Die Martis, 6 Aprilis 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Thomas Harvey Baber Esquire is called in, and further examined
Was there not a Monopoly of Tobacco established in Malabar?
There was, and is still.
In what Year was that established?
I think it was in the Year 1806. It was a Year or Two previous
to the Regulation having been passed legalizing it.
Were you in Malabar previous to the Imposition of that
I was for some Years.
Can you judge of the Effects it had upon the People, as to
the Price of Tobacco, and as to the Oppressions which grew
out of it?
It has been one of the principal Subjects of Complaint from the
Time of its first Institution up to the present Day. The Monopoly in the first Instance raised the Price from Three to Four
hundred per Cent. and, owing to the Abuses in the Management,
often to from Seven to Eight hundred per Cent. to the Consumer.
Is Tobacco an Article in much Use amongst the People in
Universally. It is a Necessary of Life in that Country.
Is it grown in Malabar?
A very little in the Mountains; but the Cultivation is prohibited,
except in a very few Instances.
Is the Consequence of Monopoly to introduce much Smuggling?
Yes; and with it its concomitant Evils, a great deal of Crime.
The Smugglers, in Bodies from Fifty to a Hundred, often assemble,
and plunder wherever they go, and have been known to overpower
the Police. In Coimbatore, where they go to bring the Tobacco,
very great Enormities have also been committed. I can read to
your Lordships a short Paper upon the Subject, which will give
a full Insight into these Things. It was introduced in a Memorial
I addressed to the Court of Directors in August last, after my
Return to this Country. "Tobacco Monopoly Abuses. - "The
Complaints on the Tobacco and Salt Monopolies were first noticed
by me in my Report dated 28th December 1808. The Subject was
repeated at every new Abuse, and at length attracted the Notice of
Sir Thomas Munro and Mr. Commissioner Græme. Not only had
the People to pay the Company's Monopoly Price, which was about
Four hundred per Cent. upon the Selling Price when the Monopoly was first introduced, but the additional Profit put on by the
Retailers, besides cheating by means of false Weights, watering, &c.
Mr. Reid, the Second Judge of the Provincial Court in the
Southern Division, and the Judges of the Sudder Adawlut, also
took up the Subject; and in consequence, after long Discussions,
the Monopoly Price was reduced, in February 1816, from 228 to
175 Rupees per Candy; and the then Collector (Mr. Vaughan) in
the same Year reported that it was not unfrequently sold at 200 per
Cent. on the Monopoly Price, (R. 175 + 3 = 525 per Candy,) or
more than 800 per Cent. upon the Selling Price to the Consumer
when the Monopoly was first introduced. Nor were the Tobacco
Grower's Grievances inferior to the Consumer's owing to the overgrown Influence of one Cassee Chitty, the late Collector Mr. William
Garrow's confidential Servant in Coimbatore; in consequence of
which the Ryots got but a Moiety of what the Government ordered
them to be paid for their Tobacco, (R. 24 per Candy,) and on this
Account alone sustained a total Loss in Four Years (as reported by
the Commissioners, Sir Thomas Munro and Mr. John Sullivan,) of
4.55.000 Rupees; and Mr. Sullivan has further shewn, in his
Report to the Board of Revenue, that the People of Coimbatore
have just Cause of Complaint against Government, for their Interference in their Cultivation and Disposal of Tobacco, after having
permanently fixed the Land Assessments; and he observes, that
'to make free Markets, free Prices, and unrestricted Cultivation
the Data for assessing Lands, and then to shut the Markets, regulate the Prices, and restrict the Cultivation, was surely to trench
upon private Rights and to violate public Faith;' and every
Circuit Judge has noticed the Scenes of Bloodshed and Rapine
which follow the Steps of the numerous Bandittis of Tobacco
Smugglers. Mr. Sullivan reported the burning and Plunder of
Villages where the Ryots refused to sell their Tobacco to Smugglers
not an unfrequent Attendant upon Smuggling; and Mr. Commissioner Græme has noticed, 'that the present System augments the
Duties of the Collectors, Magistrates, and Courts of Justice,
inasmuch as it raises a Host of Smugglers, and consequently an
Increase of Crime, and Frauds without End amongst the Native
Have any Orders at any Time been issued to compel the Sale of
Tobacco among the People of Malabar?
