Die Mercurii, 31 Martii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
John William Ricketts Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
You are a Native of Calcutta?
You were the Bearer of a Petition from a certain Portion of the
Inhabitants of Calcutta and the Presidency of Fort William, which
has been presented to the House of Lords?
How is that Petition signed; by what Number?
Between Six and Seven hundred.
Are they mostly Persons immediately descended from European
Fathers and Native Mothers, or are they the Offspring of Intermarriages?
They are also the Offspring of Intermarriages.
Do you know in what Proportion?
No, I do not.
Can you state the Grievances which are detailed in that Petition?
The first Grievance appears to be a Complaint with respect to
their being destitute of any Rule of Civil Law; will you explain
how that operates upon the Petitioners?
We are not recognized as British Subjects by the Supreme
Court of Calcutta, if residing in the Mofussil.
That is without the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
Just so; which throws us upon the Mofussil Courts, the Proceedings of which are regulated by the Mohamedan Law. As
Christians, we cannot avail ourselves of the Mohamedan Civil Law,
though we are subject to the Criminal Code. The Mohamedan
Civil Code does not apply to us as Christians, though we are
subject to the Lash of the Criminal Law.
It does not apply to you as regards Marriages or Succession to
The Mohamedan Code is expressly for Mohamedans. It provides
for the Rights and Interests of Mohamedans.
Therefore, in all that regards Marriages and Succession to
Property, you are without any Rule by which you can regulate
Without any definite Rule of Civil Law.
You have said that in Criminal Cases you are subject to the
Code of Mohamedan Law?
Is that attended with considerable Hardship and Severity; for
instance, the Infliction of Punishment in Criminal Cases?
I am not aware of its being unnecessarily severe, so far as my
personal Knowledge goes; though its Provisions are barbarous as
applicable to a Christian Population.
Has there been no Mitigation of the Severity of Part of that
The Code is modified by the Company's Regulations.
Is there any Appeal from that Tribunal?
To the Sudder Dewanny Adawlut in Calcutta, but not to the
Supreme Court. The Question was tried in the Year 1821; and
it was the Opinion of the Judges that we could not claim a Right
of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
Does the Tribunal of Sudder Adawlut possess the Power of
increasing the Punishment?
So I understand.
Is that the Case, without fresh Evidence being adduced?
In that Petition there is a Complaint that from all the superior
and covenanted Offices, as well as all the sworn Offices of the
Marine, the Petitioners have been excluded by the positive Regulation of the Company?
Either by the positive Regulation, or by the established Usage
of the Service.
Does the Preamble also provide that a Person so appointed shall
not be the Son of a Native Indian?
It does, with regard to Appointments in the regular Service of
the Company, and in the Military Appointments of the Company.
Does that apply after Intermarriage?
It used to do; but I believe there has been some Modification of
that Rule within the last Two Years.
That Modification is by Regulation?
There is no Law upon the Subject; it is by the Orders of the
Court of Directors.
Do you know of Instances in which that Modification has been
acted upon, in which Persons not immediately descended from
Native Mothers have been appointed to Situations under the
I know certain Instances in which the Appointment was refused
on that Ground on former Occasions.
Since the Year 1827, has there been no Alteration in that
respect in the Regulations of the Company?
I see that the Phraseology of the Prohibition is altered within
the last Two Years or so.
It is restricted to the immediate Descendants of the Mother, is it
I think it is. There has been no formal Regulation or Notification on the Subject; but I gather the Fact from the Phrase
employed, which has been modified of late.
With regard to the subordinate and inferior Offices, which do
not come under the Head of superior and covenanted Offices, is
there any Exclusion of the Petitioners?
There is a certain Class of Situations which are confined by
Usage to the Natives of the Country, in which we have no Share
or Part whatever. It would be considered irregular to appoint us
to these Situations.
From their being filled by Native Officers?
Does that apply to Offices in the Judicial Department, such as
Are they appointed to act as Pleaders in any of the Courts?
No; that is confined to Natives.
With regard to the Military Department, how are they situated?
They can hold no Commission in the Company's or King's
Are they excluded from being Non-commissioned Officers?
They are employed as Drummers and Fifers, and so forth.
Can they advance to the Rank of Corporal?
I am not aware of any Instance in which they have been so
Is there an Order of the Commander in Chief in force, which
prevents their holding any Commissions in the Indo-British Army?
There was an Order passed by the Commander in Chief in the
Year 1808 to that Effect.
That you conceive is still in force?
Yes, practically so; it has never been repealed.
Therefore they can hold no Commissions either in the King's or
the Company's Army?
No, certainly not.
Are there no Instances of any Deviation from that Rule?
There were some of our Class who were admitted, both into the
Civil and Military Service, prior to the Prohibition; the Quartermaster General of the Army, for instance, who is an East Indian,
but he was admitted prior to the Year 1791; and there is
Mr. Achmuty, of the Civil Service, who was also admitted prior to
the prohibitory Regulation.
Does Colonel Skinner hold a Commission in the Company's
He holds a local Rank in the Company's Service.
Is he descended from a Native Mother?
Colonel Skinner is an Officer who has served with great
Yes; he has signalized himself on many Occasions.
Are you aware that there was any Disinclination to serve under
Colonel Skinner, on the Part of the Natives of India?
I am not aware of such a Thing.
You never heard of any Objection being raised against him on
the Ground of his Mother having lost Caste?
No, I am not aware of that.
There is also a Complaint with regard to Non-employment of
the Persons of your Class by Native Powers; that there is a
Restriction upon your Employment by the Native Powers?
Do you know any Instance of any Persons of your Class being
employed by Native Powers?
There were many employed by the Mahratta States; and I
believe there are some still in the Service of some of the Native
Do you refer to the independent Mahratta States over which the
Company has no Controul?
In those States over which the Company has a Controul are
Persons of your Class employed without obtaining Permission from
It is generally understood that they cannot be so employed
without the Permission of Government.
Has that Permission been refused, to your Knowledge, when
I am not aware of any particular Instance in which it has been
If that Permission be granted, it is always liable to be recalled,
is it not?
Yes; should any Disturbance arise, or any War break out, they
are required to return to the Company's Territories. The Mahratta
Officers who were employed in the Years 1801 and 1802 were
invited back to the Company's Territories upon the Promise of
being pensioned. There were some who availed themselves of the
Pension, and came to the Company's Territories; there were others
who were barbarously murdered by the Native Princes the Moment
they came to the Knowledge of the Circumstances.
The Treaties with the Native Powers only prevent Europeans
being employed; therefore under what Head do you come, as you
are not recognized as Europeans in the Interior?
We are sometimes recognized as Europeans, and sometimes as
Natives, as it serves the Purposes of the Government; there is no
precise Character affixed to us in that respect.
You are generally recognized as Natives, except within the
Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
Yes; those Officers who were employed by the Mahratta States
were threatened to be dealt with as Traitors if they did not return
to the Company's Territories on the Announcement of the Order.
What Mahratta States were those?
