Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
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Die Veneris, 12 Martii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
John Cotton Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
What has been your Situation?
My Situation has been always in the Revenue Line; I was for Six Years Collector of Tinivelly, and subsequently Seven Years Collector, and Principal Collector, of Tanjore.
Can you state the different Modes of Revenue Settlement in the Presidency of Madras?
They are Village and Ryotwar Settlements, and some Zemindarry.
Tinivelly was a Village Settlement, was it not?
Yes; and so was Tanjore.
Are you acquainted with the Ryotwar Settlements?
No; I have never been in a District where they prevailed.
You do not know the Advantages or Disadvantages of that Mode of Settlement?
In what Manner did you make the Village Settlement?
By assembling a Deputation from each Village, examining the Accounts of previous Years, and forming an Average of Produce, and commuting the Government Share of that by an Average Price into a Money Settlement.
You had no Survey or Valuation?
No; no Survey or Valuation.
If any body was dissatisfied with his Settlement, what was the Remedy?
He did not sign the Agreement of Rent; of course he had the Option.
If any Persons felt aggrieved with the Settlement, had they any Mode of arranging otherwise?
They merely declined signing the Arrangements of Rent, and had a Share in the Division of the Produce, their Villages being continued under what we term Aumanie Management, which is a Superintendence by Government Servants of the Cultivation and Produce.
In case of a Complaint of Over-assessment, was it rectified?
It was rectified; in fact it was quite optional with the People to agree or not.
For what Term of Years was the Settlement made in Tinivelly?
The last Settlement was for Ten Years. I did not make any Settlement in Tinivelly; I found a Ten Years Settlement there.
Had that been the usual Course?
No; previous to that there was a Three Years Settlement, and before that annual.
In Tanjore, was it a Three Years Settlement?
It was first annual for Two or Three Years, and then triennial; afterwards there were Two Settlements of Five Years each, and then again annual for Two Years.
Was there any Difference in the Mode of Settlement between Tanjore and other Places?
Not in these Settlements. The last was a Settlement peculiar to Tanjore, formed about Four Years before I quitted the District. It was on an assumed Standard Produce, taken from the Produce Account of former Years; and in consequence of the great Diminution in the Price of Grain, a Revision was made of that, and a Standard Price was assumed from the Average Prices of the Three or Four Years preceding the Settlement; thus a Standard Produce and a Standard Price being fixed, a Division was calculated of the Produce between the Inhabitants and the Government, according to the established Rates, and the Government Share of the Produce being then commuted into Money at the Standard Price, the Settlement in Money was formed. The Price of Grain in each Year was then to be compared with the Standard Price. When it fell below Five per Cent. a Deduction was to be allowed, and when it rose above Ten per Cent. an addition was made to the Settlements.
Did the Revenue increase or diminish under your new Settlement?
It increased; from an Increase of Cultivation, and an Increase in the assumed Standard Produce.
The Revenue of Tanjore increased considerably from the Increase of Cultivation?
The Standard Land Revenue is much about the same, but from other Branches of the Revenue it has considerably increased.
Have the Charges of Collection increased?
What Proportion did the Charges of Collection bear to the gross Collections?
Between Four and a Quarter and Four and a Half per Cent. (including the Native Revenue Establishment only;) that is taking an Average of the last Six Years.
Tanjore is full of Manufacturing Population, is it not?
There are some Manufactures, but not to any great Extent, both of Silk and Cotton; but they are chiefly for the Consumption of the District.
Had the Importation of Cotton Manufactures of England had any Operation upon that Part of the Country?
I cannot say that it had.
The Property is very much divided in that District, is it not?
It is very much of the same Nature as that in Malabar; a proprietary Right vested in the Inhabitants.
Is there much Trade?
There is a considerable Export and Import Trade by Sea there.
To what Places chiefly?
To Bengal and to the Eastward; to Atcheen.
From what Port?
Nagoa and Negapatam.
What are the chief Exports?
Cloths, from that and the neighbouring Districts.
That Trade continues, does it?
It has fallen off very much; I have known of Persons going to the Eastward with a Cargo, and not being able to meet with a Demand for their Goods at Prime Cost, in consequence of the Supply of British Goods.
In that Manner the Supply of English Cloths has interfered with their Trade?
The Manufacturers have of course felt that?
Of course they have.
What is the Population of Tinivelly?
I cannot charge my Memory with that.
What is that of Tanjore?
It is about a Million, including The Rajah's Villages.
What is the Average Proportion of the Share the Government derived from the Village Assessments?
Fifty per Cent.
Had you any thing to do with the Settlement of the Polligars?
No; a Settlement was made with them previous to my going into the District of Tinivelly.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Thomas Campbell Robertson Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
What Situation did you hold in India?
I was First Assistant in the Judicial Department in the Division of Dacca from the Year 1810 to the Middle of 1812; after that I was in the same Department in the Division of Patna until the End of 1816 or the Beginning of 1817, during which Period I was Judge and Magistrate of the City of Patna for One Year, the Year 1816. After that Period I was Judge and Magistrate of the District of Cawnpoor 'till September 1823. Shortly after that I proceeded to Calcutta on Leave of Absence, when I was appointed Commissioner in Chittagong, where I remained, and at Arracan and Ava, until April 1826. After my Return to Calcutta, I was employed for a few Months in revising some Trials on Capital Cases that had been sent down for the Revision of Government by the Commissioners in the new Territories on the Nerbudder. That was the End of my Service in India.
You had no Share in the Collection of the Revenue?
For a very short Time in the Year 1814, in the District of Ramghar, I had Charge of a very small Collection of about a Lac of Rupees from the wild Hill Provinces contiguous to the Province of Bahar.
Were you well acquainted with the Police in those Districts?
Was the Police sufficient in the Lower Provinces?
It had many Defects; but it has been, I have Reason to think, very greatly improved since the Period when I was there. It is near Eighteen Years since I was employed in the Judicial Department in the Lower Provinces. That was in 1812.
At that Time it was hardly enough under the Controul of the Judicial Authorities, was it?
At that Period the Authority of the original Landholders had been considerably weakened by the Effects of the System introduced by Lord Cornwallis in 1793; by the Effect of the Sale of Lands, and the Introduction of Strangers into the Possession of Lands. The new System, which might be regarded as an artificial one, perhaps had not attained sufficient Consistency to be so efficient as I have Reason to believe that it has since proved.
That Deficiency was from the Want of Influence in the Persons holding the Land as Zemindars, was it not?
No; I do not think it was so much the Want of Influence as the Want of Will. There was a Reluctance on their Part to co-operate with the Police; and a great Number of them were Non-residents; new Men who had acquired the Land by Purchase.
What was the State of the Settlement in Cawnpoor?
The Assessment I think could not be described as severe, at the same Time it was certainly high; but in its Introduction it had been attended with many Abuses, which have since been corrected by the Appointment of a Special Commission, which arrived in 1821 in Cawnpoor and Allahabad.