Tobacco, as I have stated, is a Necessary of Life in a humid
Climate like Malabar. I have seen Orders issued by the present
Principal Collector to his Native Servants, ordering them, under
Peril of Dismissal from their Offices, to sell a certain specified
Quantity. I have Three of those Orders. They are in the
original Language. I will read them in English.
What is their Date?
Will you read the first of them?
"The Order from the Principal Collector, Mr. Sheffield, to the
Tehsildar of the Nedungaad Talook. Your Report of Tobacco
Sales in your Talook, from the First to the Sixteenth of Meenam,
gives but Eighteen Tulams; whereas Five Candies ought to be
sold every Month in your Talook. I now warn you, therefore,
that if your Sales fall short of that Quantity, you shall certainly be
dismissed from your present Situation, as I before warned you.
Dated the Malabar Year 1002, 18th of Meenam; corresponding
with the 29th of March Anno Domini 1827."
What Measures were the Consequence of such Orders?
A very considerable Augmentation in the Sales. The Board of
Revenue reported on the 2d August, that Mr. Sheffield's System
was working with extraordinary Success, having in Four Months
produced an Increase of about Twenty-eight thousand Rupees.
I did hear that in the whole Twelve Months the Increase was about
a Lac of Rupees.
How was that Increase produced?
I have heard that Tobacco was forced upon the People in some
In what Manner could it be forced upon the People?
By compelling them to take it. I have heard of its being left
at their very Houses; and I believe the Fact to be true.
Was that supported by a Suspicion of Contraband Tobacco in
the People's Houses?
I never heard of such a Suspicion.
Can you state more precisely the Means of Compulsion which
were used to force the People to take the Tobacco, and how the
Price of the Purchase was repaid?
I did hear that it was repaid at the Time the Kists, or Revenue
Instalments, were collected.
In what Manner is the Salt purchased from the Manufacturers
measured on the Receipt, and in what Manner is it measured on
I will read an Extract from my Paper given in to the Court of
Directors in August last. "With respect to the Salt Monopoly,
the People have been as loud in their Complaints as against the
Tobacco Monopoly; and believing as I did, and still do, in the
Truth of their Representations, I brought them to the Notice of
Government, pursuant to repeated Orders of Government. That
it was undoubtedly, as a Servant to The Honorable Company,
my Duty to do so, in order that Measures might be employed
for remedying the Abuses which existed, and for avoiding the
Evils which I apprehended." (Those Evils I apprehended were,
that the People would be again driven into Rebellion; such Instances of Commotions having unfortunately before existed in
Malabar and Wynâad.) "These Complaints were, first, that
many were prohibited from manufacturing Salt, and thereby their
Lands which had cost them large Sums of Money were rendered
useless to their Owners, as they would yield no other Produce.
The extensive Suppression of Salt Pans both in Malabar and
Canara is a Source of great Grievance both to the Proprietors
and actual Manufacturers, who, 'to the Number of 6,438 in
Malabar alone,' (as reported by Mr. Commissioner Græme in his
Letter to the Board of Revenue dated 31st of August 1820,)
'were thrown out of a lucrative Subsistence; and the Compensation (which was not paid for Years, and sometimes not at all, as
set forth in Petitions presented to myself,) was very inadequate.'
This, 'tis true, the Proprietors in some measure brought upon
themselves; but, as Mr. Græme says, the Collector disguised the
Design with which he called for a Return of their Profits; and
they, in return, concealed their Resources; and it would be rather
severe to inflict a permanent Punishment on them for this Offence.
