Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
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Die Veneris, 2 Aprilis 1830.
If I had introduced the first Trial by Jury at the first Quarter Sessions A.D. 1828, as was designed by the Acting Governor, I should have submitted a few Alterations in the Regulation; but those Alterations were not submitted to Government, because of there being a stop put to the Regulation, as before mentioned.
The 8th Section of the Regulation in question provides, that, immediately on Receipt of the Circuit Judge's Precept, the Circuit Judge shall take by Lot the Names of the intended Number of Jurors; but in drawing the Lots he shall exclude the Names of all Persons who had been summoned to serve on a Jury at any Time within Two Years, unless the required Number cannot be otherwise obtained than by including them; so that no Man, except in the Case of Necessity, shall be summoned to serve on a Jury oftener than Once in Two Years." My proposed Modification would have been as follows: - "Immediately on Receipt of the Circuit Judge's Precept, the Criminal Judge shall select the intended Number of Jurors, with reference, as much as may be practicable, to the Castes of the Prisoners to be tried, with a view to counteract any undue Bias from Religious or Caste Prejudices for or against the Prisoner, provided that no Man, except in Case of Necessity, shall be summoned to serve on a Jury oftener than Once in Two Years." In the 20th Section of the same Regulation it is provided, that "it shall not be requisite to reduce any of the Evidence into the Persian Language. In Trials not referable to the Foujdarry Adawlut, the presiding Judge may dispense altogether with written Depositions, and in lieu thereof place upon Record his own Notes of the Evidence. In Cases referable to the Court of Foujdarry Adawlut, the Evidence for the present shall be taken down in the current Language of the District; but a Discretion is hereby vested in that Court to dispense therewith, and to admit in lieu thereof the Notes of the presiding Judge of Circuit, whenever they shall deem the same to be expedient." For which I proposed to substitute this: "The presiding Judge may dispense with written Examinations, so far as to substitute in lieu thereof the Substance of the Evidence in the current Language of the Country, which shall be read over to the Witnesses in open Court, in order that its Correctness may be ascertained from themselves." In the 27th Section it is provided, that, "should the Judge of Circuit consider the Verdict not sufficiently specific, either with reference to the Value of the Property stolen, to any Aggravation, or other peculiar Circumstances charged in the Indictment, which under the Regulations of the Mohamedan Law would affect the Sentence to be pronounced, or should he deem the Verdict otherwise defective, objectionable or contrary to Evidence, he shall remand the Jury to amend their Verdict, first explaining his Reason for objecting to it; but if the Jury persist in their Verdict it shall be conclusive, unless a new Trial shall be ordered, under Section 29." My Idea was to omit that Part which commences with, "which under the Regulations or Mohamedan Law would affect the Sentence to be pronounced, or should be deem the Verdict otherwise defective, objectionable or contrary to the Evidence." And also to omit the concluding Part, beginning with, "but if the Jury persist it shall be conclusive, unless a new Trial shall be ordered, under Section 29." Section 29 consequently called for considerable Alteration. The original Section stands thus: "If in any Case the presiding Judge of Circuit shall be of Opinion that the Jury have returned a Verdict contrary to the Evidence, and the Jury, after being remanded, persist in their Verdict, the presiding Judge shall transmit an English Translation of the Proceedings held, or an authenticated Copy of his own Notes, according as the Deposition may or may not have been recorded, to the Foujdarry Adawlut; and that Court shall have Power, provided they concur in his Opinion, to order a new Trial. The Verdict of the second Jury shall in all Cases be final." My proposed Alteration was to omit that Part, "and the Jury, after being remanded, persist in their Verdict, the presiding Judge shall transmit," &c. &c. and to say, "the presiding Judge shall have the Power to order a new Trial." In Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 16, 31, 32, 33 (to be omitted altogether) and 34, there would be required some trifling Alterations, but the above mentioned are those of most Importance.