You are acquainted with the Existence of those Abuses, are you not?
Can you state to what Extent they were carried?
I should say that very nearly Two Thirds of the District had, in the course of the first Ten Years from the Time of our Acquisition of those Provinces, passed from the legal Owners into the Hands of Men connected with the Revenue Department in the Collector's Office.
They were sold for Nonpayment?
Partly so. I can detail in a few Words the whole Process of the Fraud. The Regulations were suddenly introduced with all their Forms, and perhaps at that Time none but the Men immediately about the Public Offices were at all acquainted with their Provisions, and none certainly of the People in the Interior could have the slightest Conception of that Precision which those Forms required and exacted of them. For instance, no Man could suppose that for Nonpayment on a certain Day, or the Nonfulfilment of some Condition in a printed Law, his Estate should go from him. The Books that were at that Time made out in the Office of the Revenue Department contained Two Columns, one headed Malik, an Arabic Word meaning Proprietor, the other Mustajir, an Arabic Word meaning Farmer. The Village Landholders received their Pottahs or Leases for Three Years, frequently without paying any Attention to the Value by which they were designated, because it appeared to them quite immaterial, they regarding the Word Lease as only meaning they they should hold their Land at that specific Rent for the Period therein stated. Others again did receive their Pottahs under the Name of Owner or Proprietor; but they were both nearly equally exposed to the Frauds that were afterwards practised upon them. At the next Settlement, at the Expiration of Three Years, the Native Collector or Tehsildar reported to his European Superior that the Person with whom the first Settlement had been made was only a Farmer, and that that would be found to be the Case by reference to the Persian Books which he had in his Office. In too many Instances this Report was acted upon at once, and the Person then recommended by the Tehsildar as being the real Proprietor (who was always a Man with a Mohamedan Name) was immediately recorded as Proprietor in the Collector's Books, and received a Lease for the next Three Years. This Person was almost invariably a Relation of the Tehsildar; very often, however, he was a mere Nonentity-a Man of Straw, no such Person existing; and in every Instance the Tehsildar himself took immediate Possession of the Lands, whatever the Name was that might have been recorded. Succeeding so well in the Second Triennial Settlement, upon the Third Settlement it was carried to a greater Extent. The same Species of Fraud was repeated, with the Addition of fraudulent Sales; Sales for alleged Arrears which really were not due, which the Tehsildar had himself collected, and which he falsely reported to be due. In those Sales the Purchases were effected by some Person, a Servant of the Tehsildar, sometimes in the Servant's own Name, and sometimes in a mere imaginary fictitious Name. With a view to enabling the Tehsildar himself to take Possession of the Lands, they then executed a Number of Deeds of Sale. The Persons recorded in the first Instance, in whose Favour that Fraud was originally perpetrated, executed a Deed of Sale to another, and he to a Third Person, 'till at last the Tehsildar resigned his Office and took Possession of the Lands in his own Name.
Could this have happened without the Connivance or Neglect of the Collector?
I am afraid it could not have happened without some degree of Neglect; but it is at the same Time to be observed, that, at that early Period, the People were probably reluctant to approach the European Officer, whose Character his Native Subordinates designedly represented to them in the most terrifying and repulsive Colours.
What Measures were taken to remedy this, when discovered.
The Evil stopped in 1813, when Mr. Newnham was appointed Collector of the District. He did all that was in his Power to redress the Parties that had been injured; but his Superiors in the Board of Commissioners of those Provinces did not conceive themselves warranted in ejecting any Man who was in Possession, and the Parties ejected fraudulently in the previous Years were all referred to the Civil Courts for Redress. The Board of Commissioners, in 1813, considered themselves incompetent to eject any Men whom they found in Possession; and so, without entering into the Merits of their Tenure, concluded the next Settlement with them.
Did those Cases come before you in your Judicial Capacity?
They did afterwards.
Were you authorized to do Justice?
In the Beginning of 1817 I arrived in Cawnpoor. I think one of the very first Cases I had before me, as Civil Judge, was a Suit on the Part of a Zemindar against a Tehsildar, or rather a Man who had been formerly a Tehsildar. The Case appeared to me perfectly simple, and on investigating it, I decided in favour of the Plaintiff. My Attention was attracted at the Time, by perceiving the Sensation the Decision made in the Court; and this led me to inquire farther, and I found that there were a great many similar Cases, which had been instituted previously in the Court, in consequence of the Parties aggrieved having been referred to a Judicial Authority for Redress. Most of the Plaintiffs had been nonsuited, on what appeared to me to be very insufficient Grounds, viz. that all the Relations had not prosecuted; whereas the Ramifications of a Hindoo Family are so numerous, that it is perfectly impossible that all the Relations could prosecute on any one Case of the kind. Shortly after I had Occasion to make a Tour of my District for Police Arrangements, and I gathered a great deal of Information on that Tour from the original Zemindars themselves; and on returning to the Station I devoted as much Time as I could spare from other Avocations to the Trial of all Suits of that Nature that I found on the File. The Decisions which I passed in favour of the original Zemindars were almost all reversed immediately by the Court of Appeal at Bareilly. The unsuccessful Suitors then applied to the Sudder in Calcutta, by special Appeal; and some of them, I think, travelled Twice up and down all the way to Calcutta and back again, in hopes of obtaining a Revision. As it appeared to me that there was little Hope of their obtaining adequate Redress in the Judicial Department, I, in the Year 1818, first of all reported a Case to Government directly. In that Year no Notice was taken of that Report, so well as I remember; but the Evil still going on, I, in the Year 1820, again reported it to Government, when it was taken into serious Consideration, and the Regulation of 1821 was in consequence passed, and a special Commission appointed to investigate into those Grievances.
Was the Report made by you directly to Government?
Yes. I accompanied my Report with Translations of the Decisions which had been passed in the Cases; I selected Three or Four, as best shewing the Extent and Nature of the Evil which existed.
Did you say the Sudder at Calcutta did not decide upon the Appeal of the Bareilly Court?
They did not in the first Instance. They were special Appeals, which the Sudder were not bound to receive without some special Ground alleged for their Reception; and in the first Cases that went down the special Appeals were all rejected. Some Appeals were afterwards admitted.
Subsequently a Commission was appointed?
Yes, in 1821. At that very Time there were several Cases pending in the Sudder Court, which probably would have been redressed there, but they were removed to the Commission. The Proceedings were taken from the Sudder Court, and sent to the Commission.
You were not in the Commission?
No, I was not.
Who was at the Head of the Commission?
Mr. Wilberforce Bird; Mr. Hugh Christian was the other Member. I believe there was afterwards a Third, but that was after I left Cawnpoor.
Do you know whether those Oppressions and Frauds you have stated have been suppressed since the Commission has been appointed?
