Affairs of the East India Company
Minutes of evidence: 02 March 1830

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'Affairs of the East India Company: Minutes of evidence: 02 March 1830', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 62: 1830, pp. 931-937. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=16402 Date accessed: 25 July 2014.


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Die Martis, 2 Martii 1830.

[31]

The Lord President in the Chair.

Thomas Gore Lloyd Esquire and James Cosmo Melvill Esquire are called in, and examined as follows:

Is there any Point in your Evidence which you desire to correct?

(Mr. Lloyd.) To the Question which was put to me as to the Proportion of the Territorial Advances in England that had been repaid by Investments from India through China, my Answer was given from an imperfect Document.

What Correction would you desire to make?

I stated in that Evidence that the Sum of £4,268,122 was a Repayment of Territorial Charges paid in England through Investments for China, and that results after deducting the Proceeds of Commercial Exports to India. Considering those Exports as applicable exclusively to the India Trade, then the Total Amount remitted through China, from 1814-15 to 1826-7, in Repayment of Territorial Charges incurred in England, is £10,475,141, and the Amount remitted in Commercial Investments from India is £13,862,909, instead of £20,069,928.

When the Proceeds of the Sale of the Company's Goods exported to India are received there, are they confounded with the Territorial Receipts, and placed in the same Treasury?

Just so.

Therefore, when Drafts are made upon the Territorial Treasury, it is not clear from what Fund those Drafts are paid - whether from the Funds applied for the Repayment of Territorial Charges advanced in England, or from the Commercial Funds belonging to the Company in its Commercial Capacity?

There is no Distinction kept in our Books.

In your first Answer you supposed the Proceeds of Goods sent to India to be invested in India for Remittance through China?

Yes.

In your Answer To-day you have supposed the Proceeds of those Goods to be remitted directly from India?

Just so.

Can you state the Amount of Interest demandable in London under the Terms of that Loan, which gives absolutely to all Proprietors of the Loan, bonâ fide resident in Europe, the Option of receiving their Interest here or in India?

(Mr. Melvill.) £466,945.

Of that Sum what has been actually demanded in England?

£300,000 in the last Year.

Can you state what was demanded in the Three previous Years?

Of that Loan it was much the same.

Can you state what is the Amount of Interest demandable in England during the Pleasure of the Company on each of the other Loans?

On the Loan of 1823 the Total Amount of Interest is £477,568. The Option of receiving this in England or in India is granted only to bonâ fide Residents in Europe. The Sum demanded in England on that Account in the last Year was £125,000. Of the other Loan £450,000 is the Interest, and which is all payable either in England or in India, at the Option of the Holders generally, whether resident in Europe or in India; and the Amount demanded in England on that Account in the last Year was £325,000. A considerable Amount of Debt has been incurred within the Two last Years, which do not come into this Computation.

[32]

Has the Amount demanded in England of the Interest of the Two Loans to which you have last referred increased of late Years?

It has.

Can you state the Amount paid in the Three last Years?

It has increased of course with the Increase of the Debt, which has been progressive in the last Three Years; and independently of that there has been a slight proportionate Increase in the Amount demanded, but not considerable. There is also what is called the Carnatic Debt, which is included in the Debts at Interest. The Holders of the Carnatic Stock have the Option, at their Pleasure, of being paid their Interest either in London or at Madras. The whole Amount of the Interest demandable on the Amount is £97,000 annually, and the Amount demanded has been £94,000.

Is bonâ fide Residence necessary for Option in respect of Carnatic Stock?

It is not.

From what Sums have The East India Company the Power of withdrawing that Option?

From the Five per Cent. Loan of 1823, the Total Amount of the Interest of which is £477,568; and from the subsequent Five per Cent. Loans, the Total Amount of Interest of which, up to the last Account which has been closed, is £450,000.

State at what Rate of Exchange the Interest on that first Loan to which you have referred is paid in this Country?

The Rate for the Five per Cent. Loan of 1823 is 2s. 1d. the Sicca Rupee.

The second?

The Rate for the subsequent Five per Cent. Loans is 2s. the Sicca Rupee.

Will you calculate the Difference between paying the Sum demanded under those Two Loans at 1s. 11d., and 2s. 1d. and 2s.?

At 2s. 1d. it would be about Ten per Cent., and at 2s. it would be about Five per Cent., on the Sums demanded. The Difference would be about £12,000 upon the first of the optional Loans, and about £16,000 upon the other.

Has not the Rate of Exchange risen materially between England and India lately?

There has been a trifling Rise, but not considerable; 1s. 11d. was the last Quotation.

How low had it been?

1s. 10d. in India for Bills on England has been the lowest.

(To Mr. Lloyd.) You have stated the Amount of the Commercial Capital of the Company Abroad and at Home, on the First of May 1828 and the First of May 1827, at £21,731,869; it appears by a Note to No. 25 of the printed Papers, that "this Balance is subject to Reduction by the Amount of Advances made in India from the Territorial Branch to the Commercial Branch in the Indian official Year 1827-8. The Documents whereby the Amount of those Advances is to be ascertained have not been yet received from India, but it is estimated they amount to £3,124,900, which will leave a Balance due to the Company of £5,017,203, including Interest." Will you state why you do not deduct that Sum of £3,124,900 from the Total of the Commercial Assets which you stated as £21,731,869?

The Question has reference to the Debt due by the Territory to Commerce, which is stated in that Account at £8,142,103. If the Territory, in the Period stated in the Note to the Account, should have repaid that £3,124,900, and thereby reduced the Debt to £5,017,203, Assets would appear in that Account to counterbalance it. If the Debt due by Territory to Commerce is so much less, our other Assets would be increased.

