Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Die Jovis, 4 Martii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Ross Donnelly Mangles Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
Have you resided in India?
What Situation did you last hold?
I was Deputy Secretary to Government in the Territorial and Judicial Departments.
For what Period did you hold that Situation?
I think about Two Years.
What are the Duties of the Department?
I was employed chiefly in writing the general Letters from the Government to the Court of Directors.
What are the Duties of the Department of which you were Secretary?
The Duties of Territorial Secretary, in one Branch, correspond in a great measure with those of The Chancellor of Exchequer in this Country; he manages the whole Financial Business of the Government, in concert with the Accountant General; but the Secretary is the chief Officer of the Government in that Department; moreover he has the Management of the Territorial Revenue, and of the Revenue derived from Salt and Opium, and he conducts the Correspondence of Government with the Three Boards of Revenue in the Upper, Lower and Central Provinces respectively.
In what Relation does the stand to the Board of Revenue?
He is merely the ministerial Officer of the Government; he is not a responsible Officer.
Has he any Power over the Board of Revenue?
If any Increase of Charge were proposed by any of the Boards of Revenue, or by any Person acting under them, is that Proposal for Increase submitted to the Territorial Secretary before it is acquiesced in and sanctioned by the Government?
He is the Person always addressed. The Boards of Revenue have the Power of writing directly to The Governor General in Council, but that is a mere Matter of Form, for such Letter goes equally through the Office of the Territorial Secretary, and is submitted by him to The Governor General in Council.
Does the Territorial Secretary offer his Opinion upon the Admissibility of any new Charge proposed?
He certainly does.
Is it his Duty to do so?
I should think so; he has no Right or Power to do so; but he is generally called upon to do so, I apprehend.
Is his Opinion on any new Charge recorded officially?
The Secretaries are in the habit of giving in Papers called Memoranda. As The Governor General or Members of Council lay Minutes before the Council Board, so the Secretaries, whenever they have any Suggestion to make, submit what are called a Memoranda.
One of the Members of the Council is nominally President of the Board of Revenue, is he not?
Merely nominally so.
He performs no Duties?
No; none that I am aware of.
Does the other Member of Council perform any Duties distinct from those of Member of Council?
I believe not; he is nominally President of the Board of Trade.
Are you aware whether in former Times the Members of Council did perform the Duties of Presidents of the Boards over which they presided?
I imagine that they did under Mr. Warren Hastings, and in the Times preceding him, but not since that, I believe.
What are the Duties of the Territorial and Judicial Departments as regard the Judicial Department?
They are quite distinct Departments. There are Two Secretaries; but from want, I presume, of Hands, (for the Number of public Servants was at that Time very inadequate to the Work to be performed,) I was appointed Deputy to both. There was a great Arrear of general Letters to the Court of Directors at that Period.
What are the Duties of the Department with regard to the Judicial Administration of the Country?
The Judicial Secretary is quite independent of the Territorial; he conducts the Correspondence of the Government with the Sudder Dewanny and Nizamut Adawlut; they are the chief Criminal and Civil Courts.
Is the Police under his Direction?
Yes; at least all the Correspondence of Government on the Subject of the Police is conducted by him. Like the Territorial Secretary, he is not a substantive Officer, only a ministerial Functionary of the Government; he writes always in the Name of the Government; his Letters always begin with Words to this Effect: "I am directed by The Governor General in Council to inform you:" and this holds good with regard to all other Secretaries.
Will you state what the Business of a Collector is in the Lower Provinces?
The Receipt of Revenue; the Conduct of public Sales in the event of any Defalcation on the Part of any Landed Proprietor who is responsible for any Portion of the Revenue.
There being a permanent Settlement of the Land Revenue in those Provinces, has he much to do?
He has not much to do directly with the Collection of the Revenue, but he has a great Number of other Duties, as the Management of Wards Estates, (Minors Estates;) for the Board of Revenue is also a Court of Wards.
Does he exercise any Judicial Functions?
He does, in what are called Summary Suits, arising from Disputes between Landlord and Tenant, between Zemindar and Ryot.
That is in Disputes connected with the Administration of the Revenue?
Yes; connected with the Relation of Landlord and Tenant more particularly.
To what Extent does he decide such Suits?
The Suits are summary Suits; they are not conducted with the Formality of regular Suits; they are instituted originally in the Courts of Law, and are referred by the Judge to the Collector for Decision; they are of a particular Description; they are not conducted with the Formality of regular Law Suits; there is a particular Process laid down by the Regulations for them.
Is it in the Nature of a Reference?
Not exactly; it is a Claim of the Zemindar on the Ryot for Rent, which the Ryot disputes or denies; and it is referred to the Collector, as a summary Suit, under particular Regulations.
Are all the Instances in which he exercises Judicial Power referred to him by the Court?
Yes, as far as regards the summary Suits referred to; but there are also Investigations which partake largely of Judicial Inquiries, which he conducts independently of the Courts, as, for instance, where Landholders in Coparceny have petitioned to have their Estates divided, and to become separately responsible to Government. Such Divisions are called Butwarrahs.
Is the Revenue collected in the Hands of the Collector?
It remains in the Custody of a Native Treasurer, who gives heavy Security, and who is to a great degree independent of the Collector.
Is this Security given to the Government or to the Collector?
