Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
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Die Veneris, 5 Martii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Hugh George Christian Esquire is called in, and examined as follows;
Have you resided in India?
In what Situation?
Chiefly as Collector of Land Revenue in the Upper Provinces.
Were you a Member of the Special Commission which was sent into the Upper Provinces?
Yes; a Special Commission appointed under Regulation of 1821, of which I was senior Member.
What was the Object of that Commission?
To restore Lands to Persons who had been deprived of them by illegal and unjust public Sales, or who had lost them by private Transfers effected by undue Influence; and to correct the Errors or Omissions of the Proceedings of the Collectors at the Formation of the different Settlements, in regard to the Recognition of Proprietary Rights, and to inquire into the Tenures, Interests and Privileges of the Agricultural Community. The Jurisdiction of the Commission was confined to the Districts of Cawnpoor, Allahabad and Gorruckpoor.
Had no such Inquiry into the Rights of the Agricultural Population taken place before the Settlement was made?
Partial Inquiries; but the Rights of the Agricultural Community are involved in considerable Confusion in India, owing to a Want of a proper Definition.
What was the Nature of that Settlement under which those improper Sales had taken place?
The Sales generally had taken place, I think, for Balances accruing during the first and second Triennial Settlements of the Land Revenue; as far as I can now recollect, the Jurisdiction of the Commission extended only to the Year 1817. Fussilee Era, the corresponding Period, will be found in the Regulations of Government. I do not recollect the Year; that is the English Year.
Had those Sales to which you have referred taken place to any considerable Extent?
To a very considerable Extent.
Were you enabled to give Redress?
Effectual Redress, so far as the Proceedings had been conducted when I left the Commission.
In most, or in all Cases?
In most Cases.
To what Cause did you attribute the Injury that had been done?
To the Malversation of the Native Revenue Officers chiefly, and to the Supineness of the European Functionaries, if not to their Misconduct.
Had you Power to inquire into the Misconduct of the Collectors -the European Officers?
Was any Inquiry made into their Conduct?
Not that I am aware of.
Did you represent their Misconduct to the Government?
No; we were a Judicial Tribunal.
Was there any kind of Inquiry instituted for the Purpose of examining into their Conduct?
No Cases directly affecting them came forward, that is, as far as I can recollect at this Distance of Time; it was only incidentally that we could form an Opinion of their Misconduct.
Was not their Conduct incidentally stated to the Government in the course of the Reports of your Proceedings?
I cannot exactly recollect; but the Reports are on Record.
Are you aware whether the Persons whom you had Reason to suspect of Corruption or Supineness are still in the Company's Service?
I believe not.
Do you know whether they have retired from the Service?
I believe one was drowned; I do not know as to the others; that is, I cannot precisely state what has become of them.
How long have you been in the Upper Provinces?
About Nineteen Years. I was about Four Years and a Half on the Special Commission; and the greater Part of the Time I was Collector of Land Revenue.
Did the Condition of some Provinces appear to improve from that Period?
Were they in a very unsettled State when you first went there?
Yes, I think they were; the People were turbulent and refractory in Parts.
In what Manner was the Revenue settled?
The Revenue was settled generally upon conjectural Estimates, at least as far as I can speak to my own Knowledge; when I formed Settlements, I formed them on conjectural Estimates given me by the Native Revenue Officers; and the Village Accountants were required to submit their Accounts; but in most Cases their Accounts were Fabrications.
You had Knowledge of the productive Power of the Land, enabling you to form a Judgment, probably, as to the Extent of the Revenue which might be derived from it?
I must confess I had not much Knowledge of the Produce of the Land.
Had you any Persons to advise with, who were acquainted with the Subject?
The Native Revenue Officers, or the Native Collectors, and the Officers of Account; and by looking, in some Instances, to what the Native Governments derived from the Villages, and considering as many Accounts as I could get hold of that appeared entitled to Attention, I endeavoured to make as equitable an Assessment as I could; but, as I mentioned, it was but a conjectural one.
With what Persons did you form that Settlement?
Chiefly with the Zemindars or Land Owners.
Did you fix a certain Rent on each Village, and then compound with the Zemindar for the Payment of this?
Not always upon each Village. There were large Estates comprising many Villages, and the Revenue was in some Instances fixed on each Village, in other Instances it was fixed in the Aggregate on the whole.
Was the Revenue generally regularly paid?
It varied in different Districts.
For what Period did you make the Settlement?
I can hardly recollect, it was so many Years ago; but I think the last Settlement I made was for Five Years; the Quinquennial Settlement.
Have you found that the same Persons were disposed to contract afresh at the End of the Lease?
Yes, if the Terms were moderate.
Was there a frequent Change of Contractors?
Yes; because it was the Wish of Government, or rather of the Board of Commissioners, that all the Land Owners should be preferred to the Farmers, consequently there were Mutations of Tenure.
The Settlements, therefore, were usually made with old Proprietors?
Yes, in all or most Instances, as far as was possible or practicable, unless they refused to engage, or were not forthcoming or ascertained.
What Power was given, under the Regulations with those Proprietors with whom you formed the Settlement, to obtain the Payment of the Revenue from those under them?
That will be found recorded in the Regulations. I cannot recollect all; but there were various Powers.
Was it a Power only sufficient for the Purpose, or did it appear to be capable of enabling them to exercise Oppression?
In some Instances I think they had too much Power; that is, the Power of Distraint was abused.
Is a Remedy applied to that Abuse?
Yes, I think it is; but I cannot say, not having much Experience.
Did you find, on the Termination of a Lease, that you could obtain the same Revenue as you did before?
That would depend on the former Assessment, whether high or low.
Did the Revenue of those Districts generally improve?
Yes; they were in a progressive State of Improvement.
Did the Condition of the People appear to improve?
I think it did.
Are any of the Zemindars or Proprietors with whom you formed Settlements Men of considerable Property?
Yes, I think they are; that is, some; not many.
Have they any Taste for European Luxuries, or the Means of indulging in them?
Some may have a Taste, and some, certainly, have the Means of indulging that Taste.
Were the Ryots to any Extent Consumers of British Manufactures; were they clothed in British Cottons?
I do not recollect.
Were any British Manufactures sold in that Country?
I believe there were.
Of what Description?
I think Imitation Shawls were sometimes sold.
Did the Sale of British Manufactures appear to increase?
I had no Opportunity of forming an Opinion.
What was the chief Produce of that Part of the Country?
The District of Allahabad, at the Confluence of the Rivers Ganges and Jumna; the chief Produce was Wheat, Barley, various kinds of Grain, Maize, Pulse, Sugar Cane, Cotton, Rice and other kinds of Grain.
Was any Silk manufactured in that Part of the Country?
Not to my Knowledge.
Is the Cotton of a good Description?
I do not know myself; I have heard that the Fibre is not very long.
Was any of that exported?
I do not exactly know; I should suppose it was not all consumed in the District.
You were at one Time a Member of the Board of Revenue, were you not?
For a very short Time for the Lower Provinces. I was chiefly engaged in the Upper Provinces as Acting Collector of Allahabad, and Collector of Agra, and Acting Collector of Furruckabad, and Acting Collector of Moradabad, and Acting Collector of Bareilly, Acting Collector of Gorruckpoor, Acting Collector of Cawnpoor, and in Charge of Shekohabad.
Those are all Towns of large Population, are they not?
Not all of them; some are. Allahabad is a Town not of very extensive Population, but the Remains of a large Town. Agra has been a very considerable City, but is now in a State, some Part of it at least, of Ruin.
What is the Composition of the Population of those different Towns?
Chiefly Hindoos, and some Mussulmans; Hindoos of various Castes.
Are they Manufacturers to any Extent?
I do not recollect whether they are Manufacturers to any Extent; I did not reside much, if at all, in the Towns; I merely passed through occasionally.
How do they obtain their Livelihood?
I believe they are Manufacturers to a certain Extent in weaving Cloths and other Articles; I mean, following Trades.
Do the Zemindars of the Country reside in those Towns at any Period of the Year?
Not generally; they come in occasionally to pay their Rents, and on Business either at the Courts of Judicature or the Collector's Office, and then they take up their Residence in those Towns.
The Population is usually composed of poor Persons?
I think it is.
What are the Duties of the Board of Revenue?
To superintend generally the Revenue of a certain Portion of the Country, and the Conduct of the different Collectors placed under them.
What Extent of Country was under the Board of Revenue of which you were a Member?
I was only a few Months in Calcutta; my Health failing, I was obliged to go to Sea; therefore my Knowledge of Bengal is very small. I had the Charge of the Morshidabad Division of the Board of Revenue; but I was but a very short Time in Calcutta.
Is the Responsibility of all the Members of the Board of Revenue equal?
Yes, I think it is.
The President of the Board has no superior Authority or Responsibility?
If I recollect rightly, the President of the Board of Revenue is a Member of the Supreme Council. I do not recollect that the Acting President has any superior Power; he generally takes up Cases of a miscellaneous Nature; but I do not know that he is vested with any special Power.
Do they act as a Body, or divide the Business between them?
When I was in the Board they divided the Business, in consequence of an Accumulation of Arrears of Business.
Did they ever act as a Board?
Sometimes I have known them meet in Consultation.
The Report of the Board of Revenue is practically the Report of an Individual Member of the Board?
No individual Member can upset or reverse the Order of a Collector; if he upsets or reverses the Order of a Collector, he must get the Confirmation of another Member.
If a particular Member of the Board of Revenue has investigated a Subject, is the Concurrence of the other Members of the Board a Matter of course, or do they look into the Subject themselves?
Each Member is responsible for his own Division. The Cases of Importance are generally or sometimes consulted on; but I do not know any particular Necessity that obliges them to consult, that is, if they concur with the Collector.
Usually the Act is the Act of an Individual, and the Responsibility that of the Board?