Scindiah and Holkar.
Are there any Institutions in Calcutta for the Education of the
Children of Persons of your Class?
There are both public and private Schools.
Is the Expence of those Schools defrayed by yourselves, or do
you receive any Assistance from Government?
We have never received any Assistance from Government in
any Shape whatever.
There are Funds applicable by Act of Parliament for the
Education of the Natives?
There are; and we are not included in that Grant. We have
never received any Assistance from Government in the Education
of our Offspring.
Therefore the Expence is entirely defrayed by yourselves?
Is there any other Grievance which you wish to state to the
With regard to our not being employed by the Native States, I
know of some Instances were a Penalty Bond has been taken from
Persons going out from this Country to India, under Two Securities,
that they should not enter into the Service of the Native States.
East Indians who have come to England for Education, when they
have applied for Permission to return to their Native Country,
have been allowed to do so, but under a Penalty Bond that they
should not enter into the Service of any Native State.
Can you state the Number of Persons of your Class in the
Province of Bengal?
I should think that the Number would not be underrated if I
estimated it at about 20,000, more or less, in Calcutta and all the
Provinces. There was a Police Committee Report made in the
Year 1822; and the Christian Population in Calcutta was estimated
at 13,138, of which there were 2,254 Europeans; consequently we
are included in the Remainder, that is about 10,884. The Number
must have increased considerably since 1822.
The Number increases in proportion to the Number of Europeans
We out-number the Europeans, very considerably, certainly.
More Europeans being employed in consequence of the Increase
of Territory, your Numbers are upon the Increase?
Yes; and from the Offspring of Intermarriages.
You stated that in the Provinces, you, being Christians, were
subject to the Mohamedan Criminal Law; is not that Law much
altered and modified by the Company's Regulations?
Yes, it is considerably modified.
Are not all Native-born Subjects of The King subject to the
same Law for any Offence, less than Felony, in the Provinces?
I am not aware of the Extent to which they are. They are not
understood, certainly, to be subject to the Criminal Law of the
Are they not liable to be punished for Offences, less than Felony,
by the Company's Magistrates in the Provinces?
I am not aware of that Circumstance. I have not resided in
the Interior to know the Fact.
Will you turn to the Act of Parliament of the 53d Geo. 3d,
Cap. 155, and state what Enactment is contained in that Clause
with regard to Criminal Offences committed by British Subjects in
By this it appears they are subject to be punished for any Offence,
not being Felony, by the Magistrates of the Zillah Courts. I do
not know that that has ever been put into practice, which made me
doubt the Fact.
You have stated, that although subjected to the Mohamedan
Criminal Law, you are not permitted to avail yourselves of the
Mohamedan Civil Law, being Christians; will you state under
what Civil Law you consider yourself to be placed in the
What I meant to say was this; that, as Christians, the Mohamedan Civil Law does not apply to us, so as to render it
desirable for us to avail ourselves of it. It is exclusively applicable
to Mohamedans; it applies to their Case, not to the Case of
Christians. It is a singular Anomaly, that a Christian Subject
under the British Government should be subject to the Mohamedan
Civil Code. The Mohamedan Civil Code goes entirely upon the
Principles of the Religion professed; it is based entirely upon the
Are you acquainted with Regulation III. of the Year 1793, by
which all Natives and other Persons not British Subjects are
amenable to the Jurisdiction of the Zillah and City Courts, and
those Courts are empowered to take cognizance of all Suits and
Complaints respecting the Succession or Right to Real or Personal
Property, Lands, Rents, Revenues, Debts, Accounts, Contracts,
Partnerships, Marriage, Caste, Claims to Damages for Injuries,
and generally all Suits and Complaints of a Civil Nature. By
the same Regulation, in Cases coming within the Jurisdiction of
those Courts for which no specific Rule may exist, the Judges are
to act according to Justice and Equity and good Conscience.
By the same Regulation, in Suits regarding Succession, Inheritance, Marriage and Caste, and all Religious Usages and Institutions, the Mohamedan Laws with respect to Mohamedans, and the
Hindoo Laws with regard to Hindoos, are to be considered as
the general Laws by which the Judges are to form their Decisions.
Do you apprehend that under that Regulation any Christian
engaged in a Civil Suit would be obliged to have that Suit
determined according to the Law which was solely applicable to a
I certainly think so.
What Civil Code is in use in the Provinces as regards
If the Party be a Hindoo, there is the Hindoo Code for
him; if the Party be a Mohamedan, there is the Mohamedan
Code for him; but there is no express Provision made for
Supposing a Person of the Half-blood to be the Son of a Hindoo
Mother, do you apprehend that that Person would be considered
as a Mohamedan, and that his Civil Suit would be tried according
to the Mohamedan Law?
I think that they are generally taken for Mohamedans, and dealt
Do you not think that under the Regulation of which the
Substance has been stated to you, the Magistrate would have a
Power of acting in such a Case according to Justice, Equity and
It may be so; but that is a very dubious Principle; and it
would be left entirely to the Magistrate's own Sense of Justice, or
his own Feelings on the Subject. The Magistrate may certainly
act upon the new Principle with regard to Christians, if so
Are you aware of any practical Grievance that has been
sustained by Persons of Half-blood, in consequence of the
present State of the Law of the Provinces in regard to Civil
I have not resided in the Mofussil, and therefore my Acquaintance with the Practice of those Courts is very limited; but what
we complain of is the Principle of the Thing, more than the
Practice: the Principle is odious.
Will you state what Description of Offices are now held by
Persons of the Half-blood?
They are principally employed in subordinate Capacities in the
public Offices of Government.
They are employed very extensively as Writers, are they
And as Clerks?
As Clerks in Merchants Houses?
As Clerks in the Customs and the Revenue Department?
And in the Judicial Department?
They are generally employed as Clerks in the different Departments.
In the Military Department?
As Clerks in all the different Departments of Government.
Can you state whether they are employed in the Police of the
They are employed as Clerks in the Police Department.
Are they employed in the irregular Corps?
They have been so employed; but the Corps were disbanded,
and they were thrown out of Employment.
As long as they existed they were employed in the irregular
For a Time they were; during the Nepaul War; that is, as
long as the Exigencies of the Government required their
Can you state the highest Salaries received in any Case by a
Person of Half-blood?
They have received Salaries as high as Four and Five hundred
Rupees a Month.
That is about £600 a Year, is it not?
It is. These are very rare Cases indeed; there are not many
Are there many Persons of Half-blood who, in your Opinion,
are qualified to hold high Situations, by their Education?
Certainly. I say so with the most perfect Confidence.
Can you give the Committee any Idea of the Number of Persons whom you consider qualified to hold higher Situations than
those now filled by Persons of that Class?
I dare say we might collect about 500 Persons of that Description, calculated to hold Situations of Trust and Responsibility.
How are those Persons now employed?
They are employed, as I have before stated, as Clerks in different
public and private Offices.