To the Government through the Collector; but the Board of Revenue see that it is sufficient.
Is not the Collector also responsible?
Has the Treasurer any Salary?
A very low - a nominal Salary.
In what Manner is he remunerated; by taking the Profit of the Money in his Hands?
Certainly not, where he is properly looked after; but I apprehend that the public Service of the Government being the only Distinction that the Natives of India can attain to, it is entirely for the sake of being Employees of Government that the Persons in question seek for the Situation.
Is he not in many Cases a Banker?
Yes, he is, in some Cases.
Does he alone enter into Security, or are there joint Securities with him?
I apprehend it differs very much; the Board of Revenue always see that the Security is sufficient; there is no fixed Rule.
Little has been lost by means of the Native Treasurers, has there?
Very little, I believe.
Does the Collector enter into any Security?
Have there been recently any Sales of Land in the Lower Provinces?
To any Extent?
I should apprehend so; and chiefly, I apprehend, for these Reasons: in the Estates in the Lower Provinces, as elsewhere in India, there are frequently many Proprietors, a great many Coparceners, and Sales frequently occur from Disputes among those Coparceners; they cannot agree about the Proportion each has to pay; and if the Collector does not exert himself to reconcile those Differences, the Estate will be sold for the Balance, for the Coparceners will not agree about their Proportions. The Collector is under no official Obligation to act in the Manner supposed, but if he be a Man of kindly Feeling he will do so. Another Cause is, that, on account of the great Number of these Coparceners, it is very difficult for the Landed Proprietors to sell those Estates by private Contract, and I believe they often suffer them to fall into Arrears, that the Estate may be sold by public Auction by the Collector, because a Government Sale gives the best Title. It is a Title that cannot be disputed on the Ground of one or more of the Co-proprietors not having agreed to the Sale, as in private Bargains. I believe that Arrears are often suffered to accrue because the Proprietors wish to sell the Estates.
Have there not been Examples of Sales considered by the Government to be improper?
There have; but not exactly in the Lower Provinces.
In what Part of the Country?
In Cawnpoor, Allahabad, and Gorruchpoor.
Were any Measures taken by the Government in consequence?
What were they?
There is a Regulation of 1821, under which a Special Commission in the Interior, and a corresponding Special Commission of Appeal in Calcutta, were appointed to inquire into those, and redress the Abuses complained of.
Can you state the Number of Years Purchase at which Lands have lately been sold in the Lower Provinces?
It varies very considerably in different Parts of the Country; but in the District I had charge of I sold Six Estates during the Year and Nine Months that I held it, and the average Proceeds of Sale were Six and thirty Times the whole Government Revenue of those Estates.
What Proportion is the Government Rent supposed to bear to the Profit made by the Zemindar?
It varies so very much that it is impossible to say. I heard that one of the Persons who bought one of those Estates of which I speak had made a very bad Bargain; but the principal Estate was sold on account of the Wish of the Proprietors to part with it; they took that Mode of selling it.
Can you state at what Numbers of Years Purchase Lands were sold soon after the perpetual Settlement?
It varied very considerably.
Can you state who were the Purchasers in the last Cases of Sale; what Description of Persons they were?
I apprehend they were Landholders of other Estates. It is a District that borders on Calcutta.
In the Cases you mentioned in the Northern States of Cawnpoor and Allahabad, where the improper Sales took place, it was understood that the Lands were purchased by the Officers of the Court, was not it?
They were bought by those Officers, or by their Creatures. It was a Business of most shocking Fraud. The Perpetrators had got to such extreme Insolence and Impudence in their Chicanery, that I understand some of the Papers of Sale were drawn up in the Name of Dogs and Jackalls, to make the Matter ludicrous.
Was that carried on without Notice on the Part of the Collector of the District?
I am afraid in One or Two Instances the Collectors were concerned; I have only heard so; none of the Persons of whom I speak are now in the Service.
Were they dismissed from the Service, or did they retire?
I do not think they were dismissed; the Frauds were not discovered 'till they had retired; it was quite in late Years that the Business was brought to light. Mr. Fortescue was the Person who originally brought to light this State of Things; but I believe that Redress has been almost co-extensive with the Evil.
The Commission is in existence still?
Yes; I believe that it has got through Cawnpoor and Allahabad, and is now going to Gorruchpoor.
Are the Zemindars in the Lower Provinces usually old hereditary Zemindars, or Persons who have been introduced by means of the Sales?
Partly one, and partly the other; some have lost their Estates, and some have retained them.
In what Proportions?
The Rajah of Burdwan has the whole of his Estates; I think he pays £400,000 a Year Revenue to Government.
Are many Zemindarries of such Extent as to yield very considerable Incomes to their Proprietors?
Very great; but the Income of the Proprietor does not depend so much upon the Size of the Estate as the Amount of the Government Revenue.
In what Manner do they expend their Revenues?
Their Characters of course very as much as in other Countries; some are parsimonious, and many of them are extravagant; those that are extravagant spend their Incomes in Nautches and Festivals, Pomp and State.
Do they indulge in European Luxuries and European Mode of Life?
Some few do; and I have understood - it is a Matter of mere Hearsay - that they consume a considerable Quantity of Wine and Cherry Brandy. They do so secretly of course.
Do they consume British Manufactures and Furniture?