State in what Manner?

Either by Cash or Goods received by Investments, or Goods in the Export Warehouses in India, or afloat homewards.

That is by the actual Receipt in England of the Sum which you understand to have been applied to the Payment of Territorial Advances?

Or an Issue to the Commercial Branch in India.

[33]

At what Period was the Territorial Branch separated from the Commercial Branch?

(Mr. Melvill.) In the Year 1814, under the Act of 1813.

Had you any List of Heads of what was given to the Territorial Branch, and what was given to the Commercial Branch?

A Plan was prepared under the Provisions of the Act by the Court of Directors, which Plan classed the several Descriptions of Expenditure under the Heads of Territorial and Commercial; and, in obedience to that Act, the Plan so prepared was submitted to the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India, who had full Power to make what Alterations they pleased. They altered the Plan; and the Accounts have been kept as it was finally approved. The Plan was laid before Parliament in 1816, and printed.

Will you refer to Page 5 of the Evidence given by you upon the first Day of your Examination. You will see, in your Answer to the second Question in that Page, that after stating that the probable Excess of Charge over Territorial Revenue in future Years will be £1,478,285, you state that that Excess can only be met by a Reduction of Charge; can you state to the Committee the particular Heads on which it is proposed by The East India Company to make any Reduction of Charge?

Orders have been sent by the Court of Directors to the Indian Governments to effect very extensive Reductions in the Military Expenditure in India, and also for such a Revision of the Civil Charges as may, it is hoped, lead to a material Reduction of their Amount. Orders have also been sent for the Reduction of the Establishments of Prince of Wales Island, Sincapore, and Malacca, from a Government to Residencies; and Orders have likewise been given for a large Reduction of the Expence of St. Helena.

Are there any Documents which will show the Particulars of Reduction under each of those Heads of Charge?

I apprehend, if the Committee were pleased to call for an Estimate, that such a Document could be prepared.

Can you state to what Amount those proposed Reductions come in the Gross?

I am not prepared at present with the Particulars. I know that the Military Reduction was supposed to amount, when it all comes into Effect, to nearly a Million Sterling a Year; but that is of course in a great measure prospective. The Officers who are to be reduced are to be seconded, and die off.

Can you state whether, upon the whole, the proposed Reduction would bring the Charge within the actual Receipts of the Territorial Revenue?

I think there is reason to believe, from the Measures now going forward in India, and from the Effect of the Orders I have explained, that in Time the Charges will be reduced sufficiently to bring the Expenditure within the Income.

When you speak of "in Time," to what Period do you look forward?

I refer principally to the Military Reductions, which will require Five or Six Years before the Supernumeraries can be absorbed by the Occurrence of Vacancies.

Can you at all speak to the Amount which is proposed to be reduced in the Civil Charges?

No; I am not at present possessed of Materials to enable me to furnish that Information.

Can you say what Proportion of the increased Charge of Articles which you have enumerated in the Fifth Page of your Evidence will be of a permanent and what of a temporary Nature?

I felt, in answering that Question upon the former Occasion, that I had no other Means of forming a Judgment than that which the Official Estimate presented.

In that Calculation of the Charge for the Year 1828-9, to which you refer in your Answer, have you included any Charges of a temporary Nature, and to what Amount?

Certainly not; unless your Lordships consider that Portion of the Military Charge which is included in that Estimate, and which has been ordered to be reduced prospectively, of a temporary Nature.

[34]

There is no Charge in that Account which is for this Year, and for this Year only?

I am not aware of any.

Do you know the Amount of the Arrears now payable by the Government of Ava?

There has been received altogether £739,149, namely £553,139 in 1826-7, and £186,010 in 1827-8. The remaining Sum is £420,851; whereof £208,800 was expected to be secured in 1828-9. There will then still remain due £212,051.

The Witnesses are directed to withdraw.

Thomas Fortescue Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:

You have served in the Civil Service in India?

I have.

What Situation did you last hold?

Commissioner of Delhi.

Can you state the Population of the District which was under your Charge?

It is now Nine Years since I left it. The Number is probably on Record in some of my Reports. I cannot distinctly state the Number; but I should suppose near a Million.

What Revenue was collected from that District?

About Five and thirty Lacs of Rupees, including Customs and Jaghires, and every thing.

Can you state the Expence of collecting the Revenue?

That is a Matter of Figures, which I cannot bear in mind; but about Nine per Cent. I think.

What Number of Europeans are employed in that District?

There are Three European Gentlemen, Civil Servants of the Company, in different Parts of the District, being myself at the Head, residing at Delhi.

What Number of Natives had you under you?

There were subordinate Officers attached to the several Assistants at very small Salaries, merely Clerks. There was a Law Officer attached to each of them, to assist them in their Duty, a Mohamedan; and one Hindoo Law Officer, besides the Mohamedan Law Officer, attached to the Court over which I presided.

State the Manner in which the Revenue was assessed and collected?

Purely from Villages. The District of Delhi is rather peculiarly circumstanced; it differs a good deal from other Parts and other Provinces; and the Settlements are entirely Village Settlements.

State in what Manner that Arrangement is made - with what Persons?

A Description of Persons called Mocuddims, or Head Men, Leaders, Principals.

Do they act on the Part of the whole Village?

Always; and they are selected by the Village, and changed at their Pleasure. They are generally Men of more Influence than the rest, better able to conduct the Duties of the Village, on the Part of the whole, than any other Set of Men.

Then the Mocuddims do not contract with the Government for the Payment of a certain Revenue, but merely act for the Village, to make an Agreement for the Village?