To their keen Sense of Honour, and high Notions, and Spirit of Independence. An extraordinary Instance of the former occurred in a Trial which came before me. A Female of the Nair Caste had cohabited with a Relation within what they call the prohibited Degrees. The Circumstance coming to the Knowledge of their Family, an Application was made to me to punish the offending Parties, (both the Man and the Woman.) I observed that the Case was not provided for in the Regulations as a Matter of Criminal Cognizance; that perhaps an Action for Damages might lie against the Man, but that I saw no Advantage that would result therefrom to the Family; I therefore recommended to them to refer the Matter to their own Caste; observing that they had the Power to expel the Delinquents from their Caste; that this was the only Remedy I knew of or could suggest. They then petitioned me to have the Parties taken up, and banished the Country; they particularly requested that I would send them to His Highness The Rajah of Coorg, whose District adjoined that Country. This I told them also was not in my Power. The Two Seniors of the Family, who had waited upon me, went away, evidently much dissatisfied. A few Days afterwards a Report reached me, from one of my Police Officers, that this Man and Woman had disappeared. I immediately set on foot an Inquiry of what had become of them; and in my Instructions to the Police Officers directed them to call before them particularly the Two Persons who had come before me as above. As soon as the Two Individuals in question heard of the Inquiry the Police Officers were making, they went and delivered themselves up, acknowledging they had put them to Death, and not therefore to annoy any other Person on that Account; that if there was any Guilt they were the guilty Persons. The Bodies of the Man and Woman were found horribly mangled. The Proceedings of the Inquest, together with the Two Prisoners, were forwarded to my Court, when they acknowledged that they were the Perpetrators of the Murder; and then reminded me that they had appealed to my Authority before to redress the Family Grievance, and thereby vindicate the Family's Honour; that I had not complied with their Request, and therefore they had taken the Law into their own Hands. They were committed for Trial, and sentenced by the Court of Quarter Sessions to be hanged. As usual, the Trial was referred to the Foujdarry Adawlut, which Court confirmed the Sentence of Death, and the Warrant was returned shortly afterwards for carrying the same into Execution. It was my Province, as Magistrate of that Part of the Country, to attend at the Execution, in order to make those Observations which would naturally occur to a Magistrate on those awful Sentences of the Law. Both at the Time that the Prisoners were brought before me to have their Sentence read, and afterwards at the Gallows, the younger of the Two Brothers fainted away; when the elder encouraged him, by saying, "Be a Man. Recollect by this Act, for which we are now going to suffer, we have saved the Honour of our Family." This is one out of many Instances I could mention of the Extent to which the Natives of Malabar carry their nice, though mistaken, Notions of Honour and of Family Pride.
Certainly, there is more Appearance of Comfort; but still they are in great Distress, compared to what they used to be; owing, I conceive, to Over-taxation. I know indeed that the Revenues bear exceedingly hard upon them.
With reference to the Nature of the Land Tenures in Malabar and Canara, perhaps it is. By those Land Tenures there exists an intermediate Rank, which is not, I believe the Case in other Parts of India. Besides the Cultivator, there is a Proprietor, as well as the Government, to be satisfied out of the Gross Produce. Say it is Tenfold: Five, or the Half, would go to the Cultivator, out of which he has to subsist the Slaves, to purchase the Seed, Implements of Husbandry, Cattle, &c. &c. and subsist himself and his Family; of the remaining Moiety, Six Tenths, or rather Three Fifths, go to the Government; the Remainder to the Proprietor. But this Three Fifths is nominal, arising from several Causes; the Two principal of which are, first, the great Inequalities in the Assessment, varying from Twenty to One hundred per Cent. the other is the Rate of Conversion of the Produce in Kind to Money, the Government receiving none but Money Payments, which upon the Average is Fifty per Cent. more than the current Rates, or the Market Prices; so that in many Cases not One Fifth remains to the Proprietor. I have known indeed a great Number of Estates wherein, from Failure for Want of Means of Payment of the Assessment, the Government have dispossessed the Proprietor; and that, after they have had it for Years under their own Management, the whole Proceeds, after paying all Charges, have been found insufficient to discharge the Assessment. Some of those Proprietors I have known; for they have been under my Custody, as Judge of the Zillah Court, sent there by the Collector; and some have been confined for Years for the Arrears so created. Proprietors also very generally mortgage their Estates to the Tenants, or others, when the Interest of the Mortgage Amount is paid from or deducted by the Tenant from the Proportion of the Rent which would otherwise have become due to the Proprietor.