Yes; Glass Mirrors and Lustres, I believe, and Articles of a similar Description.
Do they take European Jewellery?
No; I believe that their Jewellery is of their own Manufacture. I have heard that the Cellar of The Rajah of Burdwan was found with several Pipes of Madeira in it.
Do they appear to be acquiring a greater Taste for European Luxuries?
They have greater Means of indulging that Taste than formerly, have they not?
Yes; I apprehend that the Incomes of the Proprietors in the Lower Provinces, taken on the Average, are equal to the Government Revenue.
Those Incomes have been greatly increased since the perpetual Settlement?
Yes; I believe that all Agricultural Produce has risen very considerably, and the Extension of Cultivation is very great.
Is the Condition of the Ryot equally improved?
I think that it is improved, but not equally.
To what Extent has the Ryot become the Purchaser of British Manufactures?
Hardly at all, I should say.
To no greater Extent than Thirty Years ago, do you mean?
He consumes more, certainly, than at that Period. I suppose that there is a good deal of Cotton Twist used by the Native Weavers in making up the Cotton Cloth which the Natives wear, but that has only come into use within Three or Four Years.
Are they generally clothed in British Cottons?
No; the British Cottons are not used; they do not wear so well, I understand, as their own Manufacture; but I have heard that the best Cloths are those made in India by the Hand from the English Twist.
Who are, in India, the great Purchasers of British Cottons?
I should think the higher Classes; but I have not made these Subjects much a Matter of Inquiry, not having been employed in any Branch of the Service directly connected with them.
Are there Natives of considerable Wealth in Calcutta?
There are Natives of very great Wealth.
In what Situations are they?
They are generally the large Landed Proprietors; almost every rich Native in Calcutta is a Landed Proprietor.
Have they also great Capital?
Are they engaged extensively in the Country Trade?
Many of them.
Do they live in the European Style?
As far as Carriages and Equipage of that Nature; and in Native Houses into which I have gone, I have observed Mirrors, Chandeliers, and Lustres, &c.
What is the State of their Education?
They are generally very good English Scholars, as far as Matters of Business and Writing go; but I do not apprehend that they read much English. They write very well.
Some of them have made very considerable Progress in Literature, have they not?
Some few of them have made very considerable Attainments.
Do they live much in English Society?
Their Prejudices prevent their eating with us, though not from being present while Europeans are eating, for I have seen Men of high Rank standing by on such Occasions. The higher Mohamedans will eat with Englishmen, but not so the Hindoos, nor the lower Class of Mohamedans, who are Hindoos in point of Prejudice and Feeling.
Are those rich Persons, the Zemindars and rich Men of Calcutta, usually Hindoos?
Yes, they are chiefly Hindoos. There are some few Arab Merchants, and some few Indian Mohamedan Merchants. The Hindoos are of more saving Habits than the Mohamedans, who are much more debauched.
Do you apprehend, from the State of Society in the Lower Provinces, that it would be possible to raise any more Revenue by means of indirect Taxation?
The Wealth is in existence; but I cannot speak on the Spur of the Moment of any Means by which it could be got at by indirect Taxation, their Wants are so few.
What is the Nature of the Sayer Duties?
They were originally, I believe, Duties on Ghauts or Landing Places, and on Markets; but I think they are almost entirely abolished.
Are there still other Duties under the Name of Sayer Duties?
Perhaps Abkarry, or the Taxes on Spirituous Liquors and Opium, are included under that Head, but I thought not.
What is the Nature of the Abkarry Duties?
They are Taxes on Spirits and Opium and Ganga, and other intoxicating Drugs.
In what Manner are they collected?
I never had charge of any Collections of the Nature in question, and cannot speak to it.
With the Exception of those Duties, of the Revenue of Salt and Opium, of the Transit Duties, and the Duties of Sea Custom, there are no other Modes of collecting Revenue, except on the Land?
I think there are no other but the Pilgrim Taxes at Juggernaut and Gyah.
Do the Zemindars make Advances to the Ryot for Cultivation?
Yes, they may, and in some Instances doubtless they do.
There has been some Increase, has there not, of the Land Revenue in the Lower Provinces since the Settlement?
Yes, but very small, I should think; and in some Instances it has probably decreased.
In what Manner has the Increase arisen where it has been?
From the Cultivation of Wastes not supposed to be included in the perpetual Settlement.
There are some Jaghires which have fallen in lately, are there not?
Yes, doubtless some Jaghires have lapsed.
Can you look forward to any considerable Improvement from the Sunderbuns, or the Cultivation of Land supposed not to be included in the original Settlement?
In all those Districts that border on the Sunderbun Forest I apprehend that there may be very considerable Improvement in the Course of Time; the Forest is of enormous Extent. I am speaking of course of the permanently-settled Districts.
When Land has been brought into Cultivation, supposed not to be included in the original Settlement, in what Manner has the Revenue been assessed of late Years?
There has been great Difficulty in getting any Revenue. The Native Landholders cling very closely to the Terms of the perpetual Settlement, and insist upon that Engagement as including the Land recently cultivated. They very naturally resist any Attempt on the Part of Government to increase the Revenue, and assert that the Lands which the Government claim a Right to assess were included in their several Estates at the Time of the perpetual Settlement.
Has the Government insisted on its Rights?