That is almost always the Case. They very rarely become the Contractors; the Distinction is nice, perhaps.

How did you determine the Amount that each Village was to pay?

Always by calculating what the People should pay; after inquiring into the State of the Village - what it had hitherto paid, what it was capable of, the State of the Lands, and what they ought to bear with reference to the Produce.

[35]

In what Manner was it settled what each Man in the Village was to pay?

That was an internal Arrangment, which it was desirable for us not to interfere in; they among themselves settled at their Pleasure what each was to pay.

Had you any Complaints on the Part of any of the Villages that they were over-assessed?

I do not recollect One. There were some dissatisfied; but I do not recollect One reasonable Complaint.

If they were dissatisfied with the Mocuddim they turned him out?

Yes; but when we came to make a Settlement with them, sometimes one or two, sometimes the whole Village, would come and be present, and whoever could speak best to the Point, or make the best Arrangement on the Part of the others, he was the Mocuddim; one Day one of them, and another Day another, perhaps.

Were there any hereditary Officers in those Villages?

They were rather Servants of the Villagers than Officers. There were no Officers of the Village, except the Carpenter, the Blacksmith, the Barber, and such People.

Was there any Village Accountant?

There was. He was generally what we call a Banyan, a Man who used to dispose of the Grain of the Village; he was generally a particular Adept in keeping the Accounts.

Do you think it would have been desirable to make a Settlement with each Individual, rather than the whole Village?

Certainly not; it would have destroyed the Union among them, and have penetrated into private and domestic Matters, which would have been very unpleasant among them.

In what Manner were any Disputes which arose between the Proprietors settled; how was Justice administered in the Village itself?

It was left pretty much to the System that had existed before our Time, as it appeared to be satisfactory to the People; that was, leaving them to decide their own Disputes, where nothing very heinous had occurred such as required the Cognizance of a Magistrate.

In what Manner did they decide those Disputes?

Always by Punchayet.

Will you describe what Punchayet is?

It is very similar to Arbitration, but in some measure different. Arbitration is for any thing; Punchayet is an Assembly which they form themselves: any one of the Village whom they would wish should advocate the one Part and the other, most frequently the Mocuddims, from their being the Men whom the Village had most Confidence in, and who managed the Affairs of it most to their Satisfaction; but it was not necessary it should be a Mocuddim.

Were the People apparently satisfied with such Administration of Justice as they obtained from the Punchayet?

Almost always; I do not recollect any Dissatisfaction of Moment.

How was the Administration of Justice in Cases of a more important Description managed in your Time?

With respect to Criminal Offences, if any thing very heinous occurred, the Officers on the Part of the Magistrates, dispersed through the Country under the Name of Tannahdars, Police Peons, and Burkandazes, (People carrying Fire-arms,) when they were either informed or themselves acquired a Knowledge of any heinous Offence, inquired into it, and reported it to the Magistrate.

That Magistrate was an European?

That Magistrate was one of the Gentlemen I have just mentioned; an Assistant.

To what Extent did those Magistrates decide Civil Causes?

They decided Causes, as far as my Recollection goes, to any Amount.

[36]

Was there an Appeal to you?

Always, in every Case.

Were those Appeals frequently made?

Not at all, with reference to similar Appeals in the other Provinces.

You mean that there were fewer Appeals in the Province of Delhi than in the Lower Provinces, compared to the Number of Causes?

Yes.

To what Extent did the Assistants administer Justice in Cases of an inferior Nature?

Punishment with Rattan, Confinement and Labour, to the Extent allowed in the Lower Provinces; very much in the Character and Manner as applied under the Regulations in the old Territory. The Principles applicable to that Territory were proceeded on.

According to what Law did you and your Assistants administer Justice?

By the Mohamedan Law, modified as it has been and is by the Regulations of the Government.

As regards the Mohamedan Law, the Regulations of the Government were introduced into that District?

I cannot say that they were specifically introduced; the Principles of them were adopted; and when any Offence was tried, a Mohamedan Judge gave his Opinion as in the Lower Provinces, and the Measure of Punishment was awarded in the same Manner as it would have been in the Lower Provinces.

According to what Law was Civil Justice administered?

The Mohamedan too.

Without the Intervention of the Regulations?

Yes; they were not authoritatively introduced into the Province; but I was directed by my Instructions to follow the general Principles of them.

You administered the Mohamedan Law, modified by the Spirit of the Regulations?

Yes.

But not altered by the Regulations?

Yes; there is a great deal of Mohamedan Law altered by the Regulations. We administered Justice on the Principles of the Regulations.

But without adhering to the Forms?

The whole Mode of Proceeding was conformable to the Practice of the Courts below.

Did the People appear to be satisfied with that Administration of Justice?

I do think they were particularly so.

Has the Revenue increased in that Country of late Years, since we first got Possession of it?

Extremely; almost beyond Calculation.

And the Population?

Yes; and the Population also. When we took Possession there were about 600 deserted Villages; when I came away, there were about 400 of them that had been re-peopled again, chiefly by the Descendants of those who had a Proprietary Right in those Villages, and this in consequence of our Administration.

What Extent of Authority was conceded to any Native Commissioner in the Judicial Department?

I cannot exactly recollect; they have very trifling Criminal Jurisdiction; but in Civil they have Causes to the Extent of a Thousand Rupees to investigate. They were more as Assistants in Criminal Matters, to inquire into any little trifling Things that required more Time than it was consistent with the other Duties of the Assistant or myself to attend to.

Did they appear to perform their Duties faithfully and well?

I think so; I was very well satisfied with them. I think their Allowance ought to be more, and more Confidence placed in them.