What are the Charges of Collection in the Lower Provinces, besides the Salaries of the Collectors?
I do not know of any, except the Salaries of the Canongoes; it is an Office established in the different Pergunnahs or Divisions of the District, an Office of Registry and Record. The Collector's Salary and Office Establishment are not included in this Remark.
You are not acquainted with the Details of the Charge of Collection?
No; my Knowledge of the Bengal Provinces is very limited indeed.
When you acted as Collector in the Upper Provinces, did you exercise any Judicial Authority?
Before I was appointed Collector of Land Revenue I was Acting Register of the City of Benares, and Acting Magistrate in Furruckabad.
Did you, as Collector, exercise Judicial Authority?
Not to the best of my Recollection and Knowledge.
Have you any Means of judging whether the Assimilation of the Rupee in the Upper and Lower Provinces to the Value of a Sonaut Rupee, and the consequent Demand from the Zemindar, with whom the perpetual Settlement has been made, of a greater Number of Rupees, containing the same intrinsic Value of Bullion, would be likely to produce Dissatisfaction?
I think they would be dissatisfied; any Change is viewed by the Natives with a very considerable degree of Jealousy; and any Change, however just, they do not understand, and they are apt to suspect that something more is coming, although I should consider an Assimilation would be a very good Measure.
From your Knowledge of the State of the Population of Bengal, and the Territories subject to the Bengal Government, do you think there are Means of raising the Revenue by indirect Taxation to any Extent?
Any Change from established Custom in India gives rise to a great deal of Dissatisfaction. The Land Rent is what they readily pay; althought it may appear exorbitant, yet it is a Revenue that is paid without much Difficulty; and a Tax in any other Shape, however small, is comparatively disliked, I think.
Have you any Means of forming a Judgment whether such transit Duties as exist in Bengal were productive of Injury to the internal Commerce of the Country?
My Knowledge of Bengal is too limited to admit of my speaking to it.
With respect to the Lower Provinces, can you speak to that Fact?
I had no Opportunity of forming a Judgment.
You stated that at the Confluence of the Ganges and the Jumna, among other Articles, there was a considerable Quantity of Sugar grown; is that Quantity increasing, to your Belief, or diminishing?
I do not know.
Was the Quality ameliorating or deteriorating?
I do not know.
You stated that the Settlement was made with the Landholder or Zemindar; do you mean that the Country was put under a Zemindarry Settlement?
What Powers had you to oblige a Zemindar to fulfil his Contract?
Chiefly Sales of Land in the Lower Provinces for a Deficiency of Revenue.
No; selling the Land; it is the same Thing, however; the Term appears more applicable to moveable Property.
What Powers has a Zemindar to oblige the Fulfilment of the Bargains with him of those for whom he contracts?
They are recorded in the Regulations of Government. I think he has a Power of Distraint.
Do you know that he has that Power?
I think he has.
Did you, while you were there, hear of no Difficulties under which the Zemindars laboured in obliging the Ryots to contribute their proper Portions?
Yes, I have occasionally heard of Difficulties; but I have heard the Ryots complain of the oppressive Conduct of Zemindars in the same Way.
Was not there a Regulation to oblige the Zemindars to grant certain Leases?
Was that carried into Effect in the District in which you were?
It was generally evaded.
What is the Proportion of the assumed Portion of the Land that is assigned to the Government as the Landlords?
As far as I can recollect, it being many Years since I made Settlements, my Instructions were, assuming One Half of the Gross Produce to be the Government's Share, that Fifteen per Cent. was to be deducted from that Half.
What became of that Fifteen per Cent.?
It went to the Zemindar.
The total Portion taken on the Part of the Government was Half the Gross Produce?
Nominally. What I considered to constitute the Basis of the Assessment was more nominal than real, for we could seldom ascertain the Gross Produce, as the Landlords will not surrender their correct Rent Roll; and we, in consequence, had recourse to conjectural Estimates, which is rather a clumsy Contrivance.
Do you suppose it was oftener more than less?
I think in some Parts of the Country the District was over assessed, and in others under assessed, and in others moderately assessed.
You cannot say which preponderated?
I think Bengal is in general lowly assessed, and so are Behar and Benares, as far as I can judge, not having any positive Knowledge of those Parts of the Country; and the Upper Provinces are in my Opinion comparatively highly assessed.
In the different Species of Settlements that you have had an Opportunity of considering, is there one which appears to you preferable to the others as respects either the Interest of the Company or the Advantage of the Cultivators?
I think that as a permanent Settlement was promised, it ought on that Ground to be given, but on no other; for I consider that the permanent Settlement is not so appropriate to the State of the Country as a Twenty Years Lease would be.
The Question is not as to the Duration of the Settlement, but to the Mode of making it, whether by Ryotwar or Zemindarry?
I consider that the Ryotwar Settlement cannot be effected in some Parts of India: I have tried that myself, and failed.
Does the Zemindar obtain from the Cultivator any Proportion of the Produce of his Land, in addition to that which is assigned to the Government?
I have no Means of forming a correct Judgment on that Point, for that is connected with the internal Management of the Village, which the Zemindars or Landholders studiously keep secret.
Have you any Reason to believe that he does, in point of fact, in order to enable him to fulfil his Contract with the Government, extract from the Cultivators a larger Portion than that assigned to the Government?
Yes, I think he does sometimes; but I do not know that it is to enable him to fulfil his Contract with the Government; it may be to indulge his own Rapacity.
When you say that the permanent Settlement ought to be persevered in only inasmuch as it has been promised, what are the chief Defects, in your Opinion, connected with it?
I think it would occasion a Sacrifice of Revenue; I think that the Proprietary Rights have not been sufficiently ascertained; and I think we, generally speaking, are not sufficiently prepared to carry into Effect an Arrangement of such Importance; our Knowledge of the actual State of the Country is imperfect.
Would not the Ascertainment of the Proprietary Rights be equally necessary in the event of a Settlement by long Leases?
I think that would be necessary; but I do not think it would be quite so necessary, because in the one Instance, when a permanent Settlement is made, less Attention seems to be paid to the Country; in the other, that is, during the Operation of temporary Leases, the Collectors are more vigilant, more active, and, necessarily at Times, more careful, to ascertain the State of the Country.
You mean to refer to the Improvement of the Revenue of the Country, and not the Improvement of the Land?
I allude to both.
Is it an expensive Process by which the conjectural Estimate is formed?
No, it was not.
By what Conjectures is the Result arrived at?
The Tehsildars or Native Collectors are directed by the Collector, some Time previously to the Formation of a Settlement, to prepare an Estimate of the Resources of their respective Jurisdictions.
By what Rules are they guided in forming that Estimate?
They are left in a great degree to their own Discretion, but still Rules are occasionally prescribed by the Collectors, such as calling the Village Accountants before them, taking the Accounts for Three or Four Years; to correct the Inaccuracies of those Accounts, cursory Surveys of the Villages or Estates, sometimes the actual Measurement of them; but such is the immense Labour and Duty imposed in forming the Assessment of so extensive a Country, that the Estimate is still very imperfect, no doubt.
If the Estimate were framed on an accurate Survey of the Capability of the Land to produce the different Articles suited to it, that would occasion a very great Expence.
A very great Expence.
Is not such a Survey going on?
I have heard that it is in some Parts.
You were understood to say, that there were some Articles of European Manufacture, which you knew the People had an Opportunity of purchasing, of which they did not avail themselves; to what Articles did you chiefly allude?
I did not allude to any in particular; the Habits of the Natives induce them to use their own Articles. If European Articles should be cheaper than their own, I have no doubt they would gladly purchase them; but they want little; they are generally Hindoos, particularly frugal in their Habits, and are wedded to Custom in a great degree, which they do not like departing from. If, however, the European Articles should be cheaper in the Market than their own Manufactures, I dare say they would purchase eventually.
You say that they do wear imitation Shawls?
Yes, I think they do; that is, some do.
In what Particular do you think the Situation of the People is improved?
I think that the Security of Property and Person being established, an Improvement has taken place; the People have Confidence in the Government, and I think, generally, they approve of the British Character.
Do you think that their Habits remain as simple and their Wants as few as they formerly were?
I have had no Opportunity of forming a correct Judgment; but I should think, from the Circumstance of their appearing to use imitation Shawls in some Instances, and, about Calcutta, from the Natives occasionally purchasing and using Carriages after the European Fashion, there seems to be a gradual Approximation to the European Fashions; but this is more observable in Calcutta, I think, and in the Neighbourhood, than in the Interior, where they remain much as they did; there may be a little Change.
Notwithstanding their Dislike to Change, a few, in fact, purchase European Articles of Manufacture, when they have the Opportunity and the Means?
Not always. I think that in Calcutta they seem to like European Articles more than they do in the Interior; that may arise from their being more associated with the Europeans, and their seeing the Articles continually. They certainly purchase Carriages; and their Houses are better constructed than in the Interior.
When you said that you thought the Situation of the Natives was improved, did you mean that as applying equally to those who are residing in the Country as those living in the Towns?
Yes. I think the whole, or nearly the whole Country, as far as I can judge from what I have seen and heard, is improved in comparison to what it was under the Native Government.
Is there any Demand for Articles of European Manufacture in the Country Districts, where there are no large Towns?
I have no Knowledge myself on the Subject; I should think there was a Demand to a limited Extent.
Do you happen to know whether the Demand has gone on gradually increasing since the Renewal of the last Charter?
I have seen Accounts exhibiting that the Demand has increased greatly; I have no positive Knowledge of my own, because I was not for any length of Time in the Customs Department of the Service, or in the Commercial Branch of it; but I understand it has increased from the printed Reports I have seen, and that it has continued to increase from the Year 1814.
Do you conceive that the Means which the Natives possess of purchasing have gone on increasing?