It has litigated them. Whenever it has succeeded it has been by the Consent of the Parties, or by Litigation in the Courts, not by any arbitrary Proceedings.
In what Manner has it dealt with those Lands for the Purpose of assessing the Revenue when it has gained them?
It is always understood that the Zemindar is entitled to have the Settlement made with him.
Has a Settlement been made with the Zemindar in all Cases?
In One Case, to my Knowledge, under very peculiar Circumstances, it was made with the Ryot.
Can you state the Circumstances?
Yes; I formed that Settlement myself.
What were the Number of Ryots with whom the Settlement was made?
I think between Two and Three hundred.
What Amount, on the Average, did each Person pay?
It is impossible to form an Average; it varied, I think, from Two hundred Rupees a Year to Half a Rupee a Year.
What Time were you occupied in making that Settlement?
I think about Five or Six Weeks.
Supposing the Proprietor of that Land which was assessed at Half a Rupee should die, and his Property be divided, as by Law it would be, among Five or Six Children, to whom would the Government look for the Revenue?
To the Person or Persons in Possession, whoever they might be.
Would not a Settlement be required to ascertain what Proportion of that Sum should be paid by each Individual?
I think the Collector would get it as he best could; he would get it from somebody; from the Person in Possession.
Can you state at what Price Salt is retailed to the People of Bengal?
It varies so very extensively, I cannot state it with any Precision.
The Market Price varies from Time to Time?
Yes; I have seen the average Prices in print, or in the public Records; they were stated very precisely, but I cannot detail them.
To what Purposes do the Natives apply Salt?
I have heard that in some Parts of the Country they give it to Cattle; otherwise I believe it is used entirely for Human Food.
Do they make great Use of it?
Yes; their Diet is vegetable, therefore I believe that it is peculiarly necessary.
Are they enabled at the present Price of Salt to obtain Possession of so much as they want for culinary Purposes?
I think if the Price was lower they would use more; but I have never heard Complaints that they had not enough; no Native ever told me he had not enough Salt.
Can you state the Condition of the Salt Manufacturers?
It is about upon a Footing with that of other Persons of the same Class in the Community.
It is not inferior?
I think not.
Do they select that Manufacture by Preference?
Undoubtedly; there is no Compulsion whatever.
In what Manner is the Population of great Towns composed; of what Description of Persons?
I should think that the Population of the large Towns is more Mohamedan than the general Average of the Country.
What is the Condition of the Population; are there many Persons of considerable Wealth, or are they generally poor?
There are many Persons of considerable Wealth. Many of the large Landed Proprietors do not live upon their Estates, but live in the Towns.
Are they in the habit of living a Part of the Year on their Estates, and Part in Town?
They generally live a Part of the Time on one, and Part on the other; but I am not aware that there is any Season at which they would go from the one to the other.
Have they large Houses on their Estates?
Have they Establishments there?
Yes; but I should apprehend that they transfer their Establishments from the Town to the Country, and back again. They are fond of large Bodies of Retainers and Fellows running after them.
Is the Quantity of Salt produced each Year pretty much the same, or does it vary?
Pretty much the same; but I believe that it has been growing larger and larger with the Population.
What occasions the great Variations in the Price?
I am not aware that there is any very great Variation.
Are Natives employed in the higher Situations of the Revenue Service to any considerable Extent?
The Tehsildars in the Upper Provinces are the highest Revenue Officers who are Natives. There are no Tehsildars in the Lower Provinces, where the Settlement is permanent.
What is the highest Amount of Salary any Native receives in the Revenue Service?
I cannot answer that; the Records will shew that.
What was the highest Salary of any Native Writer in the Territorial Department?
There was one very clever Man indeed, who, I think, got Thirty or Forty Pounds a Month.
What was his Situation?
I think he had the Management of the Salt Division of the Duties of the Office.
Where they have been in the Receipt of suitable Salaries, have they proved trustworthy, and equal to the Duties imposed upon them?
They are certainly equal, in point of Ability, to any Duties.
Have they proved trustworthy, as far as your Observation goes?
They require very great and constant Vigilance and Superintendence; I do not think that a Native is to be trusted without that.
Will you state whether those Persons are Mohamedans or Hindoos?
They are generally Hindoos. The Person to whom I alluded was a Hindoo.
To what Extent is the Half-caste Population employed in the several Departments of Government?
They are employed as Clerks and Copyists to a very considerable Extent.
What is the highest Situation held in any Department of Government by a Half-caste?
The Registrar in the Territorial Department, a Mr. Francis, a very superior Man, was a Half-caste.
What may have been the Amount of his Salary?
I think he had from Five hundred to Seven hundred Rupees a Month - from Fifty to Seventy Pounds a Month.
What Situations do Half-castes hold in the Police?
Only as Clerks; not actually as Officers of Police; as Clerks to Magistrates.
Are they not employed in the Military Police?
Not in the Interior, that I am aware of; I never knew a Halfcaste so employed.
Are there any Mercantile Houses at Calcutta possessed by Halfcastes of very considerable Property?
I think the House of Baretto and Co. were Half-caste, but that House is closed. Mr. Kid, a very large Shipbuilder, is a Halfcaste, as are some Members, I believe, of the House of Brightman.
Have you any Idea of the Value of their Property?