In your Evidence on a former Day, you mentioned that you had known Instances in which, when Sales of Land for Arrears of Revenue have taken place, they have not been sold for above One Fifth of their Value?
I meant the full Value, subject of course to the Incumbrance. I have a Report from Sir Thomas Munro, in which he particularizes a certain Number of Estates (Rice Fields) which were sold as above mentioned to satisfy a Revenue of about Nine hundred Rupees, when their Cost to the Proprietor was upwards of Four thousand.
Not the slightest. Their Lordships will, I trust, pardon a little Enthusiasm, while pleading the Cause of the Inhabitants of Malabar. I have been placed in a Variety of Situations of very considerable Peril during Times of Trouble. Often have I been opposed to Persons in open Rebellion, with no other Defenders but Nairs, and invariably have I found them faithful, nay, devoted to me; and even have been killed and wounded by my Side; and in order to shield my Person from Danger, they have surrounded me; and forced me behind a Tree. From a Principle of Gratitude, therefore, I am bound to speak with more than ordinary Feeling of them.
Did you mean to state, that after the Government has got Possession of the Lands of Proprietors, in Default of Payment to the Government, it is the Practice of the Government to keep those Proprietors in Prison?
There are what they call Ooppadana, Anglicè, Salt Pans, all along and in a parallel Line with the Coast. The Lands are overflowed by the Sea; some of them are dammed up, into which the Salt Water is admitted, which, by the Heat of the Sun, being evaporated, leaves the Salt Residue.
From Three hundred to Four hundred per Cent. in some Parts of the Country. I have known it stand the Consumer perhaps as high as Six hundred or Seven hundred per Cent; but this and other Grievances of the People I noticed in a Memorial to The Honorable the Court of Directors in August last, which, if it is the Pleasure of your Lordships, I can produce.
I believed them to be very corrupt, as Mahratta Brahmins generally are; but I believe it is in the Power of a European, who will take the Trouble to superintend them, to prevent any thing glaringly dishonest or grossly partial.
Because they would be selected and superintended by a European Judge, acquainted with their Language, with their Customs, with their Characters, and whose very Appearance would overawe them, provided that the presiding Judges were selected as they ought to be; that is, with reference to these indispensable Qualifications.
Not so universally, by any Means, as alluded to. Nothing is more common than Brahmin Witnesses against Brahmins; but in all my Experience as an Executive Servant for nearly Thirty-two Years I have never had Reason to suppose that they favoured each other more than any other Caste; and if Caste would not have that Effect as Witnesses, I do not see why it should as Jurors.
In Malabar and Canara, I imagine, there are altogether perhaps about 60,000 Christians, of which 10,000 may have been originally descended from Europeans, though not a Twentieth Part of that Number carry any Appearance of it in their Complexions.
From the Want of Education, deserted by their Fathers, and with no other Protection than their Mothers, it may be naturally supposed that they must be exceedingly indolent and immoral; the Females in general follow the Example of their Mothers.
No. I myself established a Seminary at Tellicherry, (at one Time I had more than a Hundred Youths,) to which many Natives, both Hindoos and Mohamedans, contributed. Some very good Scholars were turned out; and as many as have been employed in public Offices have done Credit to the Institution.
There are about 10,000 in Malabar, and about 50,000 in Canara. Great Part of them are Descendants from Dutch, Danes, French, Portuguese, and the rest Converts, chiefly from low Castes, or Persons of high Caste who have lost Caste.
Yes; in the Provinces of Cochin and Travancore they may comprise about 100,000, Roman Catholics of Syrian Origin included. About 1,000 are to the Eastward of Cochin and Choughaut, in Malabar Proper; they are what are called Nestorians, or Syrian Christians.