Your Opinion is, that a well-educated Clerk is fit for a much
I mean to state that their Talents are not brought into proper
You have stated the Number of Persons so employed as Clerks
to extend to 500?
I should think there must be about 1,000 or more of them,
Do you mean in Calcutta alone?
Yes, in Calcutta alone; in the different public and private
The total Number of Persons of the Half-blood you stated at
Can you state the Number in public Offices?
There may be Five or Six hundred.
Are they extensively engaged in Trade?
Some of them are.
Are they engaged in the Maritime Trade of the Country?
Yes, they are.
To any great Extent?
To a pretty considerable Extent, as a Beginning.
Is any large Portion of the Trade between Calcutta and China
conducted by Persons of the Half-blood?
Not a considerable Portion.
Are they in any Cases Officers and Captains of Ships engaged in
Some few of them are.
Are there any wealthy Mercantile Houses in Calcutta?
There are some.
Can you state the Amount of the Property of any House of
Persons of the Half-blood?
Baretto's House was considered one of the wealthiest Houses in
India; besides which there are Lackersteen's, Brightman's, and
Bruce and Allan's Houses.
Persons of Half-blood, as the Law now stands, and under the
Regulations of the Company, can purchase Land in any Part of
India, can they not?
Yes, they can, but under all the Disadvantages of the Case,
arising from the imperfect State of the Law, and the corrupt
Administration of Justice in the Mofussil Courts.
And are not liable to be sent out of the Country?
No, certainly not.
Therefore they have those Advantages which are not possessed
Yes, such as they are.
What Establishments are there for the Education of Persons in
your Condition in Calcutta?
There is the Military Orphan School, which is supported by the
Subscriptions of the Army; and there is the Parental Academic
Institution, and the Calcutta Grammar School.
How many Persons may be educated in those Three Establishments?
There must be about 500 or 600 in the Military Orphan School
(the Upper and Lower Orphan School); perhaps 800, including
both Sexes. There are about 130 or 140 Boys in the Parental
Academic Institution, and about Forty or Fifty in the Grammar
School; and there are private Schools besides.
How high is Education carried in those Three Establishments
you have mentioned; to what Age do the Children continue
The Age of Seventeen or Eighteen in the Boys School.
The Boys and Girls are not together 'till that Age?
They are not in the same Building.
Have they any Means of Education after the Age of Seventeen?
They have no Collegiate Education after that.
There are no Means of Collegiate Education in Calcutta?
No, there are not; unless it is the Bishop's College, which is
confined to Missionary Purposes. The Parental Academic Institution has done a great deal in that way; it has succeeded to a
happy Extent in raising the Tone of Education in the Country.
Some Persons of Half-blood being educated as you have mentioned, and fit for higher Situations than those they can now hold;
there are others, are there not, who have no Education, and who
are in a State of great Destitution?
Yes; there are others who are educated in the Free School and
in the Benevolent Institution, and other Charitable Institutions.
In that Number of 20,000 you have mentioned, do you include
the Children of common Soldiers?
I include the whole Number.
Can you state with any degree of Accuracy the Proportion
which Persons in that State of Destitution, the Sons of common
Soldiers, and Persons of very low Condition, bear to the more
educated Class of which you have spoken?
They must form the great Majority.
What should you suppose to be the Number of the educated
Persons of whom you have spoken?
I should think there must be 1,500.
Of whom 1,000 are already employed; and of that 1,000,500
or 600 in Government Offices?
Are those who are the Children of common Soldiers in all Cases
They are brought up as Christians.
By whom are they brought up?
The Children of European Soldiers by Native Mothers are
brought up at the Lower Orphan School.
If born in the Country, what is done?
They are sent to the Lower Orphan School.
How are they disposed of when they grow up?
They are sent out as Drummers and Fifers, and so forth, and
apprenticed to Tradesmen.
Are there many of the Half-blood who are not Christians?
I am not aware of any; there may be some solitary Instances. I
understand, but I do not know how far it is true, that there are
some Europeans residing in the Interior, who, seeing the Disadvantages under which their Offspring labour, have preferred bringing them up as Mohamedans. I have understood that there are
some Cases of that kind in the Interior.
You are not able to give any general Idea of the Situations
which have been held by the Fathers of those Persons to the
Number of 1,500, of whom you have spoken as educated?
They have been in the Civil and Military Service of the Company, and in the King's Army, Merchants, Tradesmen and
Are Persons of that Class residing in the Interior entitled to the
Protection of the Habeas Corpus Act?
No, they are not.
They are treated in that respect as Native Subjects, even though
they may have purchased Land in the Interior?
Entirely as Natives.
They are liable to Imprisonment at the Discretion of the local
In the Petition which has been presented, it is stated, that by an
Enactment of the Local Government they have, as belonging to the
above-mentioned Class, that is the Class of Hindoos and Mohamedans, been deprived as a Body of the Protection of the Act of
Habeas Corpus; and the Regulation to which Reference is made
in the Margin is Regulation III. of 1818. Is not that a Regulation
for the Confinement of State Prisoners?
The Natives are not entitled to the Protection of that Act?
Therefore the Half-castes stand in the same Situation as Natives
in that respect?
Have you observed in the Persons of the Half-blood who are in
poor Circumstances, a strong Desire to improve their Situation in
Yes, there is a strong Desire of that kind.
Do you think they are under the Influence of a stronger Feeling
in that respect than the poorer Class of Hindoos and Mohamedans
Yes; from the nature of the Education they receive, and the
Principles in which they are brought up. This gives a different
Tone to the Mind.
Are you aware of any Applications having been made to the
Government for pecuniary Aid to those Schools you have
Yes; there were Three different Applications made to the
Government: One was for the Supply of Medicines for the Parental
Academic Institution, and Two Applications for pecuniary
Assistance; but they were one and all refused.
Would not that Assistance, if it had been afforded, have been as
valuable, from the Sanction that it would have afforded to the
Schools, as from the Amount of pecuniary Aid that might have
Are you aware of Persons of the Half-blood having been employed in Situations that have required a remarkable degree of
Circumspection and Propriety of Conduct; as Teachers of Religion,
They have been employed as Missionaries in some Parts of the
Have they been employed as Preachers, or chiefly in the Business
In both. They have been employed as Teachers of Schools, and
also as Preachers of the Gospel.
Have you heard of their having subjected themselves in those
Employments to any degree of Reproach or Censure?
No, certainly not; they are still so employed.
Do you not think that the Influence which they would
possess in such Employments would be very much increased
by the Removal of those Restrictions to which they are now
Certainly. It is a Thing for which the Natives themselves
cannot account, that the Government should reject, as it does, their
own Christian Offspring, and treat them with marked Neglect and
Do you not think that the disadvantageous Situation in which
they are now placed in the Provincial Courts of Law is extremely
unfavourable to their Employment and the Means of investing
Capital in those Situations?
It operates very injuriously in that Way: it must prevent their
Residence in the Interior.
Can you from any Idea of the Proportion in which Persons of
the Half-blood have increased within the last Ten Years, as compared
with the European Population?