As the Lower Provinces are generally considered to be lightly assessed, and in many Parts very much under assessed, I should conceive the Means of the Natives of Bengal must progressively increase.
Have you ever resided in any Part of India where the Cotton Manufacture is established?
I do not recollect any.
You are not aware of the Effect which has been produced on the Cotton Manufacture of India by the Introduction of European Cloths?
I have no positive Knowledge of my own; I have heard that some of them have been thrown out of Work, but that is merely in the Course of Conversation; my Knowledge is confined to the Land Revenue of India.
Can you state what is the Use which the Natives generally make of the Savings which you suppose them capable of putting by?
In Calcutta, I believe, they subscribe to the Government Loans, many of them; some, I believe, bury their Money, or keep it out of Circulation; others, again, purchase Villages or Land: they vest their Property in various Ways; but some of them bury their Money, at least so I think.
In the District with which you are acquainted, what was the State of the Police in the Upper Provinces?
As far as I could judge, I should say the Police was in a good State.
Was there any Offence that particularly prevailed in those Provinces?
I have no Means of forming a direct Judgment; my Department was quite distinct.
Had you any Gang Robberies there?
I believe there were; but the Police, during the latter Part of the Time, was thought to be in a good State.
Are you acquainted with the Parts of India in which Indigo is grown?
I believe Indigo is grown in almost all the Districts I have had charge of in the Upper Provinces, more or less.
Has not the Cultivation of Indigo tended very much to improve the Situation of the People with respect to the increased Consumption of Articles of domestic Use?
I do not know.
Is not there a greater Demand for such Articles, and is not there, in fact, a considerable Increase of artificial Wants in those Parts of the Country where that Cultivation is carried on?
I cannot state positively that there is. The Indigo Cultivation may have been useful in this respect, that it required a certain Capital; it set a certain Capital afloat. I think in many Instances there have been various Disputes consequent on the Cultivation; but so far it may have done good, by increasing the Capital of the Country.
Do not you think it has been favourable to Habits of Industry among the People?
No; I do not think it has had any Effect in that Way; if the Fields should not be cultivated with Indigo, they would be cultivated with something else; and a certain degree of Labour is necessary to keep up the Cultivation.
Can you speak as to what Arrangement has taken place in the old Provinces, where the perpetual Settlements have been established, in Cases where the Zemindar failed and the Estate was brought into the Market?
It was sold at public Auction, which I considered a very objectionable Process.
Some Years ago Instructions were sent out, were they not, by The East India Company, in consequence of the Failure of so large a Proportion of the original Zemindars, that in those Cases a Ryotwar Settlement should be attempted instead of resettling the Estate on a permanent Footing?
I do not exactly know what Instructions were sent out; but of late Years there has been a Disposition on the Part of Government to avoid Sales of Land in the Upper Provinces; but in the Lower Provinces the System continues as before; that is to say, Lands are sold, and occasionally Invitations for farming the Lands of Defaulters are held out. Sales are not so common as they used to be, certainly.
You are not aware in what Number of Cases of that kind a Ryotwar Settlement has been attempted?
While you were in Charge of that District in the Upper Provinces, did you bring many of those Estates to Sale?
Why did you say that the selling by Auction was a bad Practice?
Because I think it had the Effect of driving People to Desperation. Though the Process of Sale may be just in Principle, its practical Effect is bad; for instance, the Proceeds of Sale may not equal the Balance; and various other Objections might be stated.
Do you mean to say that they do not get a full Price by this Mode of Sale?
I think it is forcing the Sale; it ought to be left to the Land Owner himself; he would effect a better Sale, and not be so dissatisfied.
Is it never done by the Connivance of the Zemindar?
Various Frauds are practised in the Process of Sale; collusive Transfers take place; and Frauds have been practised both in the Sale and Purchase.
In a Case where a Sale is disputed between different Parties, is not that Mode of Sale preferred to any other?
I do not know whether it is or not.
In the Upper Provinces in which you have chiefly resided, have you observed any progressive Improvement in the State of Agriculture?
I cannot state that I have myself observed it; but from the concurrent Testimony of the Natives generally, it is clear that the Cultivation has extended very considerably in many Parts of the Upper Provinces.
Has it been not only extended but improved in Process?
I do not think there has been much Alteration in the Process.
Is there more Capital laid out in Agricultural Produce than when you were first employed in those Provinces?
I do not know that there is more laid out; but I should conceive as the Cultivation has been extended, and as the People must have the Means of extending it, therefore more Capital must have been laid out.
Are the Committee to understand that the imitation Shawls you have mentioned are the only Articles of British Manufacture you have known to be in request or purchased by the Natives of the Interior?
No; I dare say there may be various other Articles of British Manufacture in request, such as Woollens or Cloths, and various other Articles; but I think I have observed, during late Years, that some few Natives when dressed had a Shawl on in Winter, which appeared to me to be an imitation of Shawl. I do not mean to infer that other Description of Shawls, such as Cashmere, are not in use.
You have seen other Articles of British Manufacture?
Do Articles of British Hardware find their Way into the Interior of India?
I have no Means of judging of that.
In Cases where Property comes for Sale under a Zemindarry Settlement, has the Government the Power to make a Variation in its Demand, or does the Demand continue the same as under the former Settlement?
The Demands continue the same as under the former Settlement, unless there should be no Bidder; then the Government sometimes buy in the Lands, and order a Re-settlement to be formed.
Do the Government fix any Price at which the Property should be sold, or do they only do this where there is no Bidder?
They do not fix the Price, at least so far as I can recollect.
Is there any Discretion left with the Officer of Government to buy in the Land, or must it be sold?
I do not recollect whether any Discretion is distinctly given by the Government; but of late Years the Collectors have frequently exercised a Discretion, and unless the Property sells at tolerable Prices they postpone the Sale, or they buy it in for the Government.
Has not the Cultivation of Indigo been much improved of late Years?
I have no Means of forming a Judgment.
That is quite unrestricted, is it not?
Yes, I believe it is.
The Witness is directed so withdraw.
Courteney Smith Esquire is called in, and examined as follows
You have resided in India?
What Situation did you hold latterly?
I was Judge of the Sudder Adawlut.
For how many Years?
I think for Eight Years; from 1819 to the End of 1827.
What are the Duties of the Court of Sudder Adawlut?
To decide Causes.
Has it no other Duties?
It hears Reports read from the Interior, and it corresponds upon them with the Government through its Register.
The Court of Sudder Adawlut reviews the Conduct of all the inferior Judges and Courts, does it not?
The Conduct of all the inferior Courts, Judges and Magistrates is liable to Review by the Sudder Court.
Are Reports made of inferior Courts and of the Number of Causes, or of any Circumstances connected with the Police of the Country, regularly sent to the Court of Sudder Adawlut?
Does the Sudder Adawlut make a Report on those Returns to the Government?
Always, through the Register of the Sudder Adawlut.
From what Officer of the Government does the Officer of the Sudder Adawlut receive the Opinions of the Government on any of those Points?
From the Judicial Secretary.
Are those Gentlemen who are appointed Judges of the Court of Sudder Adawlut always educated in the Judicial Line?
Not necessarily from the very Commencement of their Service. Sometimes they go into the Revenue, or other Line.
For how long a Period have they generally been in the Revenue Line before they are placed in the Judicial Line?
It varies so much, it is impossible to give a general Answer; any one may be appointed whom the Government chooses to select.
Whether he has a Knowledge of Law or not?
It rests with the Government to decide on his Qualifications.
Usually they have passed some of their Time in the Judicial Line?
I do not recollect a Man coming quite raw into the Sudder, that is, without having ever been in the Judicial Line.
Is there any Advantage to a Judge in having been for a considerable Period in the Revenue Line?
I should think there was; because a great Number of Cases are greatly connected with the Revenue, and therefore the practical Experience he has had in the Revenue must assist him in deciding those Causes.
Do you think that any practical Advantage would be derived from uniting the Revenue and Judicial Authority?
No; quite the contrary.
It is, however, to a certain Extent united, is it not?
I am told, very much, since I left the Country, under Lord William Bentinck.
Are you aware that any Inconveniences have arisen from the Union of the Two Authorities in the Madras Territory?
I know nothing of these Matters in the Madras Territory.
Have the goodness to assign your Reasons for thinking that the Union of the Two Authorities has been or would be productive of Inconvenience in Bengal?
I should think that a Judge in Cases between Government and Individuals might have too strong a Revenue Feeling if he was at the same Time a Revenue Officer; and I believe, upon that Principle, it was a fundamental Part of Lord Cornwallis's System to keep them separate.
Are the Regulations of Government submitted to the Court of Sudder Adawlut for their Approval, before they are passed?
It rests entirely with the Government.
Is that generally done?
I think it is, generally, on Judicial Matters. The Government first corresponded with the Sudder, for the sake of getting their Opinions.
Does the Sudder ever suggest any Alteration of the Laws to the Government?
Frequently; indeed every Judicial and Revenue Officer is at liberty to suggest Alterations, and those Suggestions are sure to reach the Government through the proper Channels.
Do they ever suggest Alterations?
Are there any published Commentaries on the Regulations?
I do not recollect any particular Book or Pamphlet I could refer to; they are open to Observation, of course, every where.
In the Sudder, who examines the Witnesses?
He being an European?
Yes, and a Company's Servant; but the Court is of course at liberty to call any Witness before it that it pleases. The general Practice is that the Registrar examines.
Are they ever examined by the Native Officers who attend the Court, either in the Registrar's Presence or not?
Never, that I recollect; in the Sudder they are always examined by the Registrar. The Native Officer writes down the Deposition, but he has nothing to do with putting the Questions.
Does the Registrar obtain that perfect Knowledge of the Language which enables him to understand the entire Answers given?
As far as I recollect of Registrars, they were all equal to their Duty; in this respect Mr. William Mac Naughten, the present Registrar, is particularly so.