I have every Reason to believe that the most perfect Redress has been given; but as I have not been there since, and left that Part of the Country while the Commission was still sitting, I cannot speak from my own Knowledge.
How long had they been sitting when you left?
I left in September 1823.
They had been sitting more than a Year when you left?
There was also a Sudder Special Commission in Calcutta, was there not?
Yes; to which Appeals could be presented from the Mofussil Commission.
Do you know what Distance those Persons have to travel, from Cawnpoor to Calcutta?
About Six hundred Miles; and many of them, to my Knowledge, went down Twice.
What were the Grounds on which the Decisions were reversed at Bareilly?
It would be difficult to state the Grounds. Where the Fraud had been practised by means of public Sale for alleged Arrears, the only Ground for reversing the Decisions that I can remember was that nothing could reverse a Sale; that it was an irreversible Measure; that the Government's Faith was pledged for it, and therefore it could not be reversed; that there were certain Provisions in the Revenue Regulations whereby at the Time of the Sale the Parties aggrieved by it might have obtained Redress in that Department, and consequently that after the Lapse of Years they could not be permitted to question the Sale by means of a Suit in Court.
What was the Reason that the Appeals were rejected at Culcutta?
As not affording any sufficient Ground for a special Appeal. There was at that Time a particular Regulation in force as to special Appeals, specifying the Circumstances under which such Appeals could be received. They could not be received on the general Merits of the Case. It was required that there should be an Allegation of some Legal Flaw or Omission in the first Decision, and not merely a Statement of the Grounds upon which it was considered to be unjust.
Some of the Appeals sent to Calcutta, you state, were rejected, and some afterwards entertained?
Was that in consequence of some new Regulation made on the Subject?
I rather think that the first Report I sent to Calcutta to Government was by Government sent to the Sudder, and I am inclined to think the Appeals were afterwards received, in consequence in some degree of that Report; but I cannot speak positively. I remember, however, that in One or Two Cases the Board of Commissioners in the Upper Provinces directed the Superintendent of Lawsuits in Calcutta to present Petitions on the Part of Government to the Sudder Court, praying that the Decisions passed by the Court of Appeal at Bareilly might be revised. These Applications were, I believe, in Two or Three Instances successful.
What was the Result of those Appeals that were entertained and inquired into?
I remember one Decision being passed in favour of the original Zemindar; I cannot remember more. There was not Time for much more, because the Special Commission was appointed so soon after, that the Cases pending before the Sudder were removed to the Jurisdiction of the Special Commission.
If they had decided in that Way, what Reason would there have been for supposing these could not be redressed in the Common Courts of Law?
Those Decisions were after my Special Report to Government, and the Redress thus afforded would have been too tardy for so extensive an Injury, inflicted on the People by the Officers of Government in the most simple and summary Manner.
What was the Expence the Parties might have been put to who went through the several Courts, and appealed at last to Calcutta?
They might probably bear a Proportion to the Law Expences in other Parts of the World; I think they have been calculated at Thirteen per Cent. upon the whole Property litigated.
Did they appear by themselves or their Agents?
They could appear by their Agents, but in general they preferred going down themselves.
Was not the Expence of that great?
The Expence was not so great an Inconvenience as the Absence from Home. The Expence might have been considerable, but the Natives travel very cheap.
What is the Expence of a common Suit in a Civil Case, brought before the Civil Judge in the District, and decided by him?
The exact Rate per Cent. I cannot precisely state from Memory; but I think about Thirteen per Cent. has been the calculated average Rate of Expence; but I cannot from Memory state it at this Moment.
Does that include the Expence of the Agents; the Vackeels and Persons he employs?
Every Expence of both Parties is included.
You spoke of the Police in the Lower Provinces where you were; what is the latest Period to which you can speak to the State of the Police?
Up to the Year 1823, when my Judicial Services ceased.
Where were you at that Time?
What was the State of the Police at that Time?
I was Magistrate of the District. I am inclined to believe, from the Opinions expressed by my Superiors, that they were satisfied with it.
Did Gang-robbery prevail?
Gang-robbery did exist; but it was an Offence which was committed, not by People of the District, but by Gangs that came from the King of Oudè's Territory. They were almost all Inhabitants in the Jungle Forest to the North of Oudè.
Were other Offences frequent?
They were certainly frequent, though yearly diminishing. The other great Offence was Thuggee, or Murders by professional Murderers on the Highways; a singular Offence, peculiar to Upper India.
Did it prevail to any Extent?
It prevailed, I think, to the Extent of about Ten in the Year, which was the Average when I left the District. There had been Forty of these Cases during a single Year before.
Can you speak at all to the comparative Degree in which those Offences prevailed, at any distant Period before that, and at that Time?
The exact Number I cannot remember, but the Impression upon my Mind is, that there was a considerable Diminution in the Number of the Gang-robberies. Two or Three a Year was, to the best of my Recollection, the Average at the Time I left; and of the Thuggee a very considerable Diminution had taken place, greatly in consequence of Measures which I had myself carried into Effect, in concert with the neighbouring Magistrates. In revising the Cases sent to Government in 1826, by the Commissioner on the Nerbudda, I found that whole Gangs of Thugs had been apprehended in his Jurisdiction, who were Natives of Cawnpoor and the adjacent Districts, whence they had been induced to remove, in the Hope of finding more Facility of committing their Depredations in a recently acquired Territory, than in one which had been long under British Rule.
The District was under a Zemindarry Settlement, was not it?
Had the Zemindar any thing to do with the Police?
No great degree of direct Power, but a great deal of indirect Influence.
How many Zillahs were under you?
Only One; the Zillah of Cawnpoor, which I had Charge of.
How many Villages are there in the District?
I think about 2,000.
What is the Number of Police Officers under the present Establishment?
I should think altogether from 250 to 300; perhaps 300.
Those divided among 2,000 Villages?
Yes; I refer to the stipendiary Officers of Government.
Were there any other Persons existing in the Village but those?
Every Village has its Watchman; it is Part of the constituted Establishment of a Hindoo Village. The Watchman is likewise a kind of Messenger to the Village.
Does he assist in the general Police of the Country?
He may be made to assist considerably, under proper Management; but sometimes he was the most formidable Person to be apprehended in other Villages. He was often in league with Thieves of other Villages, if he did not commit Theft in his own.
Except with respect to his own Village, he was a professed Robber?
He was too often so, or rather a Thief; but he might be made very useful, indeed.
Was any Attempt made by the Judge to convert them into useful Officers?
I think it greatly depended on the Management of the Landed Proprietors. If a Stranger was in the Village, as, for instance, in one of those Villages where the original Owners had been ejected, and Strangers had obtained Possession, I think the Village Watchmen hardly ever were of any Use; but where the original Land Owners were left in Possession, and allowed to retain a certain degree of Authority over the Village Watchmen, who were Men of the lowest Caste, I found that their Services were of great Use.