In lieu of this Annual Compensation, Mr. Græme recommended
the Purchase of the Privilege of Manufacture, or in other Words
the Fee Simple of the Salt Pans. It should also be borne in
mind that the Suppression of the Salt Pans is not provided for in
the Salt Monopoly Regulations of 1807. On the contrary, a particular Distinction is made in favour of the Inhabitants of Malabar,
who are to be at liberty to carry on the Manufacture, under the
Penalty of Confiscation of the Salt, and of a large Fine, for
selling to any other but the Officers of Government. Secondly,
the great Difference in the Measurement, in the Receipt or Purchase from those who are allowed to manufacture, and in the
Issue or Sale, which was represented in specific Complaints"
(which I forwarded to Government on the 3d of December 1814)
"to amount to a Reduction in Quantity of One Half, partly
caused by the Operation of pressing down, and partly by a subsequent Deduction of Two in Ten over and above such unfair
Measurement; while in the Issue or Sale no such Allowance was
made to the Retailer or Purchaser. This Difference Sir Thomas
Munro ascertained by an actual Inspection was Thirty-four and a
Half per Cent. to the Purchaser, and Fifty-three per Cent. to
Bunjarees, or Foreign Purchasers. The then Collector, in his
Return to my Precept dated 11th of December 1811, (in Cause
No. 1,160 on the File,) himself admitted, that it amounted to
Forty per Cent; viz
t. Twenty on the Salt Deliveries by the
Manufacturers, on account of Wastage, and Twenty more in the
Difference of Measurement in the Receipt and Retail of Salt.
Thirdly, the additional Price put on by the Retailers, besides
other numerous Frauds, which enhanced the Price to the Consumer from One to several Hundred per Cent. according to the
Distance from the Salt Depôts, which are all on the Coast; and
both in the Tobacco and Salt Monopolies the Employment of
European Agents (exclusive of the Company's covenanted Servants)
is felt as a very great Hardship, especially by those who have suffered most by the Institution of these Monopolies. Ever since the
Year 1808, (vide my Letter to The Honourable the Governor of
Madras, dated 28th December 1808,) I have constantly noticed the
Injury to our Native Subjects by this preference in Malabar; and
in the last Paragraph of my Letter to Government, dated 8th April
1828, I mentioned one Individual (Mr. Johnson, a Partner in the
Firm of Messrs. Shotton and Co. Bombay,) who had no less than
Four Contracts; viz
t. for the Supply of Tobacco to Government
for the Consumption of Canara for Three Years, (about 1,300
Candies annually;) for importing Goa Salt into Canara, (about
600 Candies;) for supplying the Lacadive Islanders with Rice;
and for carrying these Articles from one Part of Canara to another.
It may be argued that it is safer to trust Europeans than Natives
with these exclusive Privileges; but I am of a very different Opinion.
I know indeed that the Tobacco imported by Mr. Johnson is of a
very inferior Quality to what it used to be, and what the People
have a Right to except; and it will be obvious that the same Profit
which would make it worth the while of any European to speculate
in these Contracts would afford a Provision for Hundreds of
Natives, and who, from having suffered by these Monopolies, have
by far greater Claims upon us than our own Countrymen, who have
numerous Modes of gaining a Livelihood from which the Natives
must for various Reasons be for ever shut out."
In what Manner is the Salt measured when it is purchased for
What Alteration has taken place since the Period that I was a
Magistrate I cannot say; but at the Time I was in Authority, and
had Opportunities of knowing those Things, the Custom was to
press it down by the Hands and Feet in the Parah, (a large wooden
Measure;) while in the Issue it was piled up as light as could be;
by which Means there was, I imagine, a Difference of at least
Twenty per Cent. Another Twenty per Cent. was taken from the
Manufacturers, thus: for every 1,000 Dungallees 1,200 were
Was the same Allowance made on Sale as on Purchase?
It was not.
Was the Injustice of this Manner of Purchase and Sale noticed
by Sir Thomas Munro?
It was. I can give the Date; viz. Para. 49, in his Letter to
the Chief Secretary to the Madras Government, dated 4th July
Was there not, during the Period of your Residence in Malabar,
a Monopoly of Timber?
There was, both of the Timber and of the Forests, which were
taken Possession of by the Government.
Did that Monopoly extend, not only to the Forests but to Timber
in the Gardens and Fields of the several Proprietors?
It was not, I imagine, so intended in the first instance; but the
Conservator, the Officer whose Province it was to superintend the
Monopoly, extended it to Timber grown in Gardens; but I believe
it was that Officer's own Act. Great Complaints were frequently
made, but I never heard of any Redress, until Sir Thomas Munro
abolished the Monopoly altogether. This, I think, was in 1823.