[37]

From what you saw of the Natives, do you think they could be introduced into higher Situations than those they had before occupied?

I think they might; but they must have a proportionable Reward for their Services.

Is there any Alteration of System in the Lower Provinces, or in the Ceded and Conquered Provinces, which would lead, in your Opinion, to a Reduction of Charge, without diminishing Efficiency in the Revenue and Judicial Departments?

I certainly think there is.

Have the goodness to state them.

I think, if the Revenue and Judicial reciprocally assisted each other more than they do, at least than they did when I was in India, the Business to be transacted would more speedily be got through, and, of consequence, Benefit would result.

Do you allude to the Revenue and Judicial Functions?

Not altogether. I allude chiefly to a great Proportion of the Duty which now appertains to the Courts of Judicature, being, in the first Instance, examined into the adjusted by the Revenue Department.

Will you state the Advantages of that Alteration?

The Advantages would be, that in the Revenue Department, in which originates a very large Proportion of the Duty of the Judicial, would be decided Cases the Moment they arise - on the Spot very often, and by an Officer whose Knowledge gives him an Advantage over the Judicial. In very many Instances it happens that the Judicial Officer decides on Cases, after Reference to the Collector, from the Reports he sends up.

Has a Person educated solely in the Judicial Department that Knowledge which will enable him to decide the Revenue Cases that will come before him?

I think not; I think no Judicial Officer can be a good one who has not commenced in the Revenue Department.

What was the Custom of the Country previous to our Occupation of it in that respect; were the Functions united?

Before our Government, little was thought of but Revenue; there were none but Quazies. The Mohamedans distributed Justice in no regular Way. Sometimes the Aumil, or the ruling Authority itself, would interfere, but in rare Instances. There was no Code furnished nor regular System practised by the Native Government, for the Administration of Justice.

Are you of Opinion that, by a more extensive Union of the Revenue and Judicial Functions, Justice would be equally well administered, if not better, and the Charge diminished?

I think that by a better Classification of the aggregate Duties that would be the Case.

What is the Proportion of the whole Assessment on a Village or Estate supposed to be allowed to the Zemindar as a Compensation for his Charges and Risk in the Lower Provinces?

By the Regulations of the Government I think it is about Ten per Cent. on the Net Revenue he pays to Government, or Eleven and a Half on the Gross.

Besides that Deduction from the Revenue collected from the Zemindar, there is likewise a Charge of Collection, is there not?

There is about Five per Cent. for what is called Village Charges.

Besides that, there are Salaries of the Collectors themselves, are there not?

Yes, there are.

What do you calculate to be the Total Charge per Cent. of collecting the Revenue in the Lower Provinces, including the Allowance made to the Zemindar?

[38]

I do not think I can answer that Question with any Precision; but with regard to the preceding Question I would wish to add, that the Allowance to the Zemindar I have just stated is, in my Opinion, not sufficient; I hardly ever found it to be sufficient in making the Settlement. I think it is more nominal than real. I mean that in very large Estates in the Lower Provinces, where they consist of several Villages, and there is but One or a very few Proprietors, Ten per Cent. may do; but if it is a small Estate, and the Family of the Zemindar is large, and the Estate liable to Fluctuations by reason of the Seasons, and the Ground not altogether even in its Produce, in such Instances, and others I might mention, the Ten per Cent. has never been enough.

Is it Ten per Cent. on the estimated Amount of the Receipts, and not on the whole?

No.

The Regulation says that Ten per Cent. shall be allowed on the Net Receipt, or Eleven and a Half on the Gross; but that, in your Opinion, is not sufficient in many Cases to enable the Zemindar to live?

Just so.

When a further Allowance is necessary to be made to a Zemindar, is that regulated by the Discretion of the Collector?

I think so; that has always been my Mode. It was impracticable often to make a Settlement; they would not agree with us. When the detailed Accounts showed that the ordinary Expences of the Zemindarry were so great, that Ten per Cent. would not remunerate or allow the Zemindar to live, then it was requisite to make a further Allowance.

Are the Ceded and Conquered Provinces so situate as to make it possible to introduce the System of Village Distribution there?

Generally speaking, not. In some Parts it did continue, particularly in the Province of Bundlecund.

When that Village Constitution has been once destroyed, it would be impossible to re-create it, would it not?

I think it would; the more we interfere, the more we dissolve the Union.

Of what Religion is the Population in the Neighbourhood of Delhi?

Immediately round Delhi it is chiefly Mussulman, but in the Interior chiefly Hindoo. There are entire Villages Hindoo, and entire Villages Mussulman.

What has been the Effect of the Renovation of the old Canal that ran along the Line of the Jumna to Delhi; Murdan Shah?

It had just opened a Month or two before I left Delhi. It had just passed Delhi and gone into the Jumna, and as it gradually came through the Province it fertilized in an astonishing Manner and to a most incredible Distance, Right and Left, even to the Distance of Five or Six Miles, and in Wells which were completely filled up and thought useless, the Water sprang up again. In the City of Delhi itself it was wonderful.

Is the Canal for the Purpose of Irrigation only, or for the Purposes of Navigation?

It is too narrow for Navigation.

Is it not possible to send some light Goods upon it?

I should hardly think more Water can be conveyed than is required for the Country.

Was the Feroz Shah Canal begun when you left Delhi?

No, it was not. I had the Opinion of one or two Engineers, but they wished to see the Effect of this before that was undertaken. The Opinion of those Engineers was, that it was practicable; and the Natives said, It has once run, why should not it again? I do not say that the Engineers had officially surveyed it, but they were in correspondence with me, and had examined it cursorily.

Had any Measures been taken, when you left India, for making a Canal between the Jumna and the Ganges -the Dewab Canal?