Have you observed that the good Order of the Country was much better preserved where the old Possessors of the Soil remained, than where new ones were introduced?
I should certainly think so; and I can mention Two Instances which afford a remarkable Proof of it. There were Two Pergunnahs [certain Divisions of the District] in which no Stranger had intruded at all, by Accident, in some degree, I think When I left the District, I had a great Number of Civil Suits depending, of which not One originated in one of those Divisions, and only One or Two in the other; and, to the best of my Recollection, the Police in those Two Divisions was about the very best in the whole District.
What is the Pay of the Tehsildar?
It varied very much. At the Time those Frauds were practised, I know that they had very handsome Allowances; I think Ten per Cent. upon the Collections. At present it is much less.
What is the Population of those 2,000 Villages to which you refer?
I cannot speak with Confidence to that, but I have generally heard the whole District calculated as containing nearly a Million.
Was the Population almost entirely Hindoo?
Did Europeans resort at all to Cawnpoor, who were not in the Service of the Company?
A great many.
Under Licences as Commercial Agents?
Yes; several Tradesmen, and some as Indigo Planters.
Were those under Licences from the Company?
Yes; there were also One or Two Foreigners-French.
Do you know on what Conditions those Licences were granted?
The usual Conditions prescribed by the last Act of Parliament. They obtained a Licence in Calcutta, which they brought with them. There was no other Condition, except that of not being permitted to purchase Land.
Did they require a Licence also from the local Government?
They always received the Licence from the Secretary of Government.
Are those Licences to go to any particular District, or a general Licence to go beyond the Limits of Calcutta?
The Licence they received in Fort William is to go to a particular Place; and if they wished to remove, they must apply for another, although that is constantly dispensed with in Practice; and they do move occasionally without attending to that Formality, which is not very rigidly enforced.
Are they under any Superintendence or Regulation?
No; none but those prescribed by the Act of Parliament.
Have you known Instances of those Licences being revoked?
I do not remember One in that Part of the Country; indeed I do not remember One in my own Experience.
Was the Number of British Commercial Agents resorting to those Provinces increasing?
There was not any great Increase in my own Experience; during the Time I was there, there was no remarkable Increase certainly.
Do you know how the Upper Provinces are supplied with Salt?
A good Quantity comes from the Western Part of India; it is called Bulumba Salt, I think; and it is also brought from Bengal; but I cannot speak with much Precision to this Point.
Do you know under what Regulations the Salt is manufactured which does not come from Calcutta?
I am not aware; there was none manufactured in the immediate Vicinity of the District I was in, and I do not recollect having my Attention called to the Subject particularly.
Were the Appeals from the Court at Cawnpoor to Calcutta of frequent Occurrence?
There was no direct Appeal to Calcutta; the Appeals from Bareilly were frequent.
Were the People deterred by the Idea of Expence?
Not the Village Zemindars; they are most persevering in the Pursuit of their Object, and they will not be deterred by any Consideration from attempting to accomplish it.
Is it your Opinion that the Distance of the Upper Provinces from the Presidency materially interferes with the Course of Justice and of Government?
I think it does, to some Degree; to a considerable Degree. I should think that the Appointment of a Court of final Jurisdiction in the Upper Provinces would be a great Benefit to the Country.
You are aware of the System of Appeal which exists in India from the lowest Court to the highest?
Perfectly, as it existed in 1823.
Do you think that is one of the Circumstances which leads much to the Prevalence of Litigation in India?
I think there is an erroneous Opinion current, that a Series of consecutive Appeals is regularly allowed. There is but One regular Appeal allowed; any second Appeal must be on special Grounds. The Parties have no Right to demand that a second Appeal shall be received, consequently I cannot see how those second Appeals can lead to excessive Litigation. It is left to the Court applied to to receive or reject such Application as it may think right.
Is not Indigo cultivated to a very considerable Extent in the Province of Bahar?
To a very great Extent in the Districts of North Bahar.
The Soil and Climate of Tirhoot is particularly favourable to that Cultivation, is it not?
Do you conceive that that Cultivation has been very beneficial to the Interests of the Inhabitants within the District?
Decidedly so; it is impossible to look at the District without being struck with its high State of Cultivation, and the Quantity of Forest Land which has been brought under the Plough; which would not have been, I conceive, but for the Funds received from the Indigo Planters, who raised Indigo on the Ground which had been previously given up to Corn.
Do you think that has been favourable both to the Increase of Wealth and the Increase of Civilization among the Natives?
To the Increase of Wealth, unquestionably. With regard to the Civilization of the Natives, I cannot speak with Confidence, as I have never been in that District since 1814, and never resided in it sufficiently to become intimately acquainted with the Natives; but most certainly it has contributed to the Wealth of the Country.
Have you had any Opportunity of knowing whether the general Habits of the People have been improved by that Increase of Wealth?
I have not had any Opportunity of forming any Opinion upon it. I am speaking of the District of Bahar.
Are you aware whether the Collection of the Revenue has been very much facilitated by the Cultivation of Indigo?
I should think, from a Circumstance which I recollect, that it has. I recollect once, in the Year 1814, I think, being out on a Hunting Party with some of the Planters of Indigo, when a Native came up to apply for the Sum of 30.000 Rupees, if I remember right, which he wanted to borrow to pay the Collector for Sums which were due to Government. The Transaction was terminated in the Tents. The Native received an Order for the Money, and gave a Promise to cultivate Indigo on a certain Portion of Ground, and with this Money he was, I have understood, enabled to pay off the Arrears due to Government. I infer from that Circumstance that the Commercial Intercourse between the Planters and the Natives does in some degree facilitate the Realization of the Revenue of the District, as might be expected also from the Quantity of Money by the former brought into Circulation.
Would not such a Circumstance tend to diminish Fraud and other Habits of a vicious Nature to which the Inhabitants are peculiarly prone?
I certainly think any well-regulated Intercourse with Europeans must have the greatest Tendency to produce that Result.
And also an Increase of Wealth?
Yes; but it must be with respectable Europeans, otherwise I think it will have the Effect of deteriorating rather than advancing the Natives.
Do you mean that it should be inferred from that that the general Habits of Europeans who are settled there are of an unfavourable Description?
Certainly not, generally; but I do think that Europeans of the lower Order are sometimes apt to lose all that is good in the European Character, and to acquire all that is bad in the Native Character, in India.
What do you mean by the lower Order?
I mean Men who have not the Education, Feelings and Manners of Gentlemen.
Do you mean to include in that Number Persons who have found their Way to India without a Licence from The East India Company?
Yes, and some who have had a Licence; for a Licence is no certain Guarantee of Respectability.
Do you know the Number of European Settlers now established at the Province of Bahar?
I cannot speak with certainty to that Point; I know the Number in Tirhoot alone was about Forty.
Are you aware of any Inconveniences which have resulted from the Cultivation of Indigo?