I cannot form any precise Idea of it; but the Population has
increased very rapidly within the last Fifteen or Twenty Years, and
is still increasing. The full Tide of our Population has flowed in,
and must increase; there is no stopping it.
Are the same Branches of Knowledge taught in the Schools in
which the Persons of Half-blood are educated as in the European
The same. My Opinion of the Education in Calcutta is such,
that, having brought Two of my own Sons to England for Education,
and not being satisfied with what I have seen in this Country, it is
my Intention to take them back again to be educated in Calcutta.
I give the Preference to an Education in Calcutta; that is, I see
no Necessity for the Sacrifice of tearing Children from their Parents,
and sending them away to England for Education.
Is more Attention paid to the Acquisition of the Native Languages in the Schools in which Persons of Half-blood are educated
than in others?
Yes. We employ Native Teachers for Instruction in Bengalee
and Persian. That is a particular Branch of Education.
Do you not think, then, that if the Restrictions under which
they now labour were removed, their Proficiency in the Native
Languages would give them a very considerable Advantage over
every other Description of Inhabitants of India?
Certainly; as Natives of the Country, and as Fixtures of the
Soil, they might be rendered Instruments of great Good to the
Country. If the real Interests of India be sought, those Interests
cannot be more effectually promoted than through the Instrumentality of those who have been born, educated, and have spent their
Lives in the Country; that is my firm Opinion.
Will you state whether you are acquainted with any Circumstances of Persons of your Class who have been subjected to
Detention by the Government under the Regulation of the Year
I am not aware of any Instance.
You are one of the Persons who have signed the Petition to
which Reference has been made?
You state in that that the Rule and Regulation of the Government of The East India Company has, by clear and express
Declaration, included your Petitioners in the Class of Native
Subjects of the British Government. Is the Offspring of European
Fathers and of Indian Mothers, supposing a Marriage to have
taken place, classed by those Regulations as Native Subjects of the
If born in Wedlock, by the Law of England they are British
They are entitled to all the Privileges of British Subjects?
Clearly; but, practically speaking, they labour under the same
Disabilities as those born out of Wedlock.
The Grievances of which this Petition complains refer to those
that are illegitimate Children?
Yes, and also to their Offspring born in Wedlock.
Have you known many Instances of Europeans being married
to Native Women?
There have been One or Two Instances. I think Mr. Harington,
who was afterwards a Member of Council, married a Native
Do not such Instances occur among the European Soldiers and
Persons in that Rank of Life?
They are married to Native Christian Women, but not to
Hindoos and Mohamedans. I mean that they are married to
Portuguese Women, as they are called.
The Ladies of Half-blood are very extensively married to
Europeans; are they not?
Yes, they are.
In their Case their Offspring become entitled to all the Privileges
of British Subjects?
Yes; but should we marry European Women on our Part, our
Offspring are not British Subjects.
Do you think that if the Half-castes were put on the Footing
desired by that Petition, that would tend very much to increase the
Number of them?
I do not know that that would tend either to increase or decrease
the Number; but it would certainly tend to place them on a more
Is it not the Case as to the illegitimate Son of an Hindoo
Mother by an European Father, in the Case of his Civil Affairs
they would be governed by the Hindoo Code; and if the Son of a
Mohamedan Mother by an European Father, then by the Mohamedan
That would strictly be the Case; but they are generally dealt
with as Mohamedans in the Native Courts.
Might not the Son of an Hindoo Mother claim that his Suit
should be decided according to the Hindoo Law?
Certainly he might do so; there could be no Objection to it.
The Judge could not refuse so to decide?
No, he could not.
Would the Appointment of Persons of your Class to Offices
from which they are at present excluded raise their Respectability
in the Eyes of the Natives, or would it be seen by them in an
It would raise them in the Estimation of the Natives, who are at
all Times disposed to identify them with their Fathers; and it is
the marked Distinction that prevails which attracts their Notice;
it is a Thing for which they cannot account.
You mentioned that your Applications to the Government for
pecuniary Assistance to the Institutions for Education were refused;
do you remember the Grounds on which they were refused?
There was no Reason assigned; the Letter merely stated that
Government did not deem it expedient to comply with our Application.
There was nothing in the Letter which could lead you to suppose
it was grounded on any Principles applicable alone to the Class of
Coupling it with the general Tenor of the Company's Policy
towards our Class, it could have made no other but that one Impression, that the Refusal was grounded on the Application having
come from our Class, and from the Institution in fact being an
Institution that originated with and was supported by our Class.
Was not that Answer which you received from Government the
same as had been returned to similar Applications from different
Descriptions of Charities?
I remember Doctor Marshman having made an Application for
pecuniary Assistance for the Benevolent Institution, and that Application was complied with; and Mr. Thomason having made an
Application for the Female Asylum, which was also complied with,
and the Government made a similar Grant to other Institutions, in
consequence of Applications from Europeans in their Behalf; such
as the Free School and some others.
Do you recollect any Instance of Grants having been refused,
which were applied for on similar Grounds to that you referred
I am not aware of any.
What Situation do you hold yourself in Calcutta?
I was in the Office of the Board of Customs.
State the Name of the Office?
What was your Salary?
300 Rupees a Month.
Have you any Objection to state who your Father was?
He was an Ensign in the Engineers, and died at the Siege of
Seringapatam in the Year 1792.
Where were you yourself educated?
In Calcutta; in the School supported by the Army,-the Military Orphan Society.
Did you go to any other School after you left that?
No, I did not. There is one Circumstance that I omitted to
state, which is this, that many of my Countrymen have been educated in England, Scotland and Ireland, but on their going back to
India they have been so much disappointed at the State of Things
that they have in many Instances returned to Europe to seek a
Livelihood, finding that the Door was completely shut against
them in their own Native Country. I mean Men of the first-rate
Did those Persons return to India during the Lifetime of their
Yes, in some Cases. There was the Son of a General Officer,
who returned in the Year 1825; he had obtained the Diploma of
Doctor of Medicine, and went out to practise, but he found that
the State of Society was such as to compel him to return to Europe,
and I believe he is now practising in this Country. There have
been some other Instances of this kind.
Have those Persons generally returned to India as Men to seek
their own Livelihood, or were they called to India by their Fathers,
after having completed a Portion of their Education in this
In some Instances they have been called by their Fathers; in
others they have gone out of their own Accord.
Have they upon Arrival in India been excluded from the British
Not altogether excluded; but they have soon been able to feel
the Public Pulse on the Subject, and they could not brook any
thing of that kind, and they would therefore much rather return
to Europe than drag out an uncomfortable Existence like that in
Are any of them practising to any Extent in the Medical Profession in India?
There are Two or Three.
They are received in Society, of course.
They are received in a certain Class of Society.
There was nothing in the Company's Regulations that prevented
the Employment of the Physician to whom you have referred?
No, not applicable to him individually.
Was he employed by Europeans?