Is the Character of Witnesses such as to enable you to attach great Credit to their Evidence; do you believe them on their Oath?
To be sure I do. Having frequently decided Cases according to their Evidence, of course I believed it.
Are their Characters such in general as to enable you, without Apprehension of being wrong, to decide upon the Evidence that is given before you; or do you look with Suspicion to the Evidence of the Witnesses?
Yes, I think we do; but we are obliged to come to a Decision.
Are you of Opinion that it would be possible, and consistent with the Ends of Justice, to introduce Trial by Native Jury into the Courts of India?
I have never formed an Opinion upon the Subject; indeed I never thought about it; it was not my Province to speculate on those Matters. I merely discharged the Duty that came before me.
Do you think the Union of the Natives with Europeans on Juries in Calcutta will be productive of Advantage?
That is beyond my Province. I have no Opinion upon the Subject.
As far as you are enabled to from an Opinion of the Character of the Natives, and their Competency, do you think they are competent to higher Situations than they have hitherto occupied?
I think they are clever, shrewd Men; but their Character is open to Suspicion; they are intriguing generally, and supposed to be corrupt.
Is much Business done by the Sudder Aumeen, or Chief Native Judge?
He has Causes referred to him by the Judge.
Have Complaints been made of their Decisions, or are they generally considered good?
I think they are generally pretty good.
To what Extent do the Sudder Aumeens decide Native Causes; to what Value?
I do not distinctly recollect; I think 500 Rupees; but I understand it has been increased since that to 1,000.
To what Extent does a Munsiff decide Causes?
The Munsiff, I think, has various Capacities.
State what they are?
It is laid down in the Regulations; they give him Three Capacities; one as Aumeen or Referee, another Salis or Arbitrator, the Third, that of Munsiff; in the Capacity of Munsiff he receives Suits originally, and there, I think, he is limited to 50 Rupees.
Is much Business done before him?
Oh yes, he has Plenty of Employment; but as I have not been in the Interior for these Eight Years, I speak from a vague Recollection.
Do you think that any practical Benefit is derived from the Power of Appeal to The King in Council in this Country?
None at all; quite the contrary, I think. There is an immense Time in deciding; in fact we never hardly got a Decision. It depreciates Property, and throws every thing into Doubt. It was understood, indeed, that this Appeal was merely for the Purpose of asserting The King's Supremacy, and that it was never looked to as likely to be practically productive of any Effects that were beneficial beyond that.
Upon the whole, are you of Opinion that the Provincial Courts administer substantial Justice to the People?
Yes; where there are good Judges. It depends a good deal upon the Officers. Upon the whole I think they do themselves great Credit.
In what Manner is the Police of the Interior organized?
It is under the Police Darogahs.
By whom are the Policemen appointed?
By the Magistrate.
And removable by him?
I rather think they are not so removable, but that he must report their Conduct to the Court of Circuit. That, perhaps, has all been altered under Lord William Bentinck; but it was so to the End of 1827.
Can they arrest any Person without special Authority given them by a Magistrate?
Yes, on the Charge of an Individual; or even on a strong Suspicion, in the greater Crimes.
Have you understood that Oppression has been committed by them in the Execution of their Duties?
They are thought exceedingly corrupt; I believe incurably corrupt, with their present Allowances.
Have you ever considered in what Manner the Constitution of the Police Body might be altered so as to make them efficient Instruments of Justice?
No, I never speculated upon the Subject; but an Increase of Salary, I think, would improve them.
What is the State of the Police at Calcutta?
That is not within my Province as a Judge of the Sudder.
Are you acquainted with it?
Very imperfectly; I may have heard it as a Topic of Conversation, but I never turned my Attention to it; I never had any thing to do with it.
Are you aware whether it is a good Police for the Prevention of Crime?
I understood that Offenders were apprehended pretty quickly; not good for the Prevention of Crime, but for the Apprehension of Criminals rather.
In what Position do you understand the Half-castes to stand under the strict Letter of the Law?
Upon the same Footing as Natives; there is an express Regulation to that Effect; and in the Interior they are treated as Natives in all Courts of Civil and Criminal Justice.
To what Extent are Europeans living in the Country subject to the Provincial Courts?
By the last Act of Parliament I think a Magistrate may fine an European for Violence to a Native to the Extent of £50 or 500 Rupees. It is exactly according to the last Act of Parliament which was passed on the last Renewal of the Charter. Under the Provisions of the same Act they are liable to be sued in the Civil Courts of the Interior also.
If an European in the Upper Provinces, a Thousand Miles from Calcutta, inflicted any Injury on a Native of so great a Magnitude as not to be cognizable by a Provincial Court, in what Manner would the Native obtain Justice?
By going to a Magistrate.
Supposing that were not decidable by a Magistrate, what would be done?
The Magistrate would take the Evidence, and report it to the Government in Calcutta. He is bound by Regulation to hear such Complaints.
What would be the Proceeding on that Report?
The Government would judge whether it was fit to bring the Case before a Grand Jury.
Have such Prosecutions taken place?
Frequently, I believe.
Has it not been more usual to proceed by a Commission of Inquiry?
Not in such Cases.
In Cases of Corruption, for instance?
I do not at this Moment recollect any Case of a Man being brought before the Supreme Court for Corruption. The usual Course in such Cases is a Commission of Inquiry; but Government, the Charge being proved, might of course prosecute.
Whether that Individual be brought before the Supreme Court, or not, must it depend on the Will of the Government, and not on the Will of the Native?
Any Native, I suppose, may go before the Grand Jury.
Has he the Means of bringing the Individual up to Calcutta?
If the Grand Jury find a Bill against him, he will be soon brought up. The Complainant has his Choice; if he mistrusts the Magistrate, and chooses to go to Calcutta, he has the ordinary Redress of Persons proceeding in that Court against Persons who have injured them.
If he goes to a Magistrate, and not to Calcutta, the Magistrate reports upon the Case, and that Report is sent to Calcutta, and then it depends upon the Government whether any thing shall be done or not?
Such Cases occur very seldom; but, upon Recollection, I believe a Magistrate, in the greater Crimes, has Power to take the Evidence, and himself commit the Individual. That Part of the System, however, is entirely out of the Jurisdiction of the Court of Sudder; I had nothing to do with what a Man did as a Magistrate in the Case of a European; that rested between the Government, the Individual and the Supreme Court.
If a Prosecution took place, at whose Expence would it take place?
I should think if it went through the Government, and they thought it a proper Case for Prosecution, that would be at the Expence of Government.
Has the Native the Means of Prosecution?
He goes to the Grand Jury, if he likes it; and then he takes every thing upon himself, of course, if he does not require or does not choose to seek the Aid of Government.
What is done if he has no pecuniary Means?
Then he cannot do any thing, I suppose.
Can he sue in forma pauperis?
I cannot say; indeed I rather think that does not apply to Criminal Prosecutions.
Can you state to what Extent the Statute Law of England applies to India; what Portion of it applies to India?
I understood that all Acts of Parliament that existed up to the Time of creating the Supreme Court extended to India, and after that, it requires to be specified in the Act.
The Laws lately passed for the Purpose of altering the Criminal Law of this Country do not apply to India, do they?
I do not know; I do not recollect. I had nothing to do with that.
The Mohamedan Criminal Law has to a great Extent been altered by the Regulations, has it not?
Yes; it has been modified; Mutilation has been put an end to, and some Rules of Evidence have been modified; the Rule about Female Evidence has been modified. The Mohamedan Law of Evidence requires Two Women for One Man, but, according to our Practice, a Woman is thought as good as a Man for a Witness.
You cannot state whether the Modifications have been the same at the Three Presidencies?
I have no Knowledge of the other Presidencies.
Has the Native Mohamedan or Hindoo a Power of bequeathing his Property as he pleases, or at his Death must it necessarily be divided?
I am not deep in Mohamedan or Hindoo Law; when the Questions came before me as a Sudder Judge I got the Assistance of the Law Officer for the particular Case; I never studied those Codes systematically.
The Duty of the Sudder Judge is to understand the Regulation Law?
To that much he is bound by his Oath; he must be guided by the Regulations.
The Hindoo and the Mohamedan Law he takes from the Native Officers?
Some Men who have the Curiosity or a Turn for that Study pursue it systematically; but if a Judge has not done that, he must refer to the Law Officer, making use of such Checks as English Books upon the Subject may give him on the Exigency of the Moment.
You do not know, whether Property is, on the Death of a Mohamedan or Hindoo, necessarily divided?
By the Mohamedan Law, to the best of my Recollection, it is, except that Portion of it which he has a Right to dispose of by Will, in Cases where he has exercised that Right.
Is it by the Hindoo Law?
Yes, I think it is by the Hindoo Law also.
Is that a Matter of Necessity, or is it at the Will of the Testator?
With the Hindoo I take it to be necessary; but a Mohamedan may bequeath to a certain Extent; One Third, I think, I speak, however, from a very vague Recollection. That Portion he may bequeath away as he likes, but the remaining Two Thirds are to be divided, according to the Law, amongst his Heirs.
Did the Country appear to increase in Prosperity whilst you were there?
In what sort of Prosperity?
I have no particular Knowledge of the Wealth of the Country. I did not observe the Natives became richer or poorer. It appeared to me they were much the same as they were in the Year 1792, when I first went there.
Is the Court of Sudder Adawlut a Court of Appeal from the inferior Courts?
Yes; it is the chief Court of Appeal.
Are those Appeals very frequent?
Sometimes more, sometimes less; certainly they are frequent upon the whole.
Upon the whole, should you say that they have become more frequent of late Years?
It depends a great deal on the Court being popular or not. Sometimes Natives appeal to it from the Desire to get their Cases there; sometimes they are apprehensive they shall not get any thing by their Appeal.
Do the Natives in general appear to have an increasing Confidence in the Decisions of the Court, which induces them to appeal to it?