None in that Quarter, certainly; I never heard of any worth mentioning. Of course some little Inconveniences occasionally might arise; but none of consequence.
Is Sugar grown to a great Extent in that District?
To a great Extent.
Is Machinery used in that Cultivation?
It has, I believe, been tried. I have been informed that the West Indian Machinery was introduced by a Gentleman in that District, and that it was found that it did not extract so much from the Cane as the common simple Machinery of the Natives; and I believe the Gentleman who established it was a very considerable Loser. His Loss, certainly, was ascribable to the Rate of Duty leviable in Europe upon East Indian Sugar; because he made it for the Use of the Commissariat, for the Manufacture of Rum; and I have been told that it was a decided Failure.
Did you hear in what respect the West Indian Machinery was less effective than the Native Machinery?
No, I am not competent to answer that; I do not understand Machinery; I merely was told that such as I have stated was the Result.
Are you aware of the Machinery which is used in the West India Islands having been introduced in any other Part of India?
I never heard of any other Instance but this one.
Do you conceive that the Cultivation of Sugar in Bahar is not susceptible of Improvement?
Of its Improvement I am not competent to speak, as I have not been in those Provinces since 1814; but I should suppose it would keep pace with other Cultivations.
There is very little Machinery required for the Cultivation and the Preparation of Indigo, is there?
Not much Machinery, probably; but expensive Establishments are required. They are on a very large Scale in the District of Tirhoot. The Vats are all of Brickwork, and so are the Storehouses; and as they manufacture at Home in that District, their Establishments are on a very large and expensive Scale.
Are a high Degree of Skill and Ingenuity required for the Construction of that Machinery?
No, certainly not; indeed there is nothing that could properly come under the Designation of Machinery. It is a large Establishment of Vats and Storehouses and Drying Houses; but there is nothing that I should suppose properly could be designated as Machinery required in the Manufacture.
It consists of a Species of Labour easily supplied by the Natives themselves?
Could the Cultivation of Indigo be easily increased in Bahar, if additional Licence were given by the Company?
Through Bahar I should doubt whether it could be greatly, most especially in Tirhoot; but I would not be understood to speak conclusively upon the Point, not having been there for many Years.
Do you know any thing of the Cultivation of Silk?
Or of Cotton?
Cotton, I know, is cultivated to a certain Extent in the Upper Provinces of India, but I am not minutely acquainted with it. The Plant is to be seen in most Villages.
Does that depend upon the Nature of the Soil?
Yes, of course; all the Crops in India depend upon that to a great degree.
You spoke of professional Murderers; is the revengeful Feeling that leads to Assassination very prevalent among the Natives?
No, certainly not; those professional Murderers murder for Gain alone.
Do they murder for what they can obtain from the Individual?
Yes; I never met with an Instance of a hired Assassin in India.
Does Slavery exist in the District of Cawnpoor?
Domestic Slavery exists; but of an Agricultural Slave I do not recollect a single Instance. When I speak of Domestic Slavery, I mean that Status which I must call Slavery for want of any more accurate Designation. It does not, however, resemble that which is understood in Europe to be Slavery: it is the mildest Species of Servitude.
Have the goodness to describe the Nature of that?
The Domestic Slaves are certain Persons purchased in Times of Scarcity; Children purchased from their Parents; they grow up in the Family, and are almost entirely employed in Domestic Offices in the House.
Are they liable to be resold?
No, certainly not; I never remember an Instance of an avowed Sale of Slaves. I have known Attempts made to kidnap Children, and send them over to Lucknow; but then that was an illegal Act, done clandestinely, as any other illegal Act would be.
Are those Domestic Slaves capable of possessing Property?
I should say not, as far as my own Recollection goes. I never remember an Instance being brought forward in which it was tried; for they are almost always so contented with remaining in the House of their Masters, on whom they always have Claims for Support, that I cannot remember a single Instance of a Slave claiming Property as independent of his Master. I do not think that, by the Mohamedan Law, they would be able to hold Property.
Did any Cases of Enfranchisement come within your Knowledge?
I have known Persons, who have sold their Children in Times of Scarcity, come to redeem them; paying back the Purchase, and requiring to have them back. I do not think that they have, by the Mohamedan Law, a legal Claim to have them back; but I always continued to give the Children back, when the Claim was made to me.
That was a personal Act of your own, you having had Influence to effect it?
Yes; I found that the most easy Way to effect it.
Is Slavery recognized by the Hindoo Law?
Is there a Power of Redemption under that Law?
I am not aware of it; but there is a certain Species of Slavery in South Bahar, where a Man mortgages his Labour for a certain Sum of Money; and this Species of Slavery I found afterwards in Arracan and Ava. It is for his Life, or until he shall pay the Sum, that he is obliged to labour for the Person who lends him the Money; and if he can repay the Sum he emancipates himself.
Have their Masters any Power of Punishment?
None recognized by our Laws. Whatever may be the Provision of the Mohamedan or Hindoo Codes to that Effect, it is a dead Letter; for we would not recognize it. The Master doubtless may sometimes inflict domestic Punishment, but if he does, the Slave rarely thinks of complaining of it. Were he to do so, his Complaint would be received.
Did you, under the Regulations under which you acted, feel justified in punishing the Master if he did inflict personal Correction?
Has there been any Alteration of late in those Regulations?
I am not aware at all of the Regulations since 1823, as I have been employed in another Department. I am not aware of any particular Modification, excepting more severe Regulations regarding the Exportation and Importation of Slaves. I recollect a severe Enactment being passed not very long ago upon that Subject.
What Act do you allude to?
A Law of the Bengal Government. I cannot speak very positively, but I think there was a Law increasing the Punishment in Cases of Exportation of Slaves, of the Persons convicted of that Offence.
Applicable only to that Government, of course?
Just so; but I cannot speak very positively to that. I am not sure whether I am speaking of a Letter I have received, or a printed Regulation.
Describe what you mean by Exportation and Importation of Slaves?
Sending Slaves to Foreign States, to Lucknow and to the Mahratta States, across the Jumna.
It is all Land Exportation?
There are Regulations, I believe, at Fort William, regarding the Exportation and Importation by Sea; but I cannot speak positively to those.
Has it come to your Knowledge that a considerable Importation of Slaves has been made by the Arabs?
No; I have never been in a Situation to acquire Information upon that Subject.
Are the Slaves employed in a severer Species of Labour than the other Natives?
Certainly not; quite the reverse. In Upper India they are employed in Domestic Labour entirely, and I suppose it is the very mildest of all Species of Servitude in the Country.
Do you think so mild a Species of Servitude holds out any strong Inducement to seek Enfranchisement?
No; I am inclined to think that if Enfranchisement were bestowed To-morrow on all Slaves in that Part of the Country, it would be a very unacceptable Boon; but in regard to those who have mortgaged their Labour, they probably would be glad to be emancipated on the best Terms.