No; there had been a long Time ago, when first we got Possession of the Province, but not since, at least while I remained there; it had been examined in former Days.

[39]

Are you aware that the Canal of Feroz Shah communicated with the Kuggur River, and that there was a Canal from the Jutledge to the Kuggur?

I am rather doubtful on this Point; but I believe the Engineer Officer with whom I was in Correspondence thought he could actually trace it to the Kuggur.

Have the Mussulman Population apparently displaced the Hindoo Population in the Neighbourhood of Delhi?

At a very remote Time of course, when the Mohamedan Rule came into India. I do not suppose that the Mussulmans have tried to turn out the Hindoos since.

The Civil Code of the Mohamedans was adopted because the great Majority of the Population was Mohamedan?

Yes; that is looking to Centuries ago; they brought with them their own Laws, and forced them on the Hindoos.

At the Period to which you have been speaking, the great Majority of the Population was Mohamedan?

I allude to the Time that I left Delhi. The Emperor with all his Court resided at Delhi. The City of Delhi, and all round, was very greatly Mohamedan, but not farther off.

Did you administer Mohamedan Civil Law in Parts of the Country in which there was an Hindoo Population?

In all nice Cases a Reference was made to the Hindoo Law Officer, who gave his Bevesta or Opinion.

You state that Delhi is very populous; can you state in what Degree it is more or less populous than adjoining Estates in India?

I say it is populous; but I do not think it is comparatively more populous; I should rather say the contrary, if I were to give any Opinion. It is rapidly increasing.

Had it been increasing previous to its falling under our Dominion?

It had; but it was recovering from an extensive Famine that had happened long ago, which had half depopulated the Country.

You now consider it to be increasing independently of the Consequences of that Famine?

I look to the present Increase as entirely owing to the Administration since we have had Possession of it.

You state that you have employed a Number of Native Officers at small Salaries; is the Mohamedan and Hindoo Proportion of those Officers the same as that of the Population, or nearly so?

I allude to common Clerks in Office; I should hardly call them Officers; they were mere Copyists; they are nothing but common Clerks. What I call Officers are those attached to European Officers, and having some Authority.

The Question refers to those employed in any Way?

In employing them, or selecting them, or appointing them, I never thought whether they were Hindoo or Mussulman; I generally got the Person best qualified; and if he had been in a very subordinate Situation in the District, and was able to do the Duty from that Situation, he was appointed.

The Question is not whether you have the Preference on account of Religion; but what was, generally speaking, the Proportion?

As the Correspondence and Records were all in the Persian Language, and as the Hindoos rarely acquire a Knowledge of that Language but for some Purposes connected with Employment, the Majority were Mussulmans, who, in writing Proceedings, were more familiar with the Language, it being so connected with the Language of their Religion.

There was no Exclusion of Hindoos?

No, by no means.

In Situations which were in any degree Places of Trust, did you see any Motive for giving the Preference to Persons of the one Religion over those of the others?

No; indeed I found them both equally trust-worthy.

[40]

You had no Reason to complain generally of the Want of Integrity of the Persons you had so employed?

I wish to answer that with a little Reservation. I think not where they have been what I would say liberally rewarded for their Trouble, and Consideration has been shown towards them, they are every way deserving of Trust; but where this has not been the Case, then they have failed to merit that Confidence.

You have stated that Mohamedan and Hindoo Law Officers are employed jointly; do you mean that they are consulted in unison upon the same Points, or that there are particular Points referred to one, and others to the other?

Certainly; what relates to the Mussulman Law is referred to the Mussulman, and what refers to the Hindoo to the Hindoo; as in Cases relating to Caste, Marriages, &c.

By whom are those Native Law Officers appointed?

In the Lower Provinces printed Regulations prescribe certain Rules and Forms. They are generally recommended by the Judge and Magistrate of the District to whose Court they are attached; they also belong to the Courts of Circuit, and the Sudder Dewanny and the Nizamat Adawluts.

What is their Manner of Appointment?

The nomination rests with the local Authority; the Confirmation rests according to Circumstances, as is defined by the Regulations.

Are their Appointments liable to be revoked at Pleasure?

Not exactly at Pleasure; there must be some Cause of Dissatisfaction, something improper alleged and proved. Superannuation or a Wish to retire may lead to their Appointment being revoked.

Such Cause being alleged, by what Authority are they liable to be dismissed?

The Regulations point out different Authorities; for instance, a Judge and Magistrate has no Power to dismiss, only to suspend, either of his Law Officers, without reference to the Court of Circuit, his immediate Superiors. The Regulations point out all those Matters.

You state that the Banyans dispose of the Grain of the Village; will you state in what Manner they generally dispose of it?

They have only the Disposal of it when it is the Pleasure of the Parties to arrange with him for that Purpose; it is not necessarily so, nor has he any special Authority to interfere one way or the other; but when he does dispose of it, he generally takes it and disposes of it at the average Price of the Market, or at any Price that the Owners of it choose to arrange with him for.

He is a sort of Broker?

Yes; and he is their Cashkeeper frequently.

Does he frequently dispose of it to the Government?

No; Government never purchase. It is the Object of the Government rather to get rid of it.

You have stated that the Revenue has greatly increased in the Province; has that arisen from the improved Collection, or from increased Duties?

From both. The increased Duties, with reference to the Customs and Town Duties, have been greatly augmented; and also the Land Revenue has increased greatly, owing chiefly to the Assessment on the different Villages, some of which paid no Revenue at all before our Administration, or little or nothing, according to their internal Ability to resist the former Government, or its local Officers, or by Connivance.