No such thing is known as a Convert by any of our English Missionaries. I have heard of such a thing indeed as a Person who has forfeited his Caste turning Christian, but otherwise it is a thing quite out of the Range of Possibility, and for a very good Reason: they lose their Civil Rights, that is, their Birthrights, immediately on becoming Converts. They are disowned by their Family, and in fact are looked upon as a degraded People.
They have a Metropolitan from Antioch. Their Priests are called Catanars. A great Number of Corruptions had crept into their Church, which have been reformed by the Metropolitan, with the Co-operation of The Rev. Mr. Jo. Fenn, formerly of Trinity College, Cambridge, and other Gentlemen of the Church of England, sent out by the Church Missionary Society. They have done a great deal of Good also in establishing Parochial Schools and an Academical Institution for the Education of the Catanars, at a Place called Cotym, in the Heart of the Travancore Country. I have understood that at one Period their Numbers were about 300,000.
Yes; I imagine about 120 to a Square Mile. The Population has nearly doubled within the last Thirty Years. I think the Population when I went to Malabar first was hardly 600,000; now, as I have before said, it is upwards of a Million.
The Hindoo Law as well as their own local Customs, according to which the Company's Courts are bound to regulate their Decisions in Matters of Civil Rights. The Mohamedan Law is the Criminal Law of the Land.
Yes; both as regards the Scruples of the Mohamedan Law Officers, as before stated, and also as regards the Law itself. For instance, a Mohamedan Law Officer in his Futwah finding the Prisioner guilty of Robbery by open Violence would, under a Sentence of Hudd, adjudge him to suffer Amputation of Two Limbs; this of course is not sanctioned by the British Government, and is therefore commuted to Imprisonment for Fourteen Years, at the Rate of One Limb for Seven Years. If convicted of Kutl Amd, or express Murder, and Kissaâs, or Retaliation, is barred, from Failure of Heirs to prosecute, or on account of Prisoner's Relationship to deceased, or the deceased being Prisoner's Slave, or any other Ground of personal Distinction and Exception from the Rules of natural Justice, such Objections are over-ruled. The Distinctions by the Imams, as to the Mode or Instrument with which a Murder is perpetrated, are not to be adhered to; but the Act is to be judged by the Intention. When Prisoners are convicted of Homicide, and the Law Officer awards Deyat, or Price of Blood, then the Fine is commuted to Imprisonment. There are other similar Modifications.
None. In Canara there have been Four or Five to the best of my Recollection, of the Cheetapauven Brahmin Women, since 1815, but carried on in the most clandestine Manner. In Malabar some Attempts were made, in 1805 I think it was, by a Description of Brahmins called the Paulgat Puttars. The Nairs came to the Knowledge of it, and compelled the whole Party over the River into the Coimbatore Country. The Nairs hold Sagamanum or Concremation in great Abomination. In Seringapatam Two Instances occurred, one in 1816, the other in 1819. In the Southern Mahratta Country they do occasionally occur, both by burning and burying alive.
No. I verily believe the Inhabitants would readily aid and support Government in abolishing it. I witnessed one particular Instance myself of such a Disposition in the Buljeewar Caste. I was making a Circuit of the Country at the Time the Information came to me that a Thely named Murthama had died, and his Widow, Deyvucky, was preparing for a Suttee. Both the Mamalutdar and Zilladar of that Part of the Country had endeavoured to dissuade her, but in vain. I ordered them to prevent it, until I came there to see what I could do to dissuade the Woman; and in the mean time dispatched another Zilladar, a Jungum, the same Caste as this devoted Widow, and also one of my principal Mohamedan Revenue Officers, named Goolam Hoossein, with Letters to Deceased's Relations, and all the Jungums, wherein I used all the Arguments I could to convince them of the Sin of Suicide. The Result was, that owing to the Co-operation and Influence of the Jungums, the Woman was persuaded to give it up altogether. Three Days afterwards, I received a Letter from the Woman, thanking me for my Interference.