During that Time was the Price of Timber much raised, so as
to stop Shipbuilding on the Coast of Malabar?
It was not procurable on any Terms. The Company took the
whole Quantity, except what was called the Refuse, which was of
little Use in Shipbuilding.
Was Shipbuilding stopped on the Coast of Malabar in consequence?
Entirely. I have seen Applications from the principal Shipbuilders to the Conservator of the Forests and to the Government,
to sell to them, or to be allowed to purchase, Timber to build and
repair their Vessels. They offered to purchase at any Price.
Since the Monopoly was taken off, has Shipbuilding improved?
Yes; Four or Five Vessels have been built, or are building.
Is there not also a Monopoly of Cardamums?
The Cardamum Farm is annually given to the highest Bidder,
the Proprietor receiving a Portion, nominally Half the Produce,
but really not a Third.
Is the Proprietor compelled to sell them?
He is obliged to deliver them to the Farmer; the Person, that
is, who contracts for the Produce.
Is there a similar Monopoly with respect to Arrack and
There is; the Toddy is the Juice of the Cocoa Nut, and Arrack
is a Distillation from the Toddy.
Are those Monopolies merely confined to the Company's
Territories, or do they extend to any of the Independent
I do not know of any what I understand by Independent States.
There are the Territories of the Rajahs of Mysore, Coorg,
Travancore and Cochin; but they are controuled by British
Do you not consider the Territory of Cananore as independent?
Certainly not. The Beebee of Cananore has a small Tract of
Land, Five or Six Deshams, in the Vicinity of Cananore, and also
the Lacadive Islands, for which she pays an annual Sum, about
10.000 Rupees, to the Government; but she has not a Particle of
Authority; she merely collects the Revenues, that is, the Government Share of the Land Rent.
Are those Monopolies introduced into her Territories?
Is that by Treaty?
No; and has in consequence been, and still is, one of her Complaints, as set forth in a Petition I was the Bearer of from the
Beebee of Cananore to The Honourable Court of Directors.
What are the Transit Duties in the Province of Malabar?
Internally there are no Transit Duties that I know of; but
passing into another Province there are. The Frontier Duties are
In what Manner are the Duties farmed out?
To the highest Bidder.
Are they fixed Duties, or are they very much under the Controul of the Contractor?
In Malabar and Canara there are certain defined Rates; but in
the Southern Mahratta Country, while I was in Authority, they
were farmed also to the highest Bidder. But the Rates were quite
arbitrary; sometimes Portions of the Country were farmed out to
different Contractors, who sublet Portions again to others; nothing
is defined; it is left almost wholly, I may say, to the Contractors
themselves. There being a Variety of Subrenters a kind of Competition is caused amongst them, by holding out Inducements to
the Merchants to go through their Part of the Country.
If there are Three Roads from one Place to another on which
Transit Duties may be levied, is there a Competition amongst the
Contractors or Subrenters to get them to come that Road?
Yes. As they collect the Duty without reference to the Commodity or its Value, but by the Number of Head of Cattle, (all
Merchandize being transported by Bullocks,) owing to the contending Interests of the Renters, they do all in their Power to get
the Merchants to come by their respective Chokies or Stations.
I should add, that besides these Duties, the People are subject
to Hereditary Imposts called Russooms, claimed by particular
Is the Effect of this Competition to lower or raise the Duty?
The Effect of all Competition is rather to reduce; it will have
the same Effect naturally there.
What is the State of the Government Forests since the Cessation
of the Government Monopoly?
The Forests were given up wholly to the Proprietors.
Are there no Forests belonging to the Government now?
In the Northern Part of Canara, that is, from the Subramanny
Pagoda, East of Mangalore, there are; all the Forests to the
Eastward, or on the Ghaut Mountains that is, are the Property of
the Government; I never, at least, heard of any Individuals laying
Claim to them. But the whole Tract of Forests South of Subramanny is claimed, and I have no doubt is the Property of private
Individuals. I have seen many of these Title Deeds upwards of a
The Reason for the Monopoly originally was, that the Timber
might be supplied at a lower Rate to the Dock Yard at Bombay?