He did not remain long enough in Calcutta to ascertain that; the
Moment he saw the State of Things, he returned to England.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Thomas Harvey Baber Esquire is called in, and examined as
In what Situation were you in India?
I was employed for the First Ten Years in the Revenue Department, also a Judicial Officer.
In what Part of India?
On the Western Coast principally; in the Malabar Province.
From 1798 to 1808 I was employed in the Revenue Department,
as above; from 1808 to 1816 in the Capacity of Zillah Judge, first
of the Zillah Court of Tillicherry, and afterwards of Mangalore;
from 1816 to 1824 as Third Judge of the Provincial Court of Circuit and Appeal in the Western Division; from 1824 to 1827 as
Principal Collector and Political Agent of the Southern Mahratta
Country; and from 1827 to 1828 (January 30) as Chief Judge
of the Provincial Court of Circuit and Appeal in the Western
Will you state by what Classes of People Malabar is inhabited?
By Hindoos and Mohamedans, and a great many Christians.
I can give the Average of the Number. The different Classes of
the Hindoos, I apprehend, are about Four Fifths of the whole
Population, the Mohamedans nearly One Fifth. There are about
10,000 Christians altogether in Malabar, and about 50,000 in
Canara. The Mohamedans differ from those of Hindostan or
the Carnatic; they are called Mopillas, Anglicè, Sons of their
There are many Arabs, are there not?
A few of the Mopillas are Descendants of Arabs.
Do many Arabs still come over to the Country?
Constantly; every Year.
What is the Condition of the Christians of whom you have
They are Descendants from Europeans; some few from Englishmen, but chiefly from Dutch, French and Portuguese; also Native
They are all of the Half-blood, are they?
Their Ancestors married or formed Connexions with Native
Women; but there are very few of those Half-castes remaining.
The Remainder are Descendants of those Half-castes.
Are there any Christians among them who appear to have any
The greater Proportion of them are fully, with respect to Colour,
as dark as the Natives themselves.
Are there many Christians among them who appear not to have
descended at any Distance of Time from Europeans; to be pure
There are about 10,000 Christians altogether in Malabar, I
should imagine, chiefly of the Roman Catholic Church.
What is the Tenure of Land in Malabar?
The Property in the Soil exists as strong as it does in this Country;
it is more properly allodial; the Name of it is Jelm, which means
Is Property of that kind equally possessed by Christians, Mohamedans and Hindoos?
Are the Properties of any considerable Extent?
They are divided and subdivided. There are Estates so small as
to produce hardly a Rupee a Year Patom or Rent; on the other
Hand, there are Estates which produce perhaps from 5,000 to
10,000 Rupees. Some Individuals possess from Ten to One hundred
Estates; the Zamorin Rajah for instance: his Domains (Crown
Lands) probably bring him a Revenue of from 20,000 to 50,000
Rupees a Year; I cannot exactly mention the Amount, for they are
distributed all over the Country.
Do those great Proprietors manage all their Estates themselves,
or lease them to Tenants?
They lease them almost exclusively, except perhaps the
Land on which their Family House stands, which they never part
What is the Extent of those Leases?
If Garden Land, Twelve Years is the general Period; but this is
often continued from Generation to Generation, without going
through the Form of drawing out a new Lease or a new
Are they in the habit of altering the Rent from Year to
Yes; Garden Lands at the Expiration of the Leases, but not
Paddy Fields, (that is Rice Fields,) which never undergo any
Change, unless it is Land newly brought into Cultivation.
There is in those Cases an Hereditary Tenant who pays the same
Rent which has been paid by his Predecessor?
Yes; but there are Two Descriptions of Tenants; what are
called the Jelm, or permanent Hereditary Tenants, and the temporary, or Tenants at Will. In Canara the former are called
Moolgueny, or Hereditary, and the latter Chaly Gueny; in Malabar
the former are called Jelm Patom and Jelm Koori, the latter Koori
Kanum, or simply Patamkar. Jelm, as I have before said, means
In what Manner is the Government Revenue assessed on those
There is no actual Standard; there never has been a Standard.
In fact we have perpetuated the System we found established by
Hyder, and afterwards by Tippoo.
What is that System?
It varies in different Parts of the District. In the Province
of Canara it is about Twenty-five per Cent. in Malabar about
Thirty, that is, of the Gross Produce; though this is after all but
Is that Revenue collected from the Tenants, or from the Proprietors?
Partly from the Proprietors and partly from the Tenants;
it depends entirely on the Will and Pleasure of the Proprietor.
Have there been any Sales of Land for Arrear of Revenue?
Very considerable; so much so that almost an entire Revolution
has taken place in Property, owing to these and Sales in Execution
of Judgments of Courts, within the last Thirty Years. When they
have been sold, many of them have not fetched One Fifth of their
Value; that is, original Cost.
Where a Tenant of a small Estate failed to pay the Revenue,
did the Collector immediately sell that Portion of the Estate?
No. In the first instance his Person was liable, then his
moveable Property; every Article of every Description, every
thing which could be laid hold of, was seized and sold; and that
failing, then the Land; even Slaves have been sold the same as
Did not the Collector apply to the Proprietor for the Payment
of that Revenue deficient on One of the small Estates?
Not unless the Proprietor's Name was registered in the Revenue
Accounts as the responsible Person.
By the Nonpayment of Revenue, on the Part of a Tenant, the
Property occupied by that Tenant might be sold without the Knowledge of the Proprietor?
It was very often sold. The Proprietor might step in and tender
the Sum, if it was worth his while, or he could raise the Means so
Had the Proprietor, after the Sale, any Power of repurchasing
The same as all other Persons, but none in consequence of his
having been the former Tenant or Proprietor; he came into the
Market in the same Manner as other Persons, but not in consequence of any former inherent Right.
Supposing the Estate to have been sold without his Knowledge,
had he the Power of repurchasing it?
He could not prevent the Sale; it was gone from him and his
Family to all Intents and Purposes.
Has any Commission been sent into that Part of the Country to
remedy any Inconvenience that might result from that State of the
Yes; Three. The first in 1807, under Mr. William Thackeray;
afterwards, in 1817, Sir Thomas Munro; and in 1819, to the best
of my Recollection, Mr. Græme, the late acting Governor at
What Measures where adopted by those several Commissioners?
Reports and Recommendations were sent up to the Government, and more especially by Mr. Græme; and Regulations were
drawn out, also Surveys were made, which were about to have beer
acted upon, but there were Objections to them on the Part of the
Nothing has been done?
Not that I know of. There was something doing when I left
Malabar in 1828, I believe; but I am not aware of the Extent or
Effect of it.
Is the Country well cultivated?
Highly; a Garden from one End of it to the other.
Was that so at the Time we first obtained Possession of it?
Not so much so as at the present Moment; the Country had
been a Prey to intestine Wars and Rebellions for Years, and
in consequence a great Part of the Population had fled to the
Cochin and Travancore Countries, nearly all of whom have since
Who were the chief Purchasers of the Estates which were
Mopillas, and the Public Servants; that is, Persons in the
Receipt of Salaries from the Government; these in fact have been
the most thriving.