Are they engaged to any considerable Extent in the Country Trade?
I am not aware; I never made any Inquiries as to the different Directions in which they employed their Capital.
Is there any Regulation which excludes them from the Military and Civil Service of the Company?
I believe there is, when they are the Sons of Native Mothers.
The Regulation does not apply to Half-castes the Sons of Mothers not Natives of India, does it?
I should think not.
It does not refer to the Sons of Caffres?
I believe not.
Do Half-castes serve in the Indian Army as Privates?
Have they never served as Drummers and Musicians?
Yes, I believe they do.
But not as Non-commissioned Officers?
No, nor as Privates; there are only Two Classes of Soldiers, to the best of my Knowledge, the European Soldiery and the Native.
They are employed only as Clerks in the Civil Service, with the Exception of one, who is Registrar?
Are they employed in the Marine Service?
I cannot say.
Is there no Regulation applying to the second Generation of Half-castes?
No, I believe not; I have known many in both Services who had a greater or less Degree of Native Blood. Colonel Skinner, who commands a Native Corps, a very distinguished Officer, is a Half-caste. I have heard him say that his Mother was a Hindoo. She was of the Rajpoot Caste, which is the Military Caste, the second in the Scale. He is a C.B.
Do the Majority of Half-castes reside at Calcutta?
Certainly, they do.
Can you give any Estimate of the Number of Half-castes residing at Calcutta?
No, I cannot.
During the Time that you had an Opportunity of Observation, do you consider the Number of Half-castes to have materially increased?
No, I do not think that they have. If a Half-caste marry a Native Woman, the Children are merged in the Native Population; if he marry an European Woman, they lose the Opprobrium of being Half-caste.
Is there no Increase in consequence of the Number employed by the Company?
No; the European Servants of the Company marry English Women more generally than at an earlier Period.
How do these Half-caste Persons employ themselves generally who are not in the Service of the Company?
They are almost universally Servants of the Company as Clerks. The more intelligent Members of the Body have reproached their Brethren as being a Race of Clerks and Copyists; they have, with very few Exceptions, confined themselves to that Employment.
Does the Restriction applicable to British-born Subjects, with regard to the Purchase of Land, also apply to the Half-caste?
No; they are Natives in the Eye of the Law.
Colonel Skinner is a Man of large Property, is he not?
Yes; he has a Jaghire of Land, I think, which was given to him at the End of Lord Lake's War. He is a Man of great Influence among the Native Population; he could raise, I should think, 10,000 Men at any Time.
Are not those Half-castes who have engaged in Agricultural Pursuits more intelligent and improving in general than the other Class of Natives?
They have more Advantages; I do not think they are naturally more intelligent; they have often better Education.
Have they, in point of fact, effected a greater Improvement in Land which has become their Property, or been cultivated by them?
Yes, I should say they have. There is a Son of Colonel Gardner's, who is a Half caste, who I heard had greatly improved his Estate. Colonel Gardner also commanded a Corps of Irregular Horse.
Are the Half-castes allowed to enter into the Service of Native Princes with whom we have Treaties?
Yes, I believe so; there is no Provision to prevent them.
They are not considered in that Light as Europeans?
When you speak of the Half-castes who have improved their Estates more than the Natives, they are Persons who possessed greater Information?
Yes; the Instance I have given is the only One that I can call to mind. I understand some have made Improvements.
They have Establishments affording them considerable Means of Improvement and Information in Calcutta, have they not?
Yes, they have. The very lowest Class of this Description are the Descendants of the Portuguese.
Are the Half-castes Christians?
Yes, I believe so, almost universally.
Do you know any Instance of Half-castes not Christians?
I have heard of some who are said not to be Christians.
They do not commonly intermarry with the Natives, do they?
I cannot say whether they marry them; they frequently live with them, I believe.
When they intermarry amongst themselves, of what Description is the second or third Race; is it improved; is it more of the European or the Native Character?
I do not remember any Instances; I have not been long enough in India to have traced such Descents.
Half-castes who have good Characters, and are wealthy and well educated, bear the same Consideration in Society as British-born Subjects, do they not?
Persons of high Feeling among the Civil or Military Servants would be apt to treat them with rather more Consideration, and on the other hand, Persons of vulgar Minds would be apt to treat them disrespectfully.
Is it the Effect of this sort of Distinction to create a Coolness and Separation between the Two Classes?
I have known many Half-castes who seemed to feel themselves on a perfect Equality. I think Colonel Skinner and Mr. Kid the Shipbuilder do.
Have the Institutions for educating the Half-castes in Calcutta received any Support or Countenance from the Government?
I believe they have from the local Government, under the Sanction, I suppose, of the Company; but I am sure they have from the Servants and Officers of the Company.
Are they generally treated as a degraded Class?
It cannot be concealed that they are not generally on a Par with Europeans either in Mind or Body; they are not considered, as a Class, to stand on a Level with Europeans; but there are very many Exceptions to this Rule.
Then the Marks of Attention and Kindness that are shown them from the higher Class are Deviations from the general Usage, are they not?
No; I would say, not from the general Usage of the educated Part of the Community.
They are treated with Kindness by a small Number of Persons comparatively, are they not?