Those new Assessments were made by your Direction?

Not exclusively by mine, but by those of my Predecessors; I was sent up chiefly to report on the State of the Territory.

Did the Increase of Assessment occasion much Complaint?

[41]

I cannot say much Complaint. Those who paid nothing, or but little, did not like to have the Revenue augmented; but there was nothing like Rebellion - nothing like Resistance - nothing like the Opposition there had been heretofore. All those Matters which I have been speaking of are very fully detailed in Reports, which it was my Duty to make on that Territory as to Revenue, Customs, Police and the Administration of Justice. I have not those Documents with me, and therefore I speak with some Hesitation on some of those minute Points.

Up to what Period do your Reports reach?

Up to the Period of my leaving India; I left in 1821, in consequence of the State of my Health. There is a great deal of Peculiarity with reference to the District of Delhi.

You think that a considerable Advantage would arise from uniting the Collectorship with the Duties of a Judge?

Not entirely. I meant to say that a great deal of the Judicial Business would be much better performed by the Collector, and it would be in aid of the general Establishment and general Administration of Justice.

That you thought it desirable the Collector should have Judicial Powers?

Yes, that is the Effect of my Answer. My Experience has certainly proved that.

Would the Effect of that be to accelerate the Administration of Justice?

I think very greatly. I have had a great deal of Experience in every Part of the Province of Bengal.

The Separation was made by Lord Cornwallis, was not it?

Yes, it was, I believe.

In consequence of that Separation of the Judicial Individual from the Office of Collector, has not the Administration of Justice since been subject to great Delay?

I will not say positively that it has been in consequence of the Separation of the Judicial Individual from the Office of Collector.

But subsequent to that Time it has been delayed, has it not?

I cannot say what was the Case before. I can speak to what it is at present; but I think there are great Embarrassments to the Administration of Justice from a Want of Division of Labour.

Were you acquainted with the State of the Courts within the District of Delhi?

Certainly.

Do you know the State of Arrears of Causes in those Courts?

They are very minutely stated in my Reports. I know thus much, that Business was decided as rapidly as it was prepared; there was no Delay whatever as to myself. When I came away, Two or Three Hours a Day was sufficient to leave every thing clear up to the Moment, including every Reference from them, and every private Petition.

What was the State of Arrears in the Courts, your Duty being that of deciding the Appeals from the Courts?

Very nearly similar to what they were with regard to myself.

There are a Mohamedan Officer and an Indian Officer attached to each of the Courts, are there not?

No; there is only a Mohamedan in that Court; there was an Hindoo attached to me, but there was not Duty sufficient for more than One. I have acted locally in all the other Parts of the Province, in the Ceded and Conquered Provinces, and at Benares.

When a Cause is to be tried in one of those Courts, if it is to be tried by the Hindoo Law, is it conducted by an Hindoo Officer?

No; the Hindoo Law Officer does not sit in the Courts in general; if he chooses he may sit.

He is there only to answer the Questions put to him by the European Judge?

Yes; at the same Time, perhaps, he is going on with his own regular Business in another Part of the Court House.

By whom are the Witnesses examined in the Zillah Court in Delhi?

Always by the Assistant; but in very pressing Cases the Witnesses have, in some Part of the Court Room, been examined in the Presence of the Vackeels and Agents of the Parties, in Civil Suits. This has been done to prevent Delay, and when the Parties have preferred it.

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When it comes under the Mohamedan Law, is it conducted in the same Manner?

Exactly.

The Indian Officers, or Mohamedan Officers, as it happens, dictate the Sentence, do not they, usually?

No.

Do not they mention to the presiding European Judge what ought to be the Sentence?

If he is referred to; but they always, when requisite, make a formal Reference to him of the Point on which he is to give his Opinion.

Is that in Writing?

Always in Writing. Very often, (speaking of myself,) in a Cause of any Intricacy, (and I believe others also,) I have requested the Law Officer to be present, and to assist in going through the Examination of the Case.

You have stated that you thought in some respects the Judicial Officers were not very capable of performing their Duties; in what Particulars do you think that was the Case?

I did not mean to say that, but that the Decisions of the Judicial Officers, very often, from not having Revenue Knowledge, were not so good and so practical, and that their Decisions were not so correct, as they might have been otherwise. I would explain myself by saying, that the Execution of a Decree, for Want of Revenue Knowledge, was sometimes impracticable, often very very defective.

Do you think the Judicial Officers in general, and particularly when first placed in those Situations, are capable, from their Knowledge of the Language, of examining an Indian Witness?

I think their Knowledge of the Language certainly is sufficient to enable them to examine a Witness.

Is the Court you have described under the Name of Punchayet any thing more than a Reference agreed on between the Parties, and applicable to Civil Cases?

I do not know whether I can call it a Court; it is a self-constituted Court among the People; it is an Assembly rather, elected by the People, who decide whatever they choose to bring before it: it is not a Thing they are called to, nor can we direct them to assemble a Court.

Do they decide any Cases of Accusation?

None, but among themselves.

It is so far recognized amongst themselves as to try inferior Offences?

Rather Domestic Offences - not Offences against the Public; Family Quarrels, Family Disputes, any little Thing, perhaps even a little Theft.

You have stated that you thought the Native Officers that were employed in the Courts, both Indian and Mohamedan, when their Appointments were such as they ought to be for their Situation, were entitled to full Confidence; do you apply that simply to those who came under your Observation in the Province of Delhi, or do you apply it generally as the Result of Information you have received in other Parts of India?

I apply it generally to all the Provinces of Bengal in which I have officiated.

You were understood to state that the Mocuddims are the Persons who agreed with the Collectors for the Amount of the Revenue from each Village?