What becomes of the Slaves in case of a Master becoming insolvent; failing to pay the Government Collection?
I think they would pass to his Relations. I do not remember a single Instance of an Application for a Sale of Slaves in such a Case in Upper India. I think they would apply to his nearest Relation to support them, for they conceive they have their Claim for Support on the Master and his Family.
Has it come to your Knowledge, where the Property has been advertised for Sale by the Company, that Slaves have also been sold with the Property, or separated from it?
I should certainly suppose they would be separated from it, except in Southern Bahar, where the Agriculture is carried on by them; there it is possible that if that Property were sold the Slaves would pass with it; but I do not remember an Instance of a Transfer of the sort.
Has it not come to your Knowledge that any Slaves have been sold?
It has, certainly, in Ramgur, in South Bahar, where they would probably pass with the Property, because there they are Agricultural Slaves.
Where Domestic Slavery alone exists, you think they would not?
In Domestic Slavery I should think they never would pass.
Then what would become of them?
They would become like other Labourers, I should apprehend.
Would they be emancipated by the Death of the Person to whom they were Slaves?
By the mere Absence of a Person having Authority over them, they would fall into the common Mass of the People. I do not think any legal Form would be necessary to transfer them from one State to the other.
What becomes of the Children born of those Parents who are Slaves?
They are still regarded as Slaves, but not in the Case of Agricultural Slaves, in which the Transaction originates in a Species of Mortgage, that being a mere Personal Obligation.
When you speak of Agricultural Slaves, you speak of those who have mortgaged their Labour; that applying to the District of Ramgur?
You cannot speak positively to what becomes of Domestic Slaves in case the Owner dies or becomes insolvent, or as to whether he has a Right to transfer them?
If he died without Heirs, I should think they would be emancipated by that Circumstance; if there were any Heirs, I think they would pass to them; but otherwise I should say they would become free, from the Absence of any Person to exercise a Claim over them.
All Property is divided among the Children in equal Proportion, is it not?
Certainly not all; that would be too general an Expression: it would require to define the Nature of Landed Property. Personal Property is very commonly divided in that Way, but not Real Property.
Are Slaves Personal Property?
Yes, I conceive that I should regard them as such; and it is very common for them to be divided, so many passing to one and so many to another Member of a Family.
Is the Will of the Slaves consulted in such an Arrangement?
I conceive it is, repeatedly.
Is it necessarily so?
I do not know that it is absolutely necessary, but I should conceive it was constantly considered, from the very few Cases or rather the Absence of any Cases of Complaint arising out of such Transactions, to the best of my Recollection.
Is the Master of the Family entitled to sell the Children of those Domestic Slaves?
Certainly not; he cannot sell them any more than he could sell the original Slave. I have never known an Instance of a Domestic Slave being sold. I think that it would be reckoned highly disreputable, independently of all legal Considerations. It is regarded, I conceive, as a Point of Honour to maintain the Slaves in the Family; and that it would be reckoned disreputable in a Native of any Pretension to Character to sell his Slaves.
Does the Law recognize the Purchase of them as Children?
Would it not recognize the Sale of that which had been bought?
No, I do not think it would; for the Purchasers incur the Obligation of educating and bringing up the Children, in return for which they get their Services.
By the Mohamedan Law, has the Master of the Family any Right to sell Slaves?
I cannot answer distinctly as to the Provision of the Mohamedan Law; but certainly it is not recognized in our Code of Laws in the Bengal Presidency. I do not remember a single Instance of it.
Is it permitted by the Hindoo Law?
I really cannot answer positively; I think not. I have never had Occasion to refer to either the Mohamedan Law or the Hindoo Law, but guided myself by the printed Laws of the Government.
Is it expressly held out by the printed Laws of the Government?
I do not remember an express prohibitory Provision in the printed Laws to that Effect.
Does the Code of Regulations at all recognize the Existence of Slavery; is there any express Mention of the State?
Yes; it is mentioned and recognized, certainly, in the very Regulations which prohibit the Exportation and Importation of Slaves.
You state that the Property is not necessarily divided between the Children; will you state whether there is any Right of willing Property away?
The Right exists, unquestionably; but Wills are very seldom resorted to by the Natives. I believe that they very commonly execute a Deed of Gift, and sometimes very shortly before their Death, making over the Property to the Person whom they intend as the Heir; and generally the Testator or Donor remains in Possession 'till his Death, and the Deed lies dormant until that Period. It is virtually a Will, though not formally so.
The common Practice, where such a Deed has not been executed, is an equal Division among the Children, is it not?
According to the particular Provisions of the Mohamedan or Hindoo Law; according as the Parties are of one Persuasion or the other; there is a slight Difference in their Provisions in that respect.
By the Mohamedan Law Females do not inherit, do they?
They do in some Cases inherit. The Widow, for instance, is entitled to One Third, where there is no Provision to the contrary; but it is necessary always to distinguish between Real and Personal, because Real Property requires a separate Explanation.
Have the goodness to state the Distinction?
The Landed Property in Upper India may be said, in my Opinion, to belong to the Community of the Village. These Village Communities are, in the District of Cawnpoor, mostly headed by Families of the Rajepoot Caste. One Man is often the senior and managing Owner of the Village, though in many Cases he has several recorded Partners and Colleagues. These Individuals obtain, either by Descent or sometimes by their personal Influence among those of their own Caste, a Superiority in the Village, and the Management of its Affairs. Those of their Family and Caste have certain Privileges, and certain Portions of the Produce; and then again the other Lands are let out to Men sometimes in the same Village, sometimes in the neighbouring Village; while certain Portions, and certain Rights, are possessed by the different Craftsmen or Artizans; such as the Schoolmaster, the Washerman, the Watchman, the Carpenter, the Blacksmith, who have each a Right to a certain Share in the Produce of the Soil. A remarkable Instance I can mention of the Manner in which the Natives in that Part of India regard Property of this kind, which occurred, I think, about the Year 1818, or it may be in 1820. A Village had some Years before been put up to Sale, for a Balance of 700 Rupees due to the Government, and as no Purchaser appeared, it was bought in by the Government for a nominal Price; One Rupee, I think. The People then subscribed together; almost the whole Village subscribed in small Sums, as low as Two or Three Rupees, to make up this Sum of 700 Rupees; and they went or sent their Agent to the Collector's Office to pay this Money, and get the Name of the managing Owner replaced in his Records. The Man was accordingly reinstated in his Office as Manager of the Village, and in about a Year afterwards sold the Estate to a Gentleman of the Name of Maxwell, born in India, and consequently enabled by Law to hold Land, the Son of an European, who had been settled in that Part of the Country. The Men who had subscribed for the Redemption of the Estate immediately brought a Suit to cancel the Deed of Sale to Mr. Maxwell, on the Ground that they had contributed each his Quota to reinstate the managing Owner in the Situation which he had forfeited by not paying the Sum due to Government.