I should not wish that to be recorded as my Answer, for there are a great many who would treat them with as much Kindness and Attention as Europeans. Those who have high Feelings treat them with careful and delicate Kindness; and those who have vulgar Minds must be expected to treat them in a contrary Manner.
Is the Evidence of Half-castes taken as readily as that of an European?
Is as much Confidence placed in it as in that of an European?
Certainly; cæteris paribus in other respects.
In the Interior of the Country, are they considered as Europeans or as Native Subjects?
They are Natives in the Eye of the Law; they are subject to the Regulations as Natives, as much so as any Mohamedan or Hindoo.
They are subject to the Law which affects their Mothers?
How are they considered by the Natives generally?
All the Feeling which the Natives have against us, they have also against the Half-castes, whilst they probably have not the same Respect for them as they entertain for us. They are Christians, and they eat with any body; and these are the Two great Offences in the Eyes of the Natives.
Is there no Difficulty in considering them as Native Subjects, while they profess the Christian Religion?
They are subject to the Mohamedan Law, and that is a Difficulty, doubtless.
Can you state in what Manner and by whom the Police is appointed?
By the Magistrates, subject, I believe, in all the higher Offices, to the Confirmation of the Court of Circuit.
A Policeman is displaceable by the Magistrates?
I believe he is. I never was a Magistrate myself.
The Police of the District is under the Superintendence of the Magistrate at the Head of that District?
In what Manner is it organized?
In separate Tannahs or Divisions. The Pergunnah is a Revenue Division; the Tannah is a Police Division; but I cannot speak with so much Confidence upon this Head, as I never was actually a Magistrate, nor had charge of the Police of a District; I was merely Deputy Secretary to Government in the Department.
Is the Police of one Tannah confined to that Tannah?
I believe that it generally is so.
What is the Extent of a Tannah usually?
I believe that it varies very greatly, and I cannot speak with any Accuracy. I believe that the Tannah Jurisdiction often tallies with the Revenue Division-the Pergunnah.
In what Manner is the Police Horse officered?
By Natives entirely.
Do the Officers bear a large Proportion in Number to the whole Number of the Police?
No, I should think not; certainly not, I should say.
What is the Salary of a Policeman?
I cannot say.
Can you state that of an Officer?
No; the Records will give that exactly; I do not bear it in mind; but I do think it is not an adequate Salary, according to the best of my Information; and I believe that this insufficient Pay often leads to great Abuses.
Is the Police efficient for the Prevention of Crimes?
I believe it to be so.
Is it improved?
Are there still Robberies to any considerable Extent on the navigable Rivers?
Not at all to the Extent they were formerly.
Is there a River Police?
There is, I think, near Calcutta, and near Dacca, and in other Parts, but not very generally. The Improvement in the Police can be proved beyond all Doubt from the great Diminution in the Number of Crimes.
Is that the Case in the Provinces where Decoity prevailed?
Can you state in what Proportion the Number of Crimes has diminished?
I think in the Lower Provinces the Average of Decoities of late Years is about as One and a Fraction to Seven, as compared with the State of Things Twenty-five or Thirty Years ago.
When a Person is arrested, where is he taken in the first instance?
To the Tannahdar.
To what Extent is Justice administered in Criminal Cases by Natives; what Punishment are they allowed to inflict?
I think scarcely any; but I cannot speak confidently as to Details, as I never was a Magistrate. In the District of Kishnagur, formerly most notorious for Decoities, that Crime has decreased from an Average in former Years of Two hundred and fifty or Three hundred to Eighteen or Twenty.
What is the Jurisdiction of the Sudder Aumeens?
It is entirely Civil, I believe.
To what Amount are they entitled to decide Suits?
The Regulations specify the precise Sum; I cannot state it; but it has been increased of late Years.
Can you state the Amount of their Salaries?
They are very often the Native Hindoo or Mohamedan Officers of the Court, and it varies with that Circumstance; if they are so situated, the highest paid gets about Twenty Pounds a Month; if he is a Native Officer of a Court, he gets that Sum altogether. Sometimes they are Expounders of Hindoo or Mohamedan Law, in addition to being Sudder Aumeens.
Did the Sudder Aumeens in general administer Justice satisfactorily?
I believe so, when they were well superintended; all Native Agency depends entirely upon that; and, speaking entirely upon personal Knowledge, I never knew a Native who could otherwise be trusted.
Is that owing to the Smallness of their Emoluments?
Partly, no doubt; but chiefly the general Depravation of Society.
If they were well paid, do you think they would be trustworthy?
More trustworthy, certainly. The Experiment has never been tried, but it ought to be tried.
Can you state the Jurisdiction of the Moonsiffs?
I believe there is a Moonsiff attached to every Tannah Station, who decides petty Civil Cases within the District of the Tannah. I think there are as many Moonsiffs in a District as there are Tannahs.
Are any Causes decided by Punchayet in the Lower Provinces?
No; unless the Judge thinks proper to summon a Punchayet.
It is not the Custom in the Lower Provinces to have recourse to that?
No; nor I believe, for many Years, the Custom of any Part of the Bengal Presidency.
If a European committed any Offence, would the Police be empowered to seize him without a special Order?
I believe that all Magistrates are Justices of the Peace.
Would the Native Police be empowered to seize a European in the Commission of an Offence, without special Authority from a Magistrate?