That depends upon the Popularity of the Court; for Popularity is an uncertain sort of Thing; the Court that was once popular, is not always popular. The Tide of Business ebbs and flows accordingly.
The Natives are very observant of the State of the Sudder Adawlut, and govern their Conduct accordingly?
I should apprehend that every Man, in deciding whether he would appeal or not, would advert to the Character of the Court and Judges before whom his Appeal is to be brought.
What is the sort of Expence attending an Appeal to the Sudder Adawlut?
I do not recollect; there is the Price of the Stamp Paper, more or less, according to the Amount of the Suit; then there is the Expence of Vackeels; that is, the Fee of the Native Advocates.
Do you conceive it is the Amount of Expence which deters many Natives from appealing, from Poverty?
I should think it did in many Cases; but Paupers are admitted to appeal.
Is it still much cheaper than the Supreme Court?
I have understood that the Supreme Court is much more expensive than the Native Courts.
Do you remember the Number of Appeals in any One Year to the Sudder Adawlut?
Can you remember the Number of Arrears?
Three or Four hundred was, I believe, the Number when I came Home.
Is the Number increasing?
I have heard that they have increased.
Are any Native Officers employed in the Court?
All the Writers in the Court are Native Officers; all the Penmen in the Native Languages, and all the Advocates, are Natives; they are all Natives, except a few Half-castes, perhaps, who copy English.
Do the Natives discharge the Duties that attach to them with Accuracy and Ability?
I think they are, certainly, accurate and able.
As much as Europeans would be under similar Circumstances?
Quite so, I think; but I stop short at Accuracy and Ability.
You mean that you exclude Integrity?
I think that a very suspicious Point.
Do you conceive that Deficiency of Integrity to arise from something fundamental in the Native Character, or from the low Emoluments attached to their Situations?
Government thought, in Lord Cornwallis's Time, that even European Integrity might be increased and secured by Increase of Salary. I suppose it is pretty much the same with regard to the Natives.
Does it occur to you that any material Improvement might be effected in the Constitution of the Court of Sudder Adawlut?
No, provided it is still what it was when I left it.
What Time would it take to get through an Arrear of Three or Four hundred Causes?
That must depend a great deal on the Nature of the Suits in Appeal. I should think, on an Average, if they are well weighed and well decided, it would take very little short of Two Years.
The Court is Two Years in arrear, in short?
I should think about that.
In the course of your Practice have you found that the Hindoos are, when properly sworn, under the due Influence of an Oath?
I think that an Oath has an Influence upon them, but that Influence may be overpowered by other Influences. I do not think they totally disregard an Oath.
Is there great Care necessary to be taken in administering the Oath according to the Form of the respective Castes of the Natives?
It always has been administered, as far as I recollect, according to the established Forms.
Is not great Care necessary in the Administration to prevent their evading the Oath?
I do not suspect them very much of evading an Oath because there has been something informal in the Way of administering it.
In a Case of Half-caste Evidence, have you found there is any Difference in the Confidence to be placed in Half-caste Evidence and the Confidence to be placed in Native or European Evidence?
I have been very much in the habit of considering Half-castes as Natives; the only legal System in the Interior is that.
Have you practically any Reason to receive the Evidence of Halfcastes with more Jealousy than the Evidence of an European?
I should think it very near the Native; but this is a nice Point to decide upon.
You do not think that a Native will try to evade telling the Truth before a Court of Justice in consequence of any Informality in applying the Oath of his Caste?
No, I should think not. He would think himself bound by his Oath, even when so administered; and it would depend upon the Stimulus applied to overpower that Feeling; for example, whether he was bribed, or had any strong Prejudice or an Interest in the Case. I think the Oath would have some Weight with him under all Circumstances.
You have stated that the Appeals to the Privy Council were considered merely for the Purpose of asserting the Supremacy of The King?
We always understood so.
In point of fact, are you aware whether the Appellants on those Occasions are in the habit of putting themselves to Expence by appointing Agents in this Country for prosecuting those Appeals?
I have heard that they have in some Cases. I believe their Cases fail if they have not an Agent; they fail for Non-attendance.
Those Appeals cannot proceed unless they appoint Agents?
Is not that the Reason, probably, why nothing has been done in those Cases?
That depends on what is the Practice here. We saw in Calcutta there was an enormous Delay, and we represented it to Government, and the Government, I understood, represented it Home; but I never heard that their Decisions were, in consequence, made more speedily; I believe they are as dilatory as ever.
Could they proceed without Agents having been appointed to prosecute them?
The Privy Council know that; I do not know. I have heard of Cases being thrown out because there was no Party or Agent attending. We have got Intelligence once or twice of their being struck out for Non-appearance; but any Decision on the Merits I do not recollect.
By the Act of Parliament Parties not personally subject to the Supreme Court may agree in Writing to submit Civil Suits to the Authority of that Court; are you aware whether that has been done at all?
I believe it has been very rarely done.
Do you know an Instance of its having been done?
Yes, I have heard of Instances; but in the Interior they have a great Aversion to the Supreme Court.
What is the Nature of the Oath which is administered to the Hindoos?
It is very much like ours.
By whom do they swear?
Eshur is put for God; it is a very similar Oath.
Is it of the same kind as the Oath made by the Mohamedans?
It is laid down in the Regulations; it is the same Oath always; but for the Hindoo one Oath, and the Mohamedan another; it is never deviated from; it is the Oath appointed by the Regulations, and transcribed into the Code.
Do you think that the Sanction of an Oath is more respected by an Hindoo than a Mohamedan?
You mentioned that you had never known of any Person appointed to the Situation of Judge who was absolutely raw?
I meant raw in the Sense of never having been in the Judicial Line.
Have you known Persons appointed to those Situations in the Sudder who have been extremely deficient in competent Knowledge?
I do not recollect having any Colleague of that Description; that goes back for Eight Years; but I cannot carry back my Recollection to all the Sudder Judges from the Time of my entering the Service. I should think there was no one who would answer to that Description; it appears to me inconceivable; but there may be a Question as to what is a competent Knowledge, whether it means Knowledge of the Regulations, or of the Hindoo and Mohamedan Law, or what is the Quantum of Knowledge that would be allowed to be competent.
Have you witnessed great Disadvantages in a Member of the Sudder, arising in any Case from a Want of what appeared to you an adequate Knowledge?
I really cannot say; nor have I any Idea that any of my Colleagues have been utterly incompetent. I do not recollect a Man being taken directly from the Trade Line- any Commercial Resident being appointed to the Sudder. A Man so appointed I should call raw.
What is the shortest Period during which any Person you recollect having been appointed to the Situation of Judge in the Sudder Adawlut had been previously in the Judicial Line?
That I cannot answer; I do not recollect what was the shortest Time; I think they were always Judicial Servants.
What Standing must a Man have before he is appointed Judge to the Sudder Adawlut?
There is no Objection if he can hold the Salary. The Limitation as to Time has been annulled of late.
Is there not a System of Appeal established in India from the lowest Court to the highest?
Yes; I think any Case may come, on special Grounds, to the Sudder.
Is not that sufficient to lead to a great deal of Litigation which is injurious?
Yes; I think it has been carried too far; the Natives keep up a Cause as long as they can.
Do you think any Inconvenience would arise if the Power of Appeal were more limited?
I think that that was a good Rule, that the Sudder might admit an Appeal whenever they thought the substantial Justice of the Case required it; but that Rule, I have heard, has been done away with. I think that was a good Rule, as it respects the Justice of the Case, but it has increased the Number of Causes and delayed the Business. While the Appeal was admissible on the Ground of substantial Justice not having been done in the lower Court, it had an Effect in keeping the lower Court in Order. A Judge would be more careful in his Decisions when he saw that there was an Appeal given to the Sudder, than where he was the final Decider.
You do not think it would produce a great Advantage to make the Decisions of the Courts final, within certain Sums, in all Cases?
It would be productive of Convenience as far as it saved Trouble, Expence and Delay; but I should think the Justice of the Decisions would be better secured by keeping the Appeal open.
Do you think the Saving of Delay of no Consequence in the Administration of Justice?
Substantial Justice might be better done where an Appeal was open to the Sudder, from an Idea prevailing in the lower Courts of its being so open, because, that involving a Revision of every thing done, I think that a Judge would be more careful in his Decisions. It would operate as a Check. The Saving of Delay, however, is undoubtedly a Matter of Moment.
Does not a great Proportion of the Business in the Courts arise from Appeals from Court to Court?
In the Upper Courts, of course, it must arise almost entirely from the Appeals.
In the Provincial Courts there is a Power of receiving Appeals from the Court below?
Yes; they are Courts of Appeal; to hear Appeals is the original Purpose of their Institution.
Does not a great Part of the Business of those Courts which have the Power of receiving Appeals arise from that Source?
They are appointed as Courts of Appeal; that is a very material Part of their Duty.
No Oath is valid that is administered to a Hindoo except by a Brahmin?
It is always administered by a Brahmin.
And on the Water of the Ganges?
A written Declaration is sometimes made instead of that. Where a Native makes Objections to taking the Ganges Water into his Hand, if he is a respectable Native or of a Caste that requires it, the Courts indulge him with signing a Declaration that he will speak the Truth.
Is not the Code of Law administered in the Sudder Courts rather intricate and complicated?
We have no Code at all hardly in our Regulations, except as to the Forms of Proceeding; there are no particular Laws laid down. The Forms, so far from being intricate, are exceedingly simple.
There are the Hindoo and Mohamedan Laws and Regulations?
Yes; the Regulations relate to the Mode of conducting the Case, principally; how we shall receive the Plaint; how we shall take the Answer, and so on.
Do not you think that the System which now prevails is susceptible of Consolidation by the Union of the Two Codes, the Mohamedan and the Hindoo?