Are the Mopillas engaged in Trade?
They are; the whole of them are Merchants and Shopkeepers,
as well as Land Proprietors and Cultivators.
Therefore they invested the Fortunes they have had in
Do they trade much with the Coast of Arabia?
With the Persian Gulf?
Yes; with the Red Sea, especially Judda, Aden, Mecca, and
Medina, and generally with all the Ports in the Red Sea.
Are their Vessels numerous?
They were; but they are not now Half what they were,
in consequence of the Monopoly of Timber by the Government, who assumed and declared the Forests to be Royalties,
instead of which, those in Malabar have been purchased or
inherited in the same Way as every other Description of Landed
Are they unable in consequence to build Vessels?
They were for some Years. I have seen several Applications, both to
the Bombay and Madras Governments, requesting Permission to fell
Timber themselves, or to purchase Timber of the original Proprietors; which Requests were invariably refused, on the Ground
that the Timber was required for Naval Purposes.
Has it been used for such Purposes?
Yes, it has, to a great Extent: but a certain Portion has been
sold, chiefly what is called the Refuse, or Second and Third Sorts.
What Description of Wood?
Chiefly Teak and Poon.
Who were the Purchasers of the Timber which was sold, which
you call the Refuse Timber?
Arabs, Parsees, and occasionally some of the Inhabitants
What is the Size of the Vessels?
The Size of the Vessels was from One hundred to Five hundred
Tons. I can mention the Names of some of the Ship Owners: the
Beebee or Queen of Cananore. This Lady is Queen in her own
How many Vessels has she?
She had previous to the Monopoly Nine; she has now Four or
Five. Chowakkara Kunhy Packey, the Heir of old Moossa, a Man
well known on the Western Coast, had Twelve; that is, Moossa
himself had. These are reduced, I think, to Seven. I can
mention their Names and Burthen.
What was the total Number of those Vessels?
At one Time, from Twenty to Thirty of from One hundred to
Five hundred Tons Burthen, belonging to the above Two Persons
and other Ship Owners; besides which there were other Descriptions
of Vessels, such as Botillas, Dows, Dingeys, and Patamars and
Those smaller Vessels carried on the Coasting Trade?
Yes; and some of the largest of them go up to Mocha, Judda and
other Places in the Red Sea; also to Muscat, Bushire and Bussora,
in the Persian Gulf; Porabunder, Cambay, Cutch, Sind, and a long
Way up the Indus.
To what Town on the Indus did those Vessels go; did they go to
Hydrabad or Sind?
Yes; I believe they go up so far at least. I have seen Bales of
Cashmere Shawls brought amongst the Return Cargoes.
Are you aware whether they have ascended the River of Punjab?
No; I am not aware of any Communication with the Punjab
Rivers. They go up the Indus; but I am not aware of their going
there further than that. I know that Peishwoor Merchants have
come down in Sind Boats.
Trade to a considerable Extent is carried on to Shiccapore, is it
No, I am not aware of that.
What are the Articles which are exported in those Vessels to the
Pepper, Cardamums, Rice, Paddy, (or Rice in the Husk,) Grain
of all Descriptions, Arrow Root, Ginger, Cocoa Nuts, Kopra,
(Kernel of the Cocoa Nut,) Cocoa Nut Oil, and Coir, which is
made from the Fibres of the Cocoa Nut. The Value of the Produce
of the Cocoa Nut Tree alone, exported from the Western Coast, is
supposed to be an Hundred Lacs of Rupees.
From what Ports do those Exportations chiefly take place?
From Cochin, Chowgaut, Panany, Tanore, Perperangady, Beypoor,
Calicut or Kohicote, Quilandy, (which is a favourite Arab Port,)
Kotah, Barragurry, Mahe, Tellicherry, Cananore, Cavai, Bekklum,
Mangalore, Cundapore, Onore, Cumpty, Seedashagur, besides
numerous intermediate Ports.
Is Quilandy a good Port?
Yes; there are more of the Arabs congregate there, and more
Mosques, than in any other Port on the Coast. The Mopillas here
are the fairest of all the Mohamedans.
Can Vessels of 700 Tons enter every one of those Ports?
They can approach as near as a Thousand Yards of the Shore
with perfect Safety, nearly all along the Coast.
Are they safe in those Ports during the Monsoons?
No; the strongest Vessel that was ever built could not ride out
a Malabar Monsoon. One or Two Attempts have been made
within my Observation, but they were obliged to go off.
Where do they go to when they are obliged to go off?
To Bombay; some to Cochin, where there is a very fine River.
What are the chief Importations from the Red Sea?
Coffee, Dates, and Gold Dust; Almonds, Kissmisses, (dried
Grapes,) Prunes, Gums, Drugs, Perfumes, Elephants Teeth.
There are several others which I cannot call to Recollection at
this Moment; but chiefly, however, they bring Specie, in Venetians
or Sequins and Dollars.
Do you know how far up the Red Sea those Vessels go?
The full Extent of the Red Sea. Very few of the Malabar Vessels
go up that length, but they have Agents or Commercial Dealings
the whole Way to Suez.
How far do the Vessels go?
To Cosheir, I think.
Have you heard of their being frequently lost?
No; very rarely indeed.
What Time do they occupy in going and returning?
They generally go before the Monsoon, and return after the
Monsoon; or rather from January to April, and return from the
Beginning of August to January.
From what Part of the Coast of Arabia do the Arabs chiefly
Chiefly from Arabia Felix.
From any principal Port?
From Aden, Judda, Mocha and Muscat, and all the Ports at the
Mouth of the Red Sea.
Is much Trade carried on with Muscat?
A great deal, particularly with the Port of Cochin.
Are you aware whether any great Difficulties were experienced by
the Merchants who come down the Indus?
No, I am not aware of any. Pirates were common some Years
ago, but they are all destroyed, I believe, now.
The Question applies to the Navigation of the Indus itself?
No, I am not aware of any Impediment. I have often talked to
the Sind Merchants whom I have met with at Tellicherry, Calicut,
and Mangalore, but I have never been apprized of any particular
What are the Returns from Sind?
Cotton Piece Goods are all I can call to Recollection just now,
except Shawls; but chiefly Specie. I think they generally purchase
their Return Cargo with Money, which is so valuable to them.
How is Justice administered in Malabar?
According to the Regulations of Government, adopted from
Just as it is in the other Parts of the Territories under Madras?
Precisely the same. What is called the Civil Law is the Local
Law of Malabar and Canara, called Deshachari, which differs
entirely from the ancient Hindoo Law as contained in their Shasters,
named Iruti, Dherma Shastra, Mimamsa, Dya Bhaga, &c.; for
instance, the Local Law of Succession, Descent and Inheritance
is totally distinct, perhaps peculiar to the Western Coast, where
Property descends, not from the Mother to the Son, but the
Sister's Sons, and those failing to the Aunts on the Mother's Side
and their Descendants. This is called Maramakatajum; AnglicÀ,
Is that peculiar to the Hindoo Part of the Population?