They probably would do it. I do not know how the Regulations run in that respect. If they were in sufficient Numbers they would do it; but they are greatly afraid of a European. They would not do it unless they were in overpowering Numbers.
Did any Complaint reach the Board, while you were Secretary, of the Conduct of the Native Police; any Oppressions on Natives committed by them?
I do not recollect any particular Instances; but I have said that I consider the Officers of the Native Police to be inadequately paid, and I believe that they exercise considerable Oppression at Times.
Does the Magistrate in general exercise a vigilant Supervision over them?
It varies of course; but the Circumstances of the Country and the immense Size of the Jurisdictions considered, I do not think that the Police in India can be held to be inferior to that existing in any Part of the World.
Is the Attention of the Secretary in the Judicial Department directed to the State of the Police?
To what Provinces has the permanent Settlement been extended?
Bengal Proper and Bahar.
Is there any Record kept of the Sales which have taken place under the Regulations?
Undoubtedly they have been kept. I believe there is a Record of every Year. A general Record might be made up from them.
Do you know from those Records what is the Proportion of Property which has come to Sale under the Regulations of that Settlement, since it has been established?
No; but very great, I should think.
Perhaps it is equal to that. I can explain, however, why the Generality of those Sales took place at an early Period of the permanent Settlement, if it is wished.
They have been sold for Balances, have they not?
Certainly; but the Zemindars were Men quite unfit for the Place into which they were put; they were not Men of Business nor Men of Agricultural Knowledge in any respect. I do not believe it was the Severity of the Assessment that generally occasioned the Sales in question.
You state that a great Improvement had taken place in the Police; under what System is the Police now managed?
There is a Magistrate of every District; the Districts are of a very large Size; the average Population of a District is 2,000,000.
How has the particular Crime of Decoity been got rid of?
It was at the highest Pitch in 1808, and it was then that the Class of Men called Goyendas was employed to give Information of the Habits and Haunts of the Decoits. Mr. Elliott and Mr. Blaquiere were the Persons most actively employed in putting down the Crime; they arrested every Person who was suspected of being a Decoit; and I think in the Year 1812 there were 1,200 Men confined in the Gaol of Kishnagur or Nuddea 'till they should give Security for their good Behaviour. In 1808 there were 350 or more Decoities in Kishnagur alone.
Describe the Nature of their Offence?
It is a Crime of the most dreadful Atrocity; it is a Crime committed in Gangs; Ten, Twenty, Fifty or a Hundred, or even Two hundred together, attack and plunder a Village, generally at Night. In 1808, Mr. Elliott and Mr. Blaquiere were deputed to the District, with subordinate European Officers, and they arrested and confined the suspected Persons. In the Years 1812, 1813 and 1814, they had brought down the Crime to Three, Four or Six in a Year; and during one Year I think there was no Decoity committed. After this Period the Crime rather got up again, 'till it reached an Average of Eight or Ten in a Year. In the Year 1818 the Government found it so great an Evil keeping all those Persons in Confinement, (not that I believe they were unjustly confined, they were all Decoits,) that there was a Commission appointed to go round to the Gaols of the different Districts, and to relieve such Persons as could be set at liberty with any regard to the Peace of the District. In the Year 1818, accordingly, a great Number were released, and the Consequence was an immediate Increase of the Number of Decoits, but not at all to the former Extent; the Average rose from Ten to about Twenty or Twenty-three per Annum. The Prisoners were released gradually, I believe. Since that Period the whole of those Persons have been released; none, I think, are now in Confinement; and, under those Circumstances, the Crime has been again reduced to its former Level of Eight or Ten per Annum.
Do you know whether they continue the System of Goyendas?
Not to any thing like the Extent they did formerly. The Magistrates, doubtless, receive private Information, as they are bound to do; but there are no professional Goyendas.
Was that laid aside in consequence of the Practice which then prevailed amongst those Persons of extorting Money, and laying Informations against innocent Persons?
I believe so.
Did the Decoits ever attack an European?
Yes. I think, for instance, that the Paymaster of one of the King's Regiments was murdered a Year or two ago; since I left India.
Have you Reason to believe that they are reviving of late?
No. I have seen something stated of late, in Print, upon the Increase of the Crime in or after 1818; the Author in question not being aware that all the suspected Persons had been released from Confinement in that Year.
Do you recollect whether an Order went out at one Time, that if any farther Estates were forfeited for the Balances, they should not be let to Zemindars, but let upon a Ryotwar Settlement?
I believe that there was such an Order.
Do you know whether that has been done to any considerable Extent?
No, I believe not; principally, I believe, from Want of Hands to carry it into effect. Your Lordships can have no Conception of the Labour of forming a Ryotwar Settlement, of the Time it takes, or the Number of Hands necessary to carry on such Operations generally.
Are many of the Zemindarries very small?
Some are very small; some, I believe, do not pay more than Eight or Ten Rupees a Year to Government; but probably they were Parts of a large Zemindarry that had been divided at some former Period.
Is there not some Process under the Hindoo Law by which a Magistrate may summon something in the Nature of a Jury to settle private Disputes among the Natives?
No. The Judge is enjoined, I believe, by our Regulations, to endeavour in all possible Cases to persuade the Parties to settle their Disputes by Arbitration, but the Natives have no Confidence in any thing but the Decision of a European Officer. The Punchayet is almost unknown under the Bengal Presidency; and the Natives on our Side of India have no Confidence in the Judicial Integrity of their Brethren.