I do not see how they are to be united, unless the Hindoos become Mohamedans. The Mohamedans cannot become Hindoos.
Are you aware of the Consolidation of a more intricate System having taken place in the Island of Ceylon?
No; I am totally ignorant on that Subject.
Do you not think that it would be an Advantage that the Education of a Judge in the Zillah Court should be exclusively professional?
No, I do not see how it would be an Advantage that it should be exclusively professional; his Knowledge of Revenue, for Example, is of great Use; it was always the Case, in Lord Cornwallis's Time, that he passed through the Revenue to the higher Offices in the Judicial Line; he became a Collector after having been a Register; then he went on to being Judge; and it was thought his Knowledge of Revenue was of great Importance to his being an efficient Judge.
The Provisions of the Mohamedan Law, as to the Method of ascertaining the Credibility of Witnesses, have been a good deal altered by the Regulations, have they not?
I do not recollect any thing upon that Subject.
You have stated that the Half-castes were considered as Natives; are they made subject to the Mohamedan or to the Hindoo Law?
In the Criminal Courts to the Mohamedan Law. The Law of the Criminal Courts in the Interior is the Mohamedan Law. The Mohamedan Law Officer always gives his Futwah, and the Sentence passes upon that. In the Civil Courts there is a Rule that the Defendant's Law shall be followed. It would depend, therefore, on the Situation in which the Half-caste stood.
Do you class them according to the Religion of their Mothers?
No; that is never adverted to that I know of; I never heard them asked whether their Mother was a Hindoo or a Mohamedan.
Is there any Distinction between the Half-castes residing within the District of the Supreme Court of Calcutta and those in the Interior?
They are all subject to the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in Calcutta, being in that respect on a Par with Europeans.
What is the Civil Law administered in the Provinces?
The Civil Law is Mohamedan and Hindoo.
According to the Religion of the Individual?
Yes; if the Parties are both of the same Persuasion.
If one is a Hindoo and the other a Mohamedan, what is the Rule then?
I think that the Defendant's Law is followed.
Supposing the Defendant to be a Half-caste, by what Law is that Cause decided?
That depends on the Nature of the Case. There cannot be any Question of Inheritance between them.
In any Civil Suit not connected with Inheritance, what is the Rule?
I really do not recollect a Precedent for that.
Would not a Half-caste, if his Mother was a Mohamedan, be considered a Mohamedan, and if his Mother was an Hindoo, be considered an Hindoo?
No; that Idea is perfectly novel to me; I do not recollect such a Point.
What would be done in that Case?
The Case is, as far as I recollect, unprecedented.
Do you mean that the Case has never occurred?
It might be a Point decidable under the General Regulations, or under the Revenue Regulations, or on a written Contract, in which Cases the Difference of Persuasions would hardly be adverted to.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
William Malcolm Fleming Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
Have you resided in India?
In what Capacity?
In the Judicial Department.
What Situation did you last hold?
I held the Situation of second Judge of the Court of Circuit for the Division of Patna.
Were you not directed to make some Inquiries respecting the Manufacture of Opium?
Yes, I was.
Have the goodness to state the Object and Nature of those Inquiries.
The Object was to ascertain the Cause of the Opium of a particular Season, I think 1824-5, having sold so badly in the China Market, in fact, a great Proportion of it being almost unsaleable; and in consequence those who had purchased at the Company's Sales made an Application to Government for a Remuneration for Losses sustained in consequence of the Badness of the Article.
Was it only in that Year that the Opium appeared to be much deteriorated?
I am not aware that it was considered bad in any other Year.
Did you ascertain the Cause of the Deterioration?
Yes; I stated my Opinion of the Cause of the Deterioration, and how it had happened.
Have the goodness to mention it.
It appeared to me that it was chiefly caused by a Quantity of Leaves being mixed with the Drug at the Time it was forming into Balls. It is sent to the China Market in a particular Form, made up with a Crust of Leaves round it, and the People who were employed in making it up added a considerable Quantity of Leaves to it.
Was that merely the Result of Carelessness?
I am afraid of Fraud on the Part of the Natives who were employed in the Preparation of it.
Was there Neglect on the Part of the Opium Agent?
I cannot positively say; but I think he was not sufficiently attentive in checking the Frauds of the Natives.
The Sum paid back by the Company was large, was it not?
Do you recollect how much?
Twelve or Thirteen Lacs of Rupees.
Is there any natural Inferiority in the Bahar and Benares Opium, to that of Malwa?
I think there is.
Can you state the Proportion of that Inferiority?
I think it is about One Fourth less strong, that of Bahar, than that of Malwa; contains One Fourth less narcotic Principle.
Would it be impossible, by any Alteration in the Manufacture, to give to it the Strength of the Opium of Malwa?
I should think that would be almost impossible; I think that the Difference is in some degree owing to the Nature of the Climate.
Are you aware that the Treaties formed with the Princes of Malwa, respecting the Delivery of a certain Quantity of Opium, and the Restriction on its Cultivation, are now abandoned?
I am not.
Assuming that they are now abandoned, and that the Export of Opium from Malwa was free through all Countries not under the Influence of the British Government, what Effect do you conceive that will have on the Company's Sales of Opium?
I should suppose very considerable; but I have no Information upon that Subject; I am not aware what Quantity has been exported. I am not acquainted with the China Trade at all.
Is the Difference in the Value of Benares and Malwa Opium in the China Market about One Fourth?
I believe not so much; I only speak with respect to the Quality and Strength of the Drug.
There is a Peculiarity of Taste in the Chinese with respect to Opium, is there not?
Do they prefer the Malwa?
I have always understood that they preferred the Patna.
They have not any Taste for the Turkish Opium, have they?
Not until of late Years; I have understood that they have had a greater Taste for it of late Years.
What is the comparative Price of the Turkish and the Indian Opium in China?
I really do not know.
Have you ever resided in any Parts of the Country in which Salt was manufactured?
No, I have not.
Have you ever observed any injurious Effect produced on the internal Commerce of the Country by the Transit Duties?
No, I am not aware of that; but I am not acquainted with that Subject.
Do you apprehend that the Natives are enabled, at the present Price of Salt, to obtain as much as they want?
I am of Opinion they would consume more if it were cheaper.
Do you think that the Revenue would be increased by increasing the Quantity sold, and diminishing its Price?
I should think it would.
You acted as Judge for some Time, did you not?
I did for the greater Part of the Time I was in India.
Had you the Appointment of the Police in your District?
I had at one Time; not latterly.
Was a different Arrangement made with regard to the Appointment of them?
I was first Magistrate, and then Judge of Circuit; since I have been Judge of Circuit I had but little to do with the Detail of the Police.
In your Capacity of Magistrate you appointed the Police?
How is the Police governed and organized?
Each District is divided into Divisions called Tannahs, which are superintended by a Police Officer called a Tannahdar, who has a certain Number under him, and to whom all the Police Watchmen report.
What is the average Population of a Tannah?
They are so different that I cannot say.
The Police varies, probably, according to the Population of the Tannah?
The Size of the Tannah is very irregular.
The Police would in Number be proportioned to the Size of the Tannah?
Are there other Officers besides the Tannahdar?
The Village Watchmen; they form the local Police.
Each Village has so many Watchmen?
Yes; who are paid by the Inhabitants.
The Police is distributed in this Manner all over the Country?
It is not brought together in Bodies?
No, except at each Tannah there are a Number of Constables, from Ten to Twenty-five, under the Tannahdar.
Had you frequent or any Complaints made to you of Oppression on the Part of the Policemen?
Yes, I frequently had.
Did they appear to be well founded?
Some of them were.
Were the Offenders removed?
They were always punished and removed.
There is no other Supervisor of the Police, except the Tannahdar?
No, there is not.
There is no other Description of Police, except the Tannahdar and the Watchmen?
No, there is not; except the Burkondosses, or Constables under him.
What is the Pay of a Tannahdar?
From Twenty-five to Thirty Rupees a Month.
What is the Pay of a Watchman?
It depends on Circumstances; he is paid by the Village generally - the Village Community. It is from Two to Three Rupees a Month.
In addition to that Pay, does he not hold Lands as Watchman?
I include that; every thing is included in the Two to Three Rupees a Month.
Does he exercise his Trade like other Persons?
He seldom does any thing besides watching, except cultivating his Land.
He is only called on when required, is he?
He is expected to watch every Night.
Were the Police under your Direction numerous?
Yes, they were.
Can you recollect its Amount?
I think, in the District where I was, for the greatest Period, there were Nineteen Tannahs.
What was the Amount of the Police?
I think there were from Ten to Fifteen Constables in each Tannah under the Tannahdar, and a Writer, the Person who takes Depositions, and the Head Constable.
Could the Watchmen arrest without any Authority given them by the Tannahdar?
They could in some Cases, but not in all Cases.
Only in Cases of heinous Offences?
Yes; Murder, Robbery and such Cases.
Did it appear to you that it was an efficient Police for the Punishment or Prevention of Crimes?
I thought it was perfectly efficient.
Did Crimes appear to diminish in Magnitude or in Number?
Are Offences of a heinous Character common?
They were not common in the Part of the Country in which I was-in the Patna Division; such as Gang Robbery or Decoity were not common.
Could you attach much Credit to the Evidence given before you by the Natives; or did you always regard their Evidence with a certain degree of Suspicion?
I regarded it rather with Suspicion.
In what Situations were Natives employed under you as Judge?
As Tannahdars, Police Officers, and Commissioners for trying petty Causes.
By Commissioners for trying petty Causes, do you mean Sudder Aumeens?
Did they administer Justice well?
In some Instances they did.
Were there any Munsiffs under you?
There were Munsiffs; all the Commissioners for trying Causes were also Munsiffs.
Did they decide a large Proportion of the small Cases?
They decided a great Number of small Cases; but they were not Sudder Aumeens; the Sudder Aumeens are attached to the Court at each Head Station.