No; many of the Mopillas, especially the Two head Families
(viz. the Beebee of Cananore and Chowakkara) I have mentioned,
follow the same Rule.
As well as the Hindoos?
Yes, but not the whole; a Portion of them follow the Law of
Does this Law of Descent adhere to the Family or the Land?
If the Land was purchased by a Person of a different Religion,
would it still descend according to the original Order?
It depends upon who the Purchaser was; if a Hindoo, or Mopilla
following the Local Law, it is in his Gift; or it may go in the Way
the Property was inherited, provided it can be ascertained or proved
that it was purchased with the Proceeds of the Hereditary Property.
The senior Male of the Family is generally considered as the
Manager, although properly speaking the senior Female is the
lawful Proprietor. The Cananore Beebee, for instance, also the
Ranny or Queen of Travancore, under the Name of Attinga Umma
Tamburattes. Treaties, every thing of Importance, is or should
be done in her Name, though the Rajah her Son is the ruling
Rajah. The Husband or Father are never mentioned, and with
the Hindoo Rajahs perhaps not known.
Does Property more usually descend in the Female than in the
Always with the Hindoos, excepting the Brahmins, in the Female
Line; but the Sons of the Females are the Managers of the Property. One of the most reproachful Terms in Malabar is calling a
Man Appa; Anglicè, Father.
Are Punchayets used in Criminal Suits in that Country?
Not since the Establishment of the Company's Dominion.
Were they exceedingly used before?
There were what were called Sabbahs, or Assemblages of influential Men, though not exactly of the Nature of Punchayets; but
in point of fact there was no regular Administration of Criminal
Justice at any Time.
Will you state your Opinion as to the practicability of introducing the Use of Native Juries in the Administration of Civil and
Criminal Justice in Malabar?
It would be the most acceptable Alteration to the People that
could be introduced; it is the one Thing wanting in the Part of
India I have been employed in.
In that Part of India are the People who would be called to
serve on Juries superior to those who would be called upon for the
same Purpose in other Parts of India?
I think they are. They would be taken discriminately, I should
Are there Persons of higher Description in Malabar?
There are nearly 300 different Castes of People in Malabar.
Are there Persons better educated in Malabar, possessed of more
Property, and altogether really more fit to perform the Duties of a
Juryman, than there are in other Parts of India with which you
The only Parts of India I can speak to are the Southern Mahratta
Country; that is, the Country from the Kistna River down to the
Toongbudra, comprising a Population of about a Million and a Half
of Souls; and the Western Coast Provinces, composing a Population of between Two and Three Millions. I should say decidedly
that the People of Malabar were the most intelligent and best
informed of any Natives I have ever met with.
Have they ever expressed a Wish to be admitted to any Share
in the Administration of Justice?
Yes, frequently. When I was senior Judge of the Provincial
Court of the Western Division, I was particularly directed to
ascertain the Feeling of the People upon that Question. I have
now brought with me Two Letters I received from Mr. Græme, the
then Acting Governor of Madras, upon the Subject, which I can
produce, if it is desired.
The same are delivered in, and read; and are as follow:
"My dear Baber, Madras, 21st August 1827.
"Your Opinion has always been in favour of the Independence,
the Intelligence and the general good Character of the Inhabitants
of Malabar; and you have always wished to raise them to the
Possession of all Rights and Privileges that might be consistent
with a due Subordination to the Government, and that would
add to their Moral Happiness; you will therefore, I think, read
with Pleasure the enclosed Draft of a Regulation preparing to
establish Juries. It is thought better to confine them at present
to those Places where the Zeal, the Ability and the Concurrence
of the presiding Judge in the Expediency of the Measure may
hold out the most rational prospect of its Success, and I am naturally anxious to know the Sentiments of one in every way so well
qualified as yourself to give Effect to an important Institution, if
you think it adapted to the State of Malabar. By your Answer
I shall be determined on the Propriety, or otherwise, of proposing
to extend the Jury Regulation to Malabar."
"My dear Baber, Madras, 15th September 1827.
"It gives me great Pleasure that you take up the Jury Regulation with your characteristic Ardour, for there can be little
Doubt that with your Talent and perfect Knowledge of the Language and Character of the Malabar People, and your Partiality
for them, the Measure will succeed in your Hands. The Regulation, modified by the Sudder, and sanctioned by Government,
will be published in a few Days; when, upon expressing your
Sentiments officially, the Government will be enabled to use the
Discretion vested by the Regulation, by directing its being introduced into Malabar, when you may be known to be presiding at
the Quarter Sessions."
Did that first Letter enclose the Draft of the Regulations?
It did. I have a Copy of the Regulation which was subsequently
passed by The Governor in Council. There were some Objections
made after Sir Thomas Munro's Death, and it was never, in consequence, carried into Effect. I can give your Lordships an
Account how this Jury Regulation commenced, if it is wished.
Two Judges of the Centre Division, of the Names of Newnham and
Dacre, gave in a Minute to the late Governor Sir Thomas Munro,
proposing the Introduction of Trial by Native Juries. The Grounds
were as follow:-To remedy the double Inconvenience arising from
the Foreign Origin of both English Judges and Mohamedan Law
Officers, and to remove the Niceties of the Law, or rather
Scruples of the Law Officers, in respect to Evidence, and generally
to facilitate the Dispensation of Criminal Justice. So imperfect
was the Law itself, (the Mohamedan Law,) and so utterly ignorant
were the Mohamedans themselves of their own Law under the
Madras Presidency, that it was found necessary to import Mohamedan Law Officers from Bengal, Hindostan, Oude, Surat, &c. into
the Madras Presidency, on the first Establishment of the Judicial
Code. Moreover, those Mohamedan Law Officers, so imported
from Bengal, Hindostan, &c. laboured under the Disadvantage of
being totally ignorant of the local or vernacular Tongues of the
different Provinces wherein they were employed; and it became
necessary, in consequence, to interpret and translate into Persian
the Proceedings held in those Languages, for their Use. The subsequent Modifications of the Mohamedan Law, introduced in the
Judicial Code at the Suggestion of the European Judges, almost
superseded the Mohamedan Law altogether; for instance, where a
Man was convicted of having seriously wounded, or of having
robbed by open Violence, the Code of Regulations of the Madras
Government fixed the Punishment. Of what Use then, these
Gentlemen asked, was it to apply to the Law Officer for his
Scruples, that the Court might overrule them? In Cases where
the Punishment was not specified, or the Offence not provided for,
a Reference might then be necessary to the Law Officer; not
however for the Fact, for that could be decided by the Jury, (for at
present the Mohamedan Law Officers are Judges both of the Fact
and of the Law under the Madras Presidency, and under the
Bombay Presidency they are merely the Judges of the Law,) but
as to the Law itself, (as an abstract Question;) consequently no
Necessity could exist for Persian Translates of the Record.