Do you know what Sum Mr. Maxwell gave for it?
I think he gave about 2.000 Rupees for it.
What was the Result of the Suit?
I decided the Case in favour of the Villagers, cancelling the Sale. It was immediately appealed to the Court of Bareilly. In this Interim a Robbery happened in the Confines of this Village, a considerable Highway Robbery committed by a Men on Horseback. The leading Person among the Villagers immediately mounted his Horse and raised the Country, and succeeded in effecting the Apprehension of the Robbers, in consequence of which the Superior Court in Calcutta, the Nizamat Adawlut, in deciding on the Case, ordered a very handsome Reward to be given to this Individual. Before the Orders to this Effect were received from Calcutta, the final Decision in favour of the Villagers was reversed at Bareilly, and an Order was sent to me to restore Possession to Mr. Maxwell, which I of course was obliged to comply with. The very Man then upon whom the Superior Criminal Court in Calcutta had ordered the Reward to be conferred, went at Noon-day into the House of the Man who had sold the Village to Mr. Maxwell, dragged him out into the Street, and cut his Head off, and then absconded across the Ganges, and, I suppose, went to join the Robbers in the Country of Oudè.
What became ultimately of the Estate?
At the Time when I left the District, Mr. Maxwell was in Possession; but I think I heard afterwards, that the Decision was reversed by a Decree of the Sudder Court in Calcutta, and that the Villagers recovered Possession.
What were the Grounds on which the Decision was reversed?
That the Managing Owner had full Power to do what he thought fit with the Village; that he was Proprietor, and had Power to sell or do what he liked with the Property; whereas I regarded him as the mere Representative of the Community.
So the Sudder Court at Calcutta appear to have regarded him?
Yes, if that Decision was passed; but I cannot speak positively to it.
If that Decision, which reversed yours, is correct, there is a Power on the Part of the Head of the Village to dispose of it as his Property?
Unquestionably, if that Decision was correct, it is so; but I should question its Correctness, because I think it was reversed by the Supreme Tribunal in Calcutta.
Do you recollect in what Character the Sum of Money was voted to the Person who had done this Service to the Village?
I think it was not a Sum of Money, but a Sword, or something of that kind, as an honorary Reward to this Man, who had been active in taking the Robbers.
Is the Opium grown in the Bahar District of a good Quality?
I believe it is very good, indeed; I believe the very best in India; I have always understood so when I was there.
Did you hear frequent Complaints of its being deteriorated?
I have heard such Complaints, but I am not at all acquainted with the Process of its Manufacture; and I cannot say whether they were well-grounded or not.
Is it not supplied to the Company at a fixed Price?
It is upon Advances of Money; they advance Money to the Cultivators.
Is that Price very low, as compared with what it sold for at Calcutta?
I believe it is, and still lower in comparison to what it was sold for secretly to the Smugglers. I think the Difference is as great as between Three Rupees and Nineteen or Twenty for the Sier.
Do you not think that would present a strong Motive to Cultivators to deteriorate the Quality of it, their being obliged to supply it at so low a Price?
I do not see that that applies so much to Deterioration as to the Encouragement it presents to Smuggling; but I believe, that if it were not for what they hoped to gain by the Smuggling, they very often would not accept the Engagements for its Cultivation at the Rates at which it is supplied to the Company.
Is not the Price at which they supply the Government a full remunerating Price for the Labour bestowed upon the Land?
I am very incompetent to give an Opinion upon that Point; but I am inclined to think it is not, from the very high Rent the Opium Lands pay; they pay the very highest Rent of any Land.
Do you consider it an exhausting Crop?
I am not sufficiently well acquainted with Agricultural Subjects to speak to that; I do not think it is, for it is repeated on the same Soil Year after Year.
Do you know whether it can be grown to Advantage on Soils of an inferior Quality?
Certainly I should think not; for, as far as I recollect, the Opium is always cultivated on the very finest Soils, and the very highest Rent is paid for the Opium Lands.
Were not you a Commissioner at Arracan?
What was the Condition of that Province?
When we entered it, nothing could be more wretched.
How long were you there?
The Province of Arracan itself I entered with General Morrison's Army in January 1825; I left it for Rangoon, in October of that Year.
Was that Wretchedness the Effect of the War, or the Condition of the People?
Partly the Effect of the War, from the great Demand which had been made by the Burmese Authorities on the Resources of the Country during the Period which had passed from the Commencement of Hostilities; but in a great measure from the general Tyranny of the Burmese Government.
Were there any Appearances of Improvement while you remained there?
We were necessarily obliged to make very great Demands upon its Resources for the Supply of the Troops. During the Time I was there, there was no Improvement further than an Increase of Confidence. I understand, however, great Improvement has since taken place; but it was impossible, under the Circumstances of our Tenure at that Moment, when the Troops were to be supplied with many Things from the Country, that any great Improvement should take place.
Was the Population great?
The Mugs, the People of the Country who had fled into other States, were returning to their Villages in great Numbers; many kept away under the Apprehension of being obliged to contribute to the Supply of the Army, who would return as soon as that Apprehension abated.
Was the Country a fertile Country?
I conceive that it was.
The Country was under Military Occupation at the Time?
Completely so; that is, I, as Political Agent with the Army, had the entire and absolute Charge of it.
Is the Country near the Coast unhealthy?
Unhealthy in the extreme.
Our Army suffered very much from Sickness there?
Very much indeed.
Have the goodness to state whether the Regulations treating of Offences against the Person, and the Punishments to which they are liable, are the same in Bengal as in Bombay?
I do not believe they are quite the same. I have never read the Bombay Code, and therefore I cannot speak precisely; but I should suppose there must be some slight Differences between them, though generally perhaps the same.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Charles Hyde Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
What Situation did you fill in India?
In the Revenue Department, as Collector.
In what Presidency?
Fort Saint George.
In what Stations were you?
South Arcot, Chingleput, and Vizagapatam in the Northern Circars.
In what Manner was the Revenue of those Districts settled?
In South Arcot Ryotwarry, Mootahdarry in Chingleput, and Zemindarry in Vizagapatam in the Northern Circars.
Did you make any of the Settlements?
The Ryotwarry Settlement in South Arcot.
Did you find any great Difficulty in making that Settlement?
None at all.
That was a Settlement with the Individuals occupying the Land?
Yes, with every Individual occupying the Land in the Parish.
You did not find any great Difficulty in that Arrangement?
None at all.
Was the Revenue easily collected under it?
With great Ease; there was no Trouble in collecting the Land Revenue.
Had you Experience of the Mootahdarry Settlement in Chingleput?
How did that turn out?
The Mootahs fell gradually into the Hands of Government, and the Revenue was settled by the Collector under the Aumany System.
Will you explain what that is?
The Division of the Crops between the Government and the Ryots; this was the Aumany Settlement.
In what Manner divided or arranged? Is it an Annual Assessment o the Occupier?