Yes; very often there is more than One; there may be Four or Five, or there may be Two or Three.

How does the Collector in the first Instance assess the Amount of the Contribution?

From various Channels of Information. He looks, for instance, to the Revenue the Village has hitherto paid; he looks to the State of the Cultivation; he looks to the Pergunnah Rates, that is, the Rent which such and such Land bears in that Village, or in the neighbouring Villages. He ascertains in these and in other Ways the general Assets; but in Delhi almost all the Lands have been measured.

[43]

Having ascertained the estimated Produce of a Village, he assesses it at a certain Amount?

Yes.

That is the Mode of Proceeding?

It is.

How is that Assessment enforced?

I speak of Delhi; and it rarely happens, when the Assessment is arranged, and the Parties are content, that there is any Difficulty in collecting it at the stated Periods. There are what are called Kists, or periodical Payments, arranged; and sometimes the Proprietors come in spontaneously with the Rent; at other Times an Officer goes and requires it.

Supposing a Village should be in default of this Payment, what Means are there of enforcing Payment from that Village?

It very rarely happens that that is so; and if it is so, it is generally from some Circumstance which is a just Cause for postponing the Demand for a Time; bad Seasons in some Cases, quarrelling among themselves, or something going wrong in the Village. A subordinate Officer on the Part of the Collector will then go and inquire among the Sharers what is the Cause of the Kist not being paid up, and it rarely happens that Criminality attaches.

Do you in no Case levy the Money from Individuals?

Only the Tehsildar, or other Revenue Officer, will go and communicate personally with the whole of the Villagers. They are all Brothers or Relations. He will collect from them separately.

Is this Land, so assessed to the Revenue, subject to any Payment for Rent to any body else?

There is no Middle-man between Government and themselves.

They look upon that which they pay to Government as a Rent.

The Government are Proprietors of the Land, and the Land is let to those Persons on condition of their paying this Contribution?

That is a Question which has been greatly discussed in India. As to the Proprietorship, my Belief is, that the Government is the Proprietor of the Land, and that the Person occupying it is well satisfied with the Occupation, paying that Rent.

That is the only Rent the Person pays for the Occupation of that Land?

Yes; there are Village Charges.

You stated that when you first went to Delhi there were a great Number of deserted Villages, which afterwards were re-peopled; how soon after they were re-peopled did you begin to levy the Assessment upon them?

I cannot precisely say that without reference to the Papers; but I can say that this Principle was adopted, of not assessing the Village 'till it was in such a forward State of Cultivation that, with reference to other Land, it was reasonable to assess it.

Is the Zemindarry System entirely done away in the Neighbourhood of Delhi?

The Word Zemindar, as applied in the other Provinces, is perhaps not known there.

Is the Revenue for Delhi collected at a cheaper Per-centage than in the Lower Provinces?

I believe I mentioned that I could not state that precisely at this distant Period; but there are Statements I have sent which will elucidate this Point. To the best of my Recollection, the Collection is cheaper than on the other Side of the Jumna; I think about Nine per Cent.

Does the Ten per Cent. given to the Zemindar in the Lower Provinces go to any other Officer in the Neighbourhood of Delhi?

It is a different Thing altogether. In the Provinces alluded to there are Regulations which prescribe, that, having ascertained the Produce, such and such Allowances shall be made to the Zemindar, in which Allowance is included his Ten per Cent. In the Delhi Territory there are no Regulations which prescribe certain Terms of Assessments; and I believe I have just explained how the Settlements were made.

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Why is the Ten per Cent. allowed to the Zemindar?

It is an Allowance granted to him, fixed by the Government for him as his Zemindarry Right; it comprehends so much that I do not know how to describe it briefly.

When that Arrangement was made, was it not in the Contemplation of Government that the Zemindar had a Proprietary Right over the Soil?

The Word Zemindar was understood to mean that.

It was afterwards found out that he had none?

There is a great deal to be said on that Subject; he was often found not to be the Zemindar.

In the Province of Delhi the Revenue is collected at a cheaper Rate than in the Lower Provinces?

That is a Matter of Account, and I should wish to refer to my Reports; but the Impression upon my Mind, though I cannot give a Reason for that Impression at this distant Period, is, that it is cheaper; but by referring to the Accounts in the India House this will be seen.

Do you think in all Cases, so far as your Observation has gone, that in the Province of Delhi improved Cultivation of Land has kept Pace with the Increase of Revenue?

I think that the improved Cultivation of Land has gone before the Increase of Revenue.

Is the Mohamedan Law, as now administered there, very considerably influenced by those Regulations you have spoken of?

Very considerably.

In what Points are the Defects of the Mohamedan Law chiefly controlled or influenced by them?

Amputation, for instance, is commuted to Imprisonment; another, with reference to the Witnesses, holding that Two Females are only equal to One Male, &c. &c.

Is the Contribution agreed upon with the Mocuddims fixed on the Gross Produce of the Village in Grain?

We arrange with the Mocuddim what he is to pay after surveying the Resources.

How much per Cent. upon that is it usual to exact?

There is nothing further than that the various Sources of the Village are on Paper.

You estimate it at a certain Amount?

Yes.

What Proportion of that do the Government demand?

It depends greatly on Circumstances - on the Quality of the Land and the Produce of it. It depends also on what hitherto those People have paid; because there are some Villages which, previous to our Possession, paid nothing, in consequence of their Power to resist. As those Villages are from their Resources as competent to pay as others, a gradually increasing Assessment has been adopted.

Can you give any Idea of the Proportion paid to Government of the Produce of those Villages?