Doubtful Points of Evidence might also be referred to the Law
Officers. Juries would be no Innovation; on the contrary, would
approximate the Administration during the Native Government, by
Sabbahs, or Convocations of their Countrymen. The absurd
Objections to the Evidence of Police Officers would no longer
exist; the innocent would be secure from falling Victims to false
Prosecutions; and the really guilty would find it more difficult to
escape than at present. Such were, as I understood, the principal
Arguments of the Two Gentlemen above mentioned. Sir Thomas
Munro's (the late Governor of Madras) Arguments were, that the
Way to extend the Knowledge of the People, and to elevate the
Native Character, would be, by bringing them into contact with
ourselves in every Department, in order that they might perceive
and understand the enlarged Views of Europeans in all Matters of
Government; that the Natives themselves are much better able to
trace Facts and judge of the Credibility of Evidence than ourselves
or Mohamedan Law Officers; that long Experience had shewn how
utterly unsuited the present System of Criminal Law was to the
Circumstances of the People, or Wants of the Country. He
observed also on the absurd Scruples of Mohamedan Law Officers;
on the Delays and Waste of Time in recording and translating
Evidence, and preparing Trials for reference to the Foujdarry
Adawlut, (the Superior Court at the Presidency.) He further
observed as to the superior Competence of Judges presiding on
Trials over those of the Foujdarry Adawlut of the Presidency, from
the Circumstance of the latter not seeing or hearing the Evidence.
He adverted to the Objections raised by the Mohamedan Law
Officers in regard to the Inadmissibility of the Evidence of Police
Officers because in the Pay of Government, also of those of the
Inhabitants who were engaged in Conflicts with Offenders. All
which, and other similar Objections, would be obviated by Trial by
Jury. Furthermore, he thought that public Curiosity would be
excited by Native Juries; that the Courts would be crowded; and
that the consequent Presence of their Countrymen would operate
as a Check upon Jurymen being partial. The above Views and
Opinions having been concurred in by the Acting Governor,
Mr. Græme, a Reference was made to the Foujdarry Adawlut, by
whom a revised Regulation for the Trial by Jury was submitted, on
the 6th of September 1827, professedly as calculated to facilitate the
Operation of the Jury System. The Judges, in re-transmitting it,
observed, that they had consulted several highly intelligent Natives,
who had given their readiest Aid and much useful Information to
them. In their Alterations of the Draft of the Regulation sent
them by Government they raised the Allowance to Jurors from
Half to One Rupee per Day; observing that the Difference of
Expence would not be worthy of Consideration, compared to the
Saving in translating and in transcribing the Proceedings, and in
preparing and reporting upon referable Trials to themselves. To
that Part of the Regulation that empowered the Foujdarry
Adawlut to quash the Verdict of a Jury, they thought that a new
Trial was preferable; and that it would be better, in order to
provide against unjust Verdicts, that a sovereign Power of Pardon
should be lodged in The Governor in Council. They concluded
their Observations by an Opinion that, though the Regulation was
not perfect, it would still, in its present Form, work well in
Practice; and they had no doubt that Trial by Jury would be
popular and successful beyond even the Expectations of Government. After Sir Thomas Munro's Death, Sir George Walker, the
Commander-in-Chief, and Mr. Ogilvie, Third Member of Council,
expressed some Doubts of the Policy and Expediency of the
Introduction of Trial by Jury. Sir George Walker observed, that
Punchayet Arbitrations were such a Decision as might have been
come to by drawing Straws, provided, that is, neither Party were
bribed; that he himself had no Confidence in the Integrity of
Persons to be employed as Jurors; and he did not conceive the
Character of the People would be raised by this Mode of distributing Justice. He concurred in Sir Thomas Munro's Observations
regarding Mohamedan Law Officers, and was at a loss to understand upon what Principle such a Personage was ever introduced.
Mr. Ogilvie did not think the Natives were morally fit to discharge
the Duty with Integrity and Impartiality. He apprehended that
they would consider it a great Inconvenience to be put upon
Juries; and that their Caste Prejudices might interfere; for
instance, that Brahmins would not be convicted of any Crime the
Punishment of which would expose them to Infamy or Degradation; also Sectarism, such as the Right Hand and Left Hand
Castes. Notwithstanding which, he still thought that the proposed
Measure of Trial by Jury offered the most efficacious Means of
remedying the Defects of the present System. Mr. Græme, the
Second Member of the Council's Opinions were in entire Accordance with Sir Thomas Munro's. After this, on the 11th of September 1827, a Regulation, No.X. A.D. 1827, "for the gradual
Introduction of Trial by Jury," was passed by The Governor in
Council. Nothing appears to have been done until after
Mr. Lushington's assuming Charge of the Government. In
December 1827 he recorded his View of the Jury Regulation; in
the course of which he observed that the most remarkable Feature
was the Precipitancy with which this great Change in the Administration had been introduced; that, in disregard of all the wholesome Restraints of the Regulations, neither the Provincial or the
Sudder Courts had maturely examined and discussed the Subject;
and the Regulation had been passed in Defiance of the Commander-in-Chief's earnest Entreaty, that the Board would pause
before it authorized a Plan replete with so much Mischief.
Mr. Lushington thereupon proposed that a Reference be made to
all the Judicial Officers and the Principal Collectors for their
Sentiments, until which were received the Regulation be suspended.
Mr. Græme, Second Member of Council, dissented from the above,
and amongst other Observations stated, that the Judges of the
Foujdarry Adawlut had expressed themselves decidedly in favour
of the Trial by Jury. The Commander-in-Chief and Mr. Ogilvie
approved of Mr. Lushington's Proposition to take the Opinion of
the Judicial Officers generally; and, in consequence, References
were made to the whole of them, and certain Questions were
circulated for their Answers. Having shortly after this left India,
what has since taken place I only know from Report. With
respect to my own Sentiments, it has always appeared to me that
the most powerful Engine that could be devised to secure the
Popularity and Permanency of our Government in India, would
be, by the Introduction of Trial by Jury. A large Portion of the
People would not only be introduced to a partial Acquaintance
with the Laws, but Self-importance and Vanity would be gratified,
by the Notion that those who were engaged as Jurors participated
in the Administration of the Laws, and consequently in the Support
and Management of Public Affairs. That this Participation and
this Conviction (so long only, that is, as they maintained the
Character of Integrity and Impartiality,) would be the Means of
instilling and rendering habitual to their Minds more settled
Notions of Rectitude than have hitherto prevailed. That the true
Merits of a Case would be much better known by the Natives
themselves than by ourselves, much less by Mohamedan Law
Officers. Sentences would be much more popular, and even
Punishments more striking and exemplary, than they are under
the present System. At all events, that this Advantage would be
gained, that if Injustice is done, if the innocent do suffer, or the
guilty do escape Punishment, the Odium would be transferred from
ourselves to the Natives themselves; and though last not the least
important Consideration, the Saving in Judicial Establishments,
both European and Native, in the whole of the Courts of Justice
would be considerable.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Friday next,