Were the Sudder Aumeens Officers of your Court?
There were several of them Officers of my Court. The Mohamedan and the Hindoo Law Officers were Sudder Aumeens; and there was sometimes an additional one; sometimes Two additional ones.
Causes were tried by them under your Direction?
Yes; Causes were referred to them for Trial; but the Munsiffs and Commissioners in the different Tannahs had an original Jurisdiction in receiving and trying Cases.
Do the Sudder Aumeens have remitted Cases?
Were there many Appeals from the Decrees of the Munsiffs?
A good Number.
Were there from those of the Sudder Aumeens?
A great Number more from the Sudder Aumeens than from the Commissioners or Munsiffs; the Reason of which I can explain. The Munsiffs only try Cases of Rent and small Debts; the Sudder Aumeens try Cases in which Real Property is concerned, such as Land and Houses.
Upon the whole, were you well satisfied with the Conduct of the Munsiffs and Aumeens under you?
No, I cannot say that I was generally well satisfied.
Had you the Power of changing them?
Yes, I had, when any thing was proved against them.
Did you exercise it frequently?
Yes, in several Instances.
What was the Salary of the Munsiffs?
He had no fixed Salary: it depended on Fees.
Had the Sudder Aumeens a Salary?
He has now a Salary; he had formerly only Fees.
Does it occur to you that any great Improvement might be introduced into the Police Establishment?
I know of none, except giving Protection to the Village Watchmen, who are the most useful Officers of the Police.
Is the Village in any Case rendered answerable for any Theft committed within its Limits?
Not in the Lower Provinces.
Is that the Case in any Part of the Country?
It was; but I believe it has been done away; it is not now the Case. I understand that when the Provinces were first ceded to the Company by The Nawab Vizier, (Gorruckpoor and other Districts,) it was enforced; but it does not now exist.
Is the Tannahdar hereditary?
Is there any hereditary Officer?
The Office of Village Watchman is generally considered to be hereditary.
Does any other Part of the Village Constitution remain in that Part of the Country?
Yes; all the usual Persons remain in that Part of the Country, such as the Village Washerman, the Barber and others.
They are all hereditary?
Yes, they are; at least generally; not always.
That Part of the Country is under the perpetual Settlement, is it not?
Did the Country improve during the Time you were acquainted with it?
Both in Population and in Wealth?
By what Law is Property distributed on the Death of a Proprietor?
It depends upon whether they are Mussulmans or Hindoos.
What is the Mohamedan Law?
By the Mohamedan Law, as far as I recollect, it is divided among the Male and Female in certain Proportions.
Has a Proprietor any Power of making a Will; can he devise Property as he pleases among his Children?
A Mohamedan cannot.
Can a Hindoo?
I do not think he can; I cannot speak positively, because the Law is different in different Parts of the Country.
Do Females inherit under the Hindoo Law?
They do not, generally.
The Mohamedan Property is divided among all the Children, and the Hindoo among the Sons, and that without any Power of willing away the Property?
Yes, it is so; but a Mohamedan can give, during his Life, Property he has inherited as well as that he has acquired.
Can a Hindoo?
No, he cannot in Behar.
Did you observe any practical Inconveniences arising out of that System of dividing Property; did it prevent the Accumulation of Agricultural and other Capital?
No, it did not appear to have that Effect.
Did it appear to you that there was more Agricultural Capital in the Country when you left it than when you went to it?
Yes, certainly; much more.
Was there more applied to the Cultivation of Land?
Was there more applied to Manufactures or Trade?
I do not think that there was; but there was a great deal more Land brought into Cultivation.
Did the People appear to you more comfortable than when you first knew it?
Much more so.
Were the Zemindars becoming rich?
I do not know that they were becoming rich; they were becoming much more extravagant.
Did their Extravagance induce them to obtain European Luxuries?
No, I do not think it did.
Had the People more Clothing than they had when you first knew them, or more Comforts of any Description in their Houses?
No, I do not think there was any very great Difference; I think they dressed better, but in a different Way.
What was the Change?
The Change appeared to be that the Hindoos adopted many of the Mohamedan Customs in point of Dress.
Did you observe any Quantity of European Manufactures in that Part of the Country?
No, not a very great deal.
Yes; some Chints, which were used as Dresses of late Years; there have been a good many of them used lately.
Was there any Native Manufacture supplanted by the Introduction of British Manufactures in that Part of the Country?
What Manufacture was that?
That of Cotton Cloth generally.
Those Manufacturers were thrown out of Employment?
They were, and became Cultivators again.
Did a greater Quantity of Cloth appear to be consumed than had been before?
I cannot say.
There was no visible Alteration or Improvement in the Habits of the People?
No, I do not think there was.
With respect to the Substituation of English Cotton Manufactures for those of the Natives, you stated that a good Number were thrown out of Employment by that; to what did they have recourse for their Maintenance?
I do not know what Proportion were thrown out of Employment, but I understood that some of the Weavers were thrown out of Employment, and that they of course became Agriculturists.
What used they to gain as Weavers?
I cannot state that.
Were they much lowered in Condition by being compelled to become Cultivators of the Soil instead of Weavers?
For a short Time they were; but not permanently, I should think.
Their Gains as Weavers must have been very low?
I should think very low.
They had no Difficulty in turning themselves to another Occupation, ultimately as profitable?
They had always been Cultivators; they only cultivated a little more.
You do not know to what Extent their Occupation as Weavers tended to raise their Condition?
No; I have no Means of knowing that.
What Extent of Territory was under your Jurisdiction as Magistrate?
The District of Tirhoot, in which I was for the longest Period, when I was a Magistrate, was, I think, about 140 Miles long by 100 wide.
Had you any Jurisdiction over the Zillah Courts?
This was a Zillah; I was latterly in the Court of Appeal and Circuit Court that extended over the whole Division.
How many Zillah Courts are comprehended in that?
Six, and latterly Seven.
Had you any Jurisdiction over the Zillah Courts?
Of what Nature?
The Judges of Circuit hold the Gaol Deliveries, alternately in the different Districts under their Jurisdiction, every Six Months.
What was the Constitution of the Zillah Courts?
It consisted of a Judge, a Registrar and Native Officers.
The Judge and Registrar were the only Two Europeans?
Sometimes there was an Assistant.
Had the Registrar Jurisdiction?
The Registrar had a separate Court for all Cases that were referred to him; he had no original Jurisdiction.
What was the Duty of the Assistant?
He was sometimes employed in taking Depositions.
Was he ever employed in trying Cases?
In trying Criminal Cases of a certain Description.
What Standing was a young Man necessarily of when he was appointed Assistant to a Judge?
As soon as he got out of College.
The first or second Year of his getting out he had Criminal Cases to try?
What was the Salary of the Judge of the Zillah Court?
From Twenty-four to Twenty-eight thousand Rupees a Year.
He had no Perquisites whatever?
None of his Expences were paid?
What Standing must a Man be in the Service before he could be appointed Judge of a Zillah Court?
Generally from Ten to Twelve Years.
Must he have been during that Time in the Judicial Line?
At one Time, lately, that was the Case.
What Standing was required for a Registrar?
From Four to Five Years.
At what Age, usually, did a Man become a Registrar?
At the Age of One or Two and twenty.
He tried Civil Causes?
Did he try Criminal Causes also?
Yes; he acted as first Assistant to the Magistrate.
Was he assisted by Native Officers?
Yes, to take down Depositions.
Did they not also state the Law when it turned on Mohamedan or Hindoo Law?
Yes, in Civil Cases they did; but they had nothing to do with Criminal Cases. In Civil Cases the Register referred to the Mohamedan or Hindoo Law Officer, as might be requisite.
Did they in fact pronounce the Decision in those Cases?
No; only on the Point of Law; they had nothing to do with the Evidence; the Evidence was not usually submitted to them. If however any particular Witness was objected to, as being incompetent to be sworn, their Opinion was taken in such Cases, but not otherwise.
After hearing the Evidence, they were consulted as to the Point of Law on which the Case turned?
And he was governed by the Advice he received?
Yes, he was.
Did they refer to Punchayets much in the Division where you were?
No, they did not; there were a few Cases referred to Arbitration, but it was of rare Occurrence.
Had you in any other Part of India an Opportunity of observing the Administration of Justice through the Agency of Punchayets?
I had not.
You were understood to say, that on the Death of a Proprietor, according to the Mohamedan Law, the Property was distributed equally among the Sons and Daughters?
Not equally, but in certain Proportions, according to the Law.
According to the Hindoo Law it is among the Sons only?
Yes; according to the Hindoo Law it is amongst the Sons only, and in equal Proportions.
In the event of their being neither Sons nor Daughters, how did the Property descend?
It went to the Heirs; to the next Heirs.
Was not that frequently a Cause of Dispute and Litigation?
No doubt it was.
Is there any thing in the Regulations of the Company, on the Subject of Opium, that precludes Persons, either Europeans or Natives, having Capital, from embarking in the Cultivation of the Poppy?
Provided they sell it to the Company, there is no Objection; they cannot cultivate the Plant on their own Account, as no Person can cultivate Poppy who does not sell the Opium to the Company.
Is it probable that any Person possessing Capital would embark in such a Cultivation if he was confined in the Sale of it to the Company?
I do not think it is.
The only Persons who it is probable would undertake the Cultivation of that Drug must be the poorest Class of People, who have no Money of their own?
They are not a poor Class; they are a particular Description of People who cultivate Opium; the Cultivation is confined to a particular Description called Queries.
Is it confined by Law, or merely by Practice?
Merely by Practice.
Is not the Company in the habit of making Advances to the Cultivators of Opium?
Why do they make Advances if they are not too poor to carry it on without?
It is considered an Advantage to them to have Advances.
That must be on the Supposition that they have no Money of their own?