The ostensible Reason given in the first Proclamation by the
Principal Collector of Malabar, dated 18th July 1806, stated,
"That The Honourable Company had Occasion for Teak Trees
for the Purpose of building Ships, and therefore the Government
had resolved to grant a Monopoly to one Chowakkara Moosa, in
order that it might be furnished with the Trees it wanted at a low
Price," &c. The subsequent Proclamation by the Madras
Government, dated 25th April 1807, announced, "the Assumption, in pursuance of Orders from The Honourable Court of
Directors, of the Sovereignty of the Forests in the Provinces of
Malabar and Canara."
Was Timber cheaper in consequence of that Monopoly at Bombay
than it is at present?
I rather think the Price was considerably enhanced to what it
was before the Monopoly, owing to the Expence of the Conservator's Establishment.
Was the Conservator sent by the Government of Bombay, or by
the Governor of Madras?
By the Governor of Bombay; the Forests were re-transferred to
Bombay by Orders from the Court of Directors.
There was no Survey originally of the Forests?
There never was. I beg to refer their Lordships to a very
able Minute, one of the Documents published in Sir Thomas
Munro's Life, containing full Information on this Subject:
Is the Cultivation of Tobacco prohibited in Malabar?
Very little at any Time was cultivated, and that confined to the
Mountains of Wynaâd; a few Individuals among those Mountaineers have, I believe, obtained Permission to cultivate a small
Quantity for their own immediate Consumption.
It cannot be cultivated without Permission?
Is the Soil suited to the Cultivation of it?
Yes; throughout the Mountainous Region of Wynaâd. This
Tract is situate between the Upper Country of Mysore and
Malabar; it is the same Country I mentioned where the Gold
Is the Monopoly of Tobacco universal throughout the Company's
Dominions in India?
In Districts where it is not grown, it is, I believe; where it is
grown, Arrangements are made with the Growers to deliver the
Produce, for Exportation, to Government. Not having had Charge
of those Districts, I am not able to speak positively in respect to
them, further than as far as I have referred to in Mr. Sullivan's
Reports on the Subject.
From whence does the Tobacco come which is brought into
The adjoining Province of Coimbatore.
Are there greater Difficulties imposed on the Cultivation in
Malabar than in the adjoining Province of Coimbatore?
It was prohibited altogether, with the Exception of a few Individuals, in Wynaád; and I believe in Coimbatore they can cultivate
it only under Licences, and that they are obliged to sell what is
exported to the Government.
If any Person was at liberty to cultivate Tobacco in Malabar,
without Restriction, would the Quantity be increased?
Certainly; but it would not be nearly sufficient for the Consumption of the Province. They have always drawn their Supplies
Are there no other Sources from whence Malabar is supplied
with Tobacco but the Province of Coimbatore?
None that I know of. I believe that a small Quantity is occasionally smuggled from Mysore, and also brought in Vessels from
Bengal; but there is a very high Penalty, if discovered.
Are the Company the only Purchasers of Tobacco, whether raised
in Malabar or Coimbatore?
The exclusive Purchasers, to the Extent I have stated.
And they put what Price they please upon it, without reference
to the Expence of Cultivation or the Means of the People who want
to buy it?
I can only judge of the Effects of the System; Monopoly, that
is. Not having been employed in making the Settlement
with the Growers, I cannot tell the Principles on which it was
made; but from the Effect of it in Coimbatore, as reported by
Mr. Sullivan, I should certainly say that the People had Cause of
Are Cardamums used in Malabar by the Natives?
In very small Quantities. I do not believe that One hundredth
Part of the Produce is consumed in the Country.
The Soil and Climate are suited to the Production?
I believe the Ghaut Mountains of Malabar and Coorg is the only
Part of India where it is produced.
What is the Nature of the Prohibition which exists with respect
to Cardamums; is it as to the Cultivation or the Sale?
The Growers are obliged to give the whole Produce to the
May any Persons cultivate it?
Any Persons who own that Description of Land. It is not
propagated from Seed; it is indigenous. It is produced in
the Recesses of the Mountain Forests, by felling Trees, and
afterwards burning those Trees. Where the Tree has fallen, in
the Openings, or Fissures, that is, in the Soil, the Cardamum
Plants make their Appearance. The only Manure is the burning
of those Trees. In Soonda Balagat there are Plantations of Cardamums, but the Fruit, Berry, that is, is very inferior to the natural
The main Expence of the Cultivation is the cutting down the
Trees and burning them?
