the above, and amongst other Observations stated, that the Judges of the Foujdarry Adawlut had expressed themselves decidedly in favour of the Trial by Jury. The Commander-in-Chief and Mr. Ogilvie approved of Mr. Lushington's Proposition to take the Opinion of the Judicial Officers generally; and, in consequence, References were made to the whole of them, and certain Questions were circulated for their Answers. Having shortly after this left India, what has since taken place I only know from Report. With respect to my own Sentiments, it has always appeared to me that the most powerful Engine that could be devised to secure the Popularity and Permanency of our Government in India, would be, by the Introduction of Trial by Jury. A large Portion of the People would not only be introduced to a partial Acquaintance with the Laws, but Self-importance and Vanity would be gratified, by the Notion that those who were engaged as Jurors participated in the Administration of the Laws, and consequently in the Support and Management of Public Affairs. That this Participation and this Conviction (so long only, that is, as they maintained the Character of Integrity and Impartiality,) would be the Means of instilling and rendering habitual to their Minds more settled Notions of Rectitude than have hitherto prevailed. That the true Merits of a Case would be much better known by the Natives themselves than by ourselves, much less by Mohamedan Law Officers. Sentences would be much more popular, and even Punishments more striking and exemplary, than they are under the present System. At all events, that this Advantage would be gained, that if Injustice is done, if the innocent do suffer, or the guilty do escape Punishment, the Odium would be transferred from ourselves to the Natives themselves; and though last not the least important Consideration, the Saving in Judicial Establishments, both European and Native, in the whole of the Courts of Justice would be considerable.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Friday next, One o'Clock.