Yes; not only in Coimbatore, but throughout that Tract of the Country lying West and South of the Neelgherry Mountains and Koondanad. I have often seen the whole Process, and have purchased Gold extracted before me.
Yes. The whole of the Country West of the Neelgherry Mountains, in the Taloogs of Parakameetil, especially at Nelliala, Cherangote, Koonyote Kotah, Nambolacota, Daraloor, &c. &c. also the adjoining Koondanad and Gâat Mountains, and all the Rivers and Cholas (Watercourses) down as far West as Nellambore, and South-west as Caladicota, Karimpure, Aliparamba, &c. the whole Tract, including the Mountains, perhaps comprising 2,000 Square Miles, I may say, is impregnated with Gold. Even the very Stones in the Beds of Rivers, when pounded, have been found to contain Particles of that valuable Metal.
No; but there is not a Part of the Country where they can dig that they do not find it, in larger or smaller Quantities. The largest Quantity is found during the Monsoon, being washed down the Hills by the Torrents of Rain at that Season.
I think I did write on the Subject to my Superior, when I was in charge of Wynând, in 1805-6; but I was a subordinate Officer at the Time. I think my Suggestion was to have some scientific Persons sent to explore that Part of the Country.
They are absolute Property, as much as the Cattle upon a Man's Estate; they are bought and sold in the same Way. A Slave generally sells from Five Rupees to about Twenty, or about Ten Shillings to Forty Shillings; when leased out the usual Patom or Rent is Four Fanams, which is about Two Shillings a Year. I could give a List of the several Castes comprising the whole of the Slave Population. There are upwards of 100,000 of them in Malabar alone, and they are in that abject degraded State that it is Matter of Astonishment that no Legislative Provisions have been enacted to improve their Condition. The very Appearance of them, particularly those in the Eastern and Southeast Parts, bespeaks their Wretchedness. Small in Stature, spare Arms and Legs, with large Stomachs, in fact more like Baboons than Men. Perhaps there is no Person who has had the Opportunity I have had of seeing and knowing these unhappy Creatures.
In the most retired Parts of the Country, with nothing but a Plaintain Leaf tied round their Waists; in the more open and cultivated Parts, a Waist Cloth, perhaps about Three Feet in Length and about a Foot broad, secured by a Knot in Front.
There are none imported now, I believe. There were some imported from Travancore and Cochin, or rather kidnapped; many of them free-born Children, stolen during the Night-time. Many of them I discovered on the Plantation of a Native-born British Subject.
The Resident of Travancore, Colonel Munro, sent me a Letter, which this same British Subject had written to him, soliciting his (the Resident's) Protection of his (the Writer's) Agent, who had been taken up in Travancore for this very Act, and requesting he would obtain his Release on whatever Terms might appear to him reasonable. This Letter, and all the Correspondence it gave rise to, I can produce, if it is their Lordships Pleasure.
It is not on account of the Labour they exact, but that they do not subsist them as they ought to do. Often may they be seen in the wildest Part of the Forests and Mountains, digging for wild Yams for their very Subsistence.
They are supposed to have been the Aborigines of the Country. Their History, which, like all the other Indian Stories, is wrapped up in Fable, is as follows; Srb Parasu Rama was incarnated to destroy the Rajahs (Kheterees) then oppressing the Earth. After Twenty-one different Battles, he slew them all. To expiate which, it being a great Sin to slay Heroes, called Virahatirju dosham, he went to Gokernum, and having there performed Sacrifices, and prostrated himself to Varuna, he made the Ocean retire, and thus created 160 Kadums of Land. (fn. 1) He then went and brought the Arya Brahmins of the Sixty-four Grams, and to induce them to remain he went in Search of the wild People who inhabited the Forests and Mountains, collected them, and presented them to the Brahmins as Adiars, or Slaves, since which Period they have been considered as Jelm Property equally with the Soil itself.
Certainly. I think they are much better Farmers there than in Malabar; they take more Pains to improve the Soil than they do there. In Canara Leaves are strewed over their Fields, and then ploughed up. This is the general Mode of manuring.