Yes; and guarding against Squirrels, Rats and other Vermin.
Is it a Shrub?
Yes; it is a Species of bulbous Plant, and grows Three or Four
Are the Forests in which it is found public or private Property?
Wholly private Property. There may be a few Forests which
have escheated to Government; but I believe they have all now
been given up to the original Proprietors; such Portion, that is,
that had escheated to the Government through the Rebellion of the
They do not allow the Persons to whom the Property
belongs to sell the Cardamums to any Person who chooses to
No; they are obliged to give it to the Contractor.
Are those Lands liable to the Land Assessment?
Not those Tracts occupied by the Cardamums. Other Spots
cultivated with Dry Grains and Cotton are assessed to the Revenue;
all other Hill Products are farmed out.
What is the Price of a certain Quantity of Cardamums?
I should say the Market Price averages from 800 to 1.000
Rupees the Candy of 640 Pounds Avoirdupois.
Is that the Price they generally give to the Grower?
What do they give him?
At the Rate of from 550 to 700 Rupees; though they are often,
particularly the Mountaineers, called Coorchers, Kadar, &c. left at
the Mercy of the Contractor, who puts an enhanced Value on the
Coins he pays them, or makes them take Tobacco, Cloths, Salt, Oil,
Beetle Nut, and such necessary Articles. I have known Arab
Merchants, and Merchants from the Gulf, Sind, &c. pay 1.200
Rupees for the Candyto the Coast Merchant; but then there is an
Export Duty to pay out of it.
Is it the Practice in Malabar to impress Persons on the Part of
Government as Coolies?
It is; and a most intolerable Grievance it is.
For what Purpose are they impressed?
To serve as Porters to marching Regiments, Detachments and
all European Travellers.
Is that a Practice confined to Malabar, or does it extend to other
Parts of India?
I believe it is universal; wherever I have been it exists.
What Compensation is made to them for their Labour?
They vary, at the Discretion of the Local Officers of Government. Often Men who never carried Burthens in their Lives have
been pressed. I have known them seized and confined, sometimes
for Days, before the Detachment or the Regiment arrived at the
Station where they were required. This also formed One of the
Subjects of my Representation to the Court of Directors in August
By whose Authority was that done?
The Commanding Officer of the Regiment; and individual
Travellers make Requisitions on the local Authorities for the
Number of Coolies they require. They issue their Orders to the
Native Servants generally.
Is the Collector authorized by any superior Authority to take
any Person that he chooses for these Purposes?
Certainly not; it is an Abuse. There are Orders from the
Government to assist Regiments, Detachments, &c.; but certainly
not to use any thing like Coercion.
So that any Collectors who have so acted have gone beyond their
I do not say that they have actually authorized such Acts of
Violence; but their Servants have.
Do you conceive them to be aware that the Servants carry their
Orders into Execution in the Manner they do?
I have myself repeatedly brought the Subject to their Notice;
and certainly the full Measure of Redress has not been afforded.
I have too often observed a Disposition to take the Servants Part;
though I have myself witnessed these and other Atrocities committed
by marching Detachments. I have seen Houses that had been
unroofed for the sake of the Thatch, as Fodder for the Cattle. I
have known of Parties of Sepoys going into Houses and carrying
away Rice, Fowls, Butter and other Articles laid in by the Inhabitants for their domestic Use.
Is not the Commanding Officer of a Regiment particularly
enjoined to specify to the Collector of the District the Day on
which his Regiment will reach at certain Stations?
Is he careless in executing that Duty?
I believe it is always done; but from a Variety of Circumstances
there may be Delays, such as Rivers coming down, which commanding Officers cannot possibly foresee. The Native Servants
are obliged in many Parts of the Country, Days before the Detachments arrive, to send out their Kolcars or Peons to press the
Inhabitants, for as soon as it comes to their Knowledge that
Detachments or Europeans are on the Road, they invariably run
away and hide themselves.
Have you known any Instances of Resistance to those Oppressions?