I know that sometimes the Mocuddims arrange so that the Share to the Proprietors shall be sometimes Three Fourths, Two Thirds, Three Fifths, One Half, - fluctuating, but all depending upon so many local Circumstances. I cannot speak more closely to it.

So that if one of the Ryots produces a certain Proportion of Rice or any other Grain upon his Ground, the Value of Three Fourths or One Half is paid to the Government?

I cannot say that, because there are a great many Things to be taken out of it. A Proportion of the Produce will be taken to pay the Expences of the Village; the Hospitality of the Village for Strangers, and the different Officers of the Village - the Carpenter, and so on; they have their Share out of it; there then comes the Net Produce.

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Upon that the Assessment is fixed?

Yes.

Do you state that Three Fourths or Half go to the Government?

The Share coming to Government cannot be fixed precisely, because it will not leave Half on some; but the general Principle is, that a Half is what they call the Hakimee, or the Government Share.

That is the Half of the Net Produce, after paying the Village Expences?

In some Instances it is but a Half of the Gross Produce; it is not possible to give a distinct Answer to it, it depends so much upon Locality.

In the Case of the Failure of a Proprietor, what Steps does the Government take against that Proprietor; does he forfeit the Land altogether?

Referring to Delhi, I would say that the Government know little of the precise Property of any of the Proprietors. It is not the Interest or the Wish of the Village that the Government should scrutinize and know their Possessions; and therefore, if any One of the Brotherhood fails to pay his Proportion, that is a Matter for the Village at large to settle; they will often come forward to pay it for him; but those are all private Arrangements kept to themselves.

Has the Mocuddim any Power from the Government to enforce this Assessment in any way?

No.

The Mocuddim is merely an Agent on the Part of the Village?

He is merely chosen by them.

Have the goodness to state in what Manner Property descends from one Generation to another?

The Minutiæ of this Matter will be found in my official Reports; that I now mention would be but general. I speak with some Diffidence; but the Inheritance is very distinctly marked, and very distinctly observed amongst them. The Sons inherit from their Father generally. Females are excluded.

Does the Right of Primogeniture prevail?

No, it does not. If a Man dies with Four Sons, those Four share in equal Proportions; and in respect of what is called in a grand Division a Panee, supposing there were Four Sons, each would inherit a Division of that Panee, which would create what is called (4) Tokes.

Does that Mode of Inheritance extend to the Mussulman as well as the Hindoo Population?

Yes; there are Exceptions of course; but I speak of that which is generally the Case.

In the early Part of your Evidence you stated that you have no Means of making any exact Calculation of the Population of Delhi, and you have also spoken about the Villages; can you give any general Idea of the Amount of Population in those Villages; do they differ much, and, if so, can you mention the greatest Population of any one Village?

No; it would be hardly possible. Perhaps the largest Village in point of Landed Extent might have the fewest Inhabitants in it; for instance, those that were re-peopled again; the Lands appertaining to them are perhaps as large as any in the District, but the Population may be the fewest; but they vary very much. They are every Day augmenting. People who had abandoned them, or their Relatives, are coming back, and getting Possession without the slightest Opposition.

When you speak of a Village, you include the adjacent Land?

Yes; all the Land appertaining to the Brotherhood who live in the Hamlets or Houses.

Is the whole of the Land appropriated into Villages?

There is a considerable Part of it unoccupied, unclaimed and uncultivated, but which will be cultivated as soon as the Aqueducts which have been talked of shall fertilize the Soil.

Is the Consent of Government required for the Cultivation of any new District?

[46]

No. Government are happy that People should come and take up their Abode. They make no Inquiry if there is no Objection made by the neighbouring Villagers; that is to say, that they do not claim Land that others are in the Possession of.

What length of Possession gives a Right to the Property?

A Right of Possession remains 'till it is disturbed by some others who claim it; but that is a Case that rarely or never occurs. There are no Disputes of that Nature.

Has the District been well surveyed?

I do not know that there has been a very exact Survey. It has been surveyed by the Revenue Officers; I meant that it was surveyed by the Revenue Officers.

Speaking of the Province of Delhi, in what respect does the System for the Administration of Justice differ from that supposed to be the Case in the best Times of the Mussulman Government?

The great Difference is, that there are certain Principles now proceeded on; which was not the Case in those Days; there was no System. In short, I cannot go back to any particular Time, unless I go back an Hundred Years, or an Hundred and sixty. I have seen Records of the Province, stating its extreme Fertility at that Time. I do not know any Period when the Administration of Justice was in a better State. I can find no Record of it.

Have you Reason to think that the Inhabitants of the Province of Delhi rightly understand, and act on and approve of, the Changes that have been introduced into the System of Mohamedan Law in its Administration, by the Regulations to which you have referred?

I do not recollect that there has been an Alteration in the Civil Code of Mohamedan Law; it is only in the Criminal Code.

Are they readily acquiesced in by the Natives?

I think they are favourable to them; I never heard any Objection to them; on the contrary, I think they have approved of them. They are grounded in Humanity.

Is it your Intention to return to India?

No; I have left on account of Ill-health, and have not been well enough to go back.

What was the Amount of your Allowances while you were Commissioner at Delhi?

Five thousand Rupees per Month.

Would you call that £6,000 a Year?

At Two Shillings, it would be about that.

At what Time of Life were you when you went there?

That is now Ten Years ago. I suppose about Forty.

How long had you been in India previously?

I went out in 1798, and passed through almost all the Gradations of the Service. I was in Delhi not above Ten Months.

You had been Two and twenty Years in India before you went there?

Yes.

The Witness is directed to withdraw.

Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Thursday next, One o'Clock.