Yes; a Division of the Crops.
Were the Collections as easily and as well effected under that as under the Ryotwar?
Under that Species of Settlement, what Proportion did you take for the Government?
I think it was about Half and Half.
What Proportion did you generally take under the Ryotwar?
It was a Land Tax.
Under the Aumany Settlement, you took the Produce and sold it?
Yes; that was in Chingleput.
Of that Sale you took Half for the Government?
Yes, according to my Recollection.
Who had the Sale of it?
It was a public Sale, by the public Servants.
Under the Direction of the Collector?
Is it your Opinion that that Mode of Settlement was more or less advantageous to the Cultivator of the Land?
No; very disadvantageous to him; it interfered with the reaping and threshing of the Crops.
You had Experience of the Zemindarry Settlement also?
Yes, in Vizagapatam, situated in the Northern Circars.
How did that Mode of Settlement work?
It laboured under great Disadvantages. The lower Class of the Inhabitants were generally ruined by the Oppressions of the Zemindars. Several of those Zemindarries came under my Management, and I could never realize the standard permanent Revenue at which the Zemindarry had been assessed, in consequence of the Circumstances of the Ryots being so much impoverished.
Were they impoverished by the previous Exactions of the Zemindars?
What Proportion of Produce do you suppose came to the Government under the Zemindarry Settlement?
I have no Idea, but I think Half.
As far as your Experience went, you prefer the Ryotwar?
As advantageous both to the Government and to the Cultivators?
Yes; promoting the Prosperity of the Country.
What Means had the Zemindars of enforcing the Payment from the Ryots that they had stipulated to receive?
Do they frequently have recourse to such Distraint?
Yes; they have always had recourse to Distraint of the Property of the Ryots without any Reference to the Collector, for he (the Collector) is not authorized by the Regulations to interfere with the Zemindars.
How do they generally dispose of the Property so distrained?
By selling it to the Merchants, either by private or public Sale.
Are you acquainted with many Instances of Ryots being obliged to abandon their Grounds in consequence of those Distraints?
No; I could only discover that when the Estates came under my Management for Arrears, as then I had to make a Settlement for the following Year.
Have you ever observed among the Ryots Persons possessing any Capital?
In the Northern Circars the Inhabitants possess very great Capital; many of them are very wealthy.
Many among the Ryots are wealthy?
Do they employ that Capital in the Improvement of Land?
In the Zemindarries?
Does not the Fear of the Zemindar's raising the Rent he requires from them operate to deter them from that Employment of Capital?
Yes, in most Cases.
You think, then, that in a Part of the Country where there was no Zemindarry Settlement, the Capital would be more freely employed in the Cultivation of Land?
Certainly. In South Arcot, in 1823 or 1824, the Revenue increased Two Lacs of Rupees by Increase of Cultivation under the Ryotwar Settlement. Of the Land Revenue there were Twenty Lacs, and of other Sources Ten Lacs. There were 450,000 Inhabitants, and I had to distribute 70,000 Pottahs.
For what Period was the Ryotwar Settlement made in South Arcot?
It is an Annual Settlement, according to the Extent of Cultivation carried on by each Individual.
Are Ryots under those Circumstances obliged to continue to hold the Land they have agreed for, or can they part with it?
They can part with it; there is no Compulsion on them on the Part of Government?
Do they ever underlet it to other Ryots?
Would they be permitted to do so?
The Mootahdars are newly instituted Proprietors of Land?
They are Persons who have bought Estates at public Auctions, and are so distinguished from Zemindars by being called so. Zemindars are People who were there when we took Possession of the Country.
Does a Mootahdar mean a Zemindar, only newly created?
Yes; there is no Difference in his Character.
You stated that you had been employed in making several Ryotwar Settlements; what Time did it take you to complete a Ryotwar Settlement?
About Two Months and a Half, with the Assistance of the subordinate Officers placed under my Authority.
What Police had you in the District in which you were?
The Village Police.
Had you no Government Police?
Yes; there was an Establishment of Police Peons under my Authority.
Of what Number did that consist?
I do not recollect the exact Number of the Establishment, but I think about Five or Six hundred Peons.
Was a great Proportion of the Country in Possession of the Mootahdars you have spoken of?
Yes; Chingleput was mostly under Mootahdars.
The whole Property had changed Hands?
Yes; it is now all under the Government; but it is long since I left Chingleput.
Are the Village Watchmen employed in the Police?
That is an hereditary Office?
Did you make use of the Village Watchmen?
They were the principal Persons employed in the Police.
Do you refer to the Persons who form a Part of the Establishment of every Village?
That is the Talliary.
Were they of much Use to you?
Yes, a great deal.
Were they Persons in whom you placed Confidence?
They were Persons of low Caste, who gave the Information regarding every thing of Strangers coming into the Villages, and reported daily to the head Men of the Village.
They were not employed in taking Offenders or suppressing Offences?
No; the Peons performed that Duty.
What were the prevalent Offences in that District?
Petty Offences and Robberies.
Had you any Gang-robberies?
In the Northern Circars, were there any Gang-robberies?
I had not the Police under me then.
You were not Collector in any Part of the Country where there were Polygars?
Were there any Manufactures in that Part of the Country?
Any Cloth Manufactures?
There were Weavers.
To any considerable Extent?
About 30,000 Weavers.
Do you know what has been the Effect of Importations from England on the Trade of those Weavers?
No, I do not.
Were you on the Bengal Establishment?
No; on the Madras Establishment.
Does Slavery exist in that District?
I made a Report on Slavery in South Arcot.
Have the goodness to state the Conditions under which it exists?
The Slaves generally go with the Land, and they are transferred when the Land is sold.
It is Agricultural Slavery?
Yes; but there are very few; in fact I can scarcely consider them as Slaves, they were so well protected by their Masters. They are never sold; but if the Land is sold, they go along with it.
By Law or by Usage?
Are the Children of Slaves also Slaves?
They are generally so considered.
By Law, are the Children of Slaves ever sold?
No, never, in South Arcot.
Is Enfranchisement common?
Are they capable of possessing Property?
Is their Evidence received in a Court of Justice?
Having never filled any Situation in a Judicial Department, I cannot speak to that.
Have any Cases of Ill-usage come to your Knowledge?
What was the Nature of the Report you made upon that Subject?
I was called upon by Government to report the Number of Slaves, which Report I forwarded to Government; but it is long since I wrote the Report.
Simply the Number?
Yes, simply the Number, the State and Condition of the Slaves.
Can you state the Number?
I should think about 20,000.
What is the Population of the District on which you made your Report?
Of whom about 20,000 are Slaves?
Probably about that Number.
Your Report consisted of the Number of Slaves?
Yes, and their Condition; but it is so long since I wrote the Report, that I do not recollect exactly what I then stated.
How long ago was the Report made?
I should think it is now Ten Years ago.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Tuesday next, One o'Clock.