You stated in the early Part of your Evidence that you have been engaged in effecting a Ryotwar Settlement; what was the Cause that led to that Ryotwar Settlement being effected?
The Estate of the Zemindar bordered on the Sunderbun Forest, and Government sued him to recover its Revenue upon the Land which had been brought into Cultivation from the Waste since the Period of the perpetual Settlement. The Revenue Authorities gave a Decision in favour of Government. An Appeal lies from the Revenue Authorities in such Cases to the regular Courts of Justice, but then the Person in Possession is obliged to give Security for the regular Payment of the Revenue from the Date of the Decision of the Revenue Authorities, in case that Court of Justice shall confirm the Decision of the Revenue Authorities in favour of Government. The Zemindar in question declined to give such Security, and the Estate was consequently attached. This was the Estate (Kishenrampore) which has been often mentioned in the Letters of the Court of Directors in consequence of the Complaints of the Ryots of the excessive Tyranny and Extortion of the Zemindar; and I, being then Commissioner in the Sunderbuns, found that those Complaints in some Instances were not overstated. I represented these Circumstances to Government, and submitted my Opinion that a Ryotwar Settlement should be formed, and I was ordered so to form it.
Are you aware whether there was a sensible Variation in the Condition of the Ryots subsequently to the Formation of that Settlement, as compared with their State under the Zemindar?
No doubt. I formed a light Settlement purposely. I lived Six Weeks or more upon the Estate with the Ryots, and have never been there since; but if I might judge from their Joy at the Time, they were more than delighted.
Have you had any Opportunity of knowing since whether the Rent fixed under your Settlement was collected with as much Regularity and Facility under the Ryot Settlement as it had been previously under the Zemindarry?
Certainly. The Zemindar had paid a Peppercorn Rent, for Nine Tenths of the Estate were not in Cultivation at the Time of the permanent Settlement, and consequently only One Tenth was assessed. He had no Difficulty in paying the Peppercorn Rent; but when I formed the Settlement in question, Fifty Times more was realized from the Estate than the Zemindar had paid.
Was the Rent from the Ryots collected with as much Facility as those of other Estates let to Zemindars at nearly their full Value?
There was this Difference of Expence, that there was an Officer, called a Sezawal, appointed to collect the Revenue from the several Ryots. There was the Difference of the Expence of Management, as the Sezawal's Salary, &c.
Subject to that Deduction, there was a great Benefit?
Do you consider the Land in the Sunderbun as particularly valuable?
It is rather salt; it is very low and flat, and subject to Inundation, but when it is reclaimed it is very good. It will only grow Rice Crops.
Do you know whether any Salt is now imported into Bengal from Madras?
A great deal annually.
Is there any particular Return Cargo usually sent in Exchange?
I am not aware of any. They send Salt from Madras annually to a very considerable Extent.
Do you consider the Salt that comes from Madras as superior in Quality?
No; I think it sells generally from Eighty to One hundred Rupees One hundred Maunds cheaper.
Do you conceive that if the Salt manufactured in the Sunderbuns could be greatly increased in Quantity, it would exclude the Madras Salt?
Yes. I recollect representing to Mr. M'Kenzie, the Territorial Secretary, that I thought the Quantity of Salt made in the Sunderbuns could be greatly increased; and he stated that it was a great Object to have the Salt from Madras, because it not only employed the Country Shipping, but enabled the Persons making it to pay their Revenue under the Madras Presidency. But your Lordships must not suppose that Salt is only manufactured in the Sunderbuns; there is a great deal made in Cuttack, a great deal at a Place called Hidgelee, on the right Bank of the Hooghly, and a great deal at Chittagong.
Do you know whether the Quality of the Bengal Salt has been improved considerably of late Years?
I believe it has, but I do not speak from certain Knowledge.
Do you know how the Sales of Salt are regulated?
By public Competition; it is sold in large Quantities by public Sale; but I apprehend, from the Prices which the Salt reaches, that the Supply is not sufficient.
Is it not sold in Quantities so large as to confine the Purchases to a very small Number of Natives?
I should think so.
By whom it is sold again to the People at large?
Yes; that is a great Evil, undoubtedly.
Is that the Cause of the high Price, there being a Monopoly in that Way?
No; I consider an under Supply to be the chief Cause; that referred to is partly the Cause, no doubt.
Have you any Idea of what is the Rate of Profit those large Purchasers made?
No; it varies. On one Occasion I know that the Government was obliged to let off Purchasers to an enormous Extent, who were almost ruined by giving more than they could afterwards realize. Sometimes they gain a good deal, sometimes they gain little, and sometimes, I believe, they lose.
Very few Instances have occurred where the Ryots Settlements have been established, where the Zemindar's Estate has been brought to Sale in consequence, and failed to pay, although Orders have been issued by the Court of Directors that in such Cases that should take place?
Very few; and I explained the Cause, which is, I believe, the Want of Hands and Leisure for such Arrangements. The Pressure of Business is so intense in India, that to get through the current Business is almost as much as any Man is equal to.
It has been only in the Case of small Zemindarries?
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned 'till To-morrow, One o'Clock.