There are certainly some of the Queries exceedingly wealthy: I do not know a more wealthy Class of Cultivators than the Queries.
Is it the Custom of the Company to make Advances to those Persons?
They do make Advances to all Persons who cultivate the Poppy.
Whether they want them or not?
They always wish to have them.
Is that necessary?
It has always been the Custom.
Is it necessary to pay a rich Man beforehand for that you have afterwards to buy?
I cannot speak to that, further than the Custom.
You spoke to the Adulteration of the Opium of 1824-5; did that continue in 1827?
No, it did not.
That was pure?
There is a certain Price given for a certain Quality by the Purchasers at the Company's Sales in Calcutta?
They do not know the Quality of it 'till it arrives in China.
Is not it examined?
There is a small Quantity examined in Calcutta; it was adulterated after it went through the Hands of the Collectors.
Do you presume it was not adulterated by the Cultivator?
I think it was not; because I think it would have been rejected by the Opium Agent.
Through whose Hands did it pass subsequently between the Collector and the China Market?
It passed through the Hands of the Officers of the Agent for the Provision and Manufacture of Opium; it was brought into the Warehouse, and made up in a particular Form, and it is in making it up in this particular Form of Balls, with a Shell of Leaves, that the Adulteration takes place.
At what Period of the Manufacture is it examined by the Collector?
When it is received from the Cultivator.
In what State is it at that Time?
It is exactly in the State in which it should be afterwards, but rather more liquid.
Subsequently, what happens to it?
It is merely inspissated to a certain Consistence, and made up into Balls.
By what Description of Persons is it made up into Balls; are they Servants of the Company?
No; they are hired for the Occasion by the Opium Agent.
Are the Opium Agents paid high?
They receive a Commission upon the Sales, that is, upon the Profits, after deducting the Expences of Manufacture.
Did this Adulteration take place to the Opium of One District only?
I cannot say; it was in the Bahar Division; in the Bahar Agency.
Is the Manufacture of Opium an unwholesome Employment?
I do not think it is.
Is the Opium that is grown in Bengal supplied to the Company by the Cultivators at a fixed Price?
Do you know what Proportion that bears to the Market Price?
I cannot tell exactly without a little Consideration, but I know the Price that is paid to the Cultivators.
Is not the Price paid to the Cultivators very low indeed, as compared with the Market Price?
It is very low, when compared with the Market Price.
Do you not think that that Restriction on the Part of The East India Company holds out a strong Inducement to the Deterioration of the Opium?
No, I do not think it does. I believe the Cultivators are perfectly satisfied at present with the Price which is paid for it.
Do not you think that that Limitation as to the Price places the Cultivator under a very strong Inducement to deteriorate the Article?
No, I do not think it does.
What did you understand by the Market Price-the Sale Price at Calcutta?
Does the same System of Police, or nearly the same, extend over all the Territories of the Company, or does it differ much in the old Provinces and the newly-acquired Provinces?
I believe it does not differ much; but I cannot positively speak to that, not having been employed in the Upper Provinces.
Can you mention generally the Difference between our present System of Police and that which is supposed to have existed in the better Times of the Mohamedan Government?
No, I cannot.
To what Extent have the Provisions of the Mohamedan Law, as to the ascertaining the Credibility of Witnesses, been altered by the Regulations?
The Mohamedan Law has no reference to the Credibility of Witnesses; sometimes an Evidence from some particular Cause is objected to by the Law Officer in Criminal Cases, as not being competent, but his Evidence is always taken in such Cases, and it may be over-ruled by the Judges of the Superior Court - the Judges of the Sudder Nizamut Adawlut.
You have spoken as to the Age at which Gentlemen are brought forward in the minor Judicial Situations; what Means have they now of acquiring a Knowledge of the Mohamedan Law?
Only by perusing Books on the Subject; they do not particularly study it.
Are there Lectures in the College upon it?
I believe not.
Have the goodness to state what is the lowest Rate of Earnings sufficient to support a labouring Man in India?
It is very difficult to state that; but Two Rupees a Month would maintain him, or probably less.
What is the lowest Rate of Wages paid to Servants?
I think about Three Rupees a Month; in some Instances, no doubt, it may be lower, but I cannot speak positively to that.
Are the Earnings of Manufacturers larger than Two Rupees a Month?
I really cannot say.
Did Slavery exist in any Part of the District with which you were acquainted?
Yes, it did exist, certainly, what is called Slavery; but it is by no means what is generally understood by the Term Slavery.
Have the goodness to explain what Slavery is in that Part of the Country?
In one of the Districts, where I resided about Three Years, there were a good Number of Bondsmen, and who in fact had sold themselves for a certain Sum to work for their Masters for Life; but they might redeem, by paying up that Sum, whenever they pleased; it was a Species of Mortgage of their Labour.
What Duties did their Masters undertake towards them?
I believe it was quite nominal. Those Bondsmen did exactly as they pleased; they came and cultivated for their Masters when they liked it, or it was convenient to themselves; but I do not know any Instance in which they were forced to work contrary to their Will.
Had the Master the Power to transfer his Right over them to any other Person?
I never knew an Instance of their being directly sold.
What was the Mode of enforcing the Services of the Bondsmen?
I believe there was no Mode of enforcing it, except by withholding the Wages.
Were they subjected to any Corporal Punishment?
No, not at all; if they had they would have immediately complained to the Courts, and obtained instant Redress; but I never knew such a Complaint made.
Is it the Practice in any Part of the District with which you are acquainted for Parents to sell their Children?
I have heard of it, but I cannot speak to the Fact.
Would such Sales be considered valid in point of Law?
I am not perfectly certain; I believe they would under the Hindoo Law, but not, I believe, under the Mohamedan.
Have you seen Suttees?
Yes, I have.
No; I cannot say that I have frequently witnessed them, and I never was very near.
Did they take place to any Extent in your District?
Not in the District of Tirhoat, where I was for a considerable Time; it is not at all common there, probably One in the course of a Year, seldom more, although it is entirely a Hindoo District.
In the Neighbourhood of Patna are they more frequent?
They are more frequent there than North of the Ganges. Batrar is divided by the Ganges into Two Divisions. Suttees are less frequent in the Districts North of the Ganges than in those Districts South of the Ganges.
Is there so much Religion attached to this Ceremony as to make it dangerous to interfere with it, and declare it shall not take place?
I rather think it might be dangerous if it were common in the Upper Provinces; but it is not common in the Upper Provinces, but more confined to Bengal, where the People are not likely to be turbulent; I therefore do not think there would be much Danger in prohibiting the Practice entirely.
Notwithstanding the great Frequency of the Practice?
Notwithstanding the Frequency of the Practice, I do not think there is any thing to be apprehended from the Bengalese; they are a different People altogether from those of the Upper Provinces.
Their Religious Feeling is stronger?
In what Manner would you proceed if you wanted to put it down; would you punish all that were present?
No, not all that were present; but the officiating Brahmins and People of that Description ought to be punished.
Is it necessary that a Suttee should be performed only in public?
I believe it is.
Do you not apprehend that if it was prevented in public it might take place privately?
No, I think not.
Is Notice given of a Suttee now by Law?
It is not necessary; there is no Punishment incurred by not giving Notice.
Is Notice generally given?
Notice is very frequently given.
How many Persons may be considered as officiating at a Suttee, so as to be criminal? If a Suttee were declared contrary to Law, how many are there aiding and abetting?
I cannot say exactly. All the Persons concerned in the Suttee.
How many Brahmins?
Probably Two or Three.
The whole Family, and Two or Three Brahmins?
Were not Suttees at one Time absolutely prohibited by the Mohamedans?
I am not aware whether that was the Fact.
It is confined to the highest Caste, is it not?
It ought to be confined to the highest Caste; it is by the Hindoo Law, but it is not by Practice.
Did you ever know the Brahmins interfere to prevent a Suttee?
I never knew an Instance.
Did you ever know a Person resist, and forced to submit to a Suttee by the Brahmins present?
No, I never knew an Instance of that. I have known them get away after having been upon the Pile. I saw one Instance of that myself.
Was she driven back, or did she finally escape?
She got up and went off.
She was not prevented from going away?
No, she was not; but on that Occasion there was a Mohamedan Police Officer present; of course nothing was put over; she was allowed to burn, or not, as she liked.
She lost her Caste by going away, did she not?
Really I cannot tell; the Family lost more than she did; it is the Family that loses the Caste; it is not so much the Woman as the Family.
Is not a Suttee now always attended by an Officer of the Government?
When Information is given, I believe it is.
Suttees have not always been attended by Officers of Government, have they?
When did that Regulation first take place?
I am not perfectly certain, but I think in 1812 or 1813.
Do you know whether the Circumstance of an Officer attending has had the Effect of giving an Appearance of the Sanction of Government to the Practice?
I do not think so.
If the Wife survives, she inherits a considerable Portion of the Property, does she not?
No; she is entitled only to Food and Clothing.
Have you ever conversed with Brahmins on the Subject of the Abolition of the Suttee?
I have not.
You cannot say whether they themselves consider it as highly desirable or practicable to get rid of it?
No, I cannot exactly say.
Have you known of any Instance in which a Suttee has been prevented by any Officer of the Government?
I do not; there may have been Instances of the kind occurred of their having persuaded Women from becoming Suttees; but I cannot speak positively to the Fact.
Do Slaves labour under any Legal Disqualifications?
I believe, under the Mohamedan Law, in giving Evidence, there is some Disqualification.
You cannot state to what Extent?
Are the Bondsmen you speak of numerous?
In one District they are.
What Proportion do you think they may bear to the general Population of the District?
I cannot say, it is so various; and it is only in one very small Proportion of the Company's Territory that they are very common.
Their Slavery is of a mild Nature, is it not?
Very much so; they are almost Children in the Family.
What is the Name of the District?
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Tuesday next, One o'Clock.