Very frequently; so far, that is, as running away, and occasionally
Contests with the public Servants.
Do the Coolies receive a Remuneration for their Services?
How are they paid?
Merely for the Trip, without reference to the Number of Days
they may have been coming from their Homes, or waiting the
Arrival of the Troops, or required to return to their Homes.
What Proportion does it bear to the Wages of Labour in the
They are the generally established Rates; the Orders from the
Collector to his Servants are to provide them at the established
Rates; but there are very few People in the Interior who can
really be called Porters; that is, who are willing to carry Burthens;
they are the Peasantry, and consequently Cultivators or Artificers.
There is a common Rate of Labour?
At the European Stations; but there is nothing of the kind among
the People themselves, but the Wages of Agriculture, &c.
Is the Use of Tobacco general throughout India?
As far as I know of India. On the Western Coast it is a
Necessary of Life; so much so, that Slaves, if they do not receive
Tobacco with their Rice, will run away from their Masters.
Where is it grown?
In the whole of the Carnatic, I believe; chiefly in the Districts
of Salem and Coimbatore; also in Mysore, Tanjore, Trichinopoly,
Madura and Tinixelly. Of Bengal or Bombay I am not competent
to speak with Certainty, excepting the Southern Mahratta Country,
where Tobacco is grown in small Quantities.
Do you know any thing of the Quality of it, as compared with
the American Tobacco?
All I can say is, that on the Western Coast the Coimbatore is
preferred to any other Tobacco.
Have they the Choice of any other?
They had, before the Monopoly; but I never heard that they
used it. It is the same with Salt; which, though inferior to
other Salt, they always prefer to Foreign Salt, which I believe
makes them ill.
You mean to say, that their Preference of it is no Proof of its
No. I know no other Reason for their preferring it.
You do not know any thing of its comparative Excellence, as
compared with that in America?
Is it grown in such Quantities as to render it an Article of Export
to this Country, if required?
I believe its Cultivation might be carried to any Extent, with
due Encouragement on the Part of Government.
Where are the Cardamums exported to; where is their principal
To this Country; to all the Ports in India, Arabia and the Red
Sea; I have heard of Mahomed Ally Pasha's Ships taking large
Quantities; the Persian Gulf, Bombay and to all the Ports North
of it; and to Sind, &c. up the Indus.
Do you think more Attention would be paid to the Cultivation
or Collection of it, if the Trade was free?
So that an additional Value would be given to the Land where
That would be the natural Consequence.
Are there any Silk Establishments in the Part of the Country
with which you are acquainted?
Not where I have been in Authority. I introduced one myself
while I was at Dharwar, which succeeded remarkably well; it was
entirely conducted by the Convicts of my Gaol.
Is the Soil suited to the Growth of the Mulberry?
Yes, the White Mulberry.
How long was it before you left India that you established it?
Two Years; that is, in 1815, 1816 and Part of 1817.
Does it continue to this Time?
I am afraid that my Successor has not taken the Interest in that
and other new Manufactures and Cultivation I introduced; such as
Indigo and Bourbon Cotton; also in weaving Cotton, Woollen
and Hemp by means of English Looms, &c. &c.
Is there any Obstacle arising out of the Regulations of the
Government to the Extension of Cultivation?
None whatever; but I do not think sufficient Encouragement is
held out to the People.
It requires a considerable Capital to carry it on extensively, does
No, I did not find that the Case with either Silk or Indigo; they
appeared to me to be attended with very little Expence.
How long is it before a Mulberry Plantation is sufficiently productive in Leaves to make it repay for the planting?
A Year or Two, it will produce. After the first Year, I have
had them gathered in my own Garden, and those Gardens planted
by the Convicts; watering regularly every Day during the hot
Months, they produce an abundant Supply.
Did you ever endeavour to induce any Persons having Property
to undertake the Cultivation of the Mulberry?
I held out all the Encouragement I could, by inviting the People
to look at my Plantations and Manufactures; I also sent Specimens
of the Silk I had made all over the Country. I had periodical
Sales of both Silk and Indigo. Whenever I went on Circuit
through my Districts, I took with me Two or Three of the English
Looms, to instruct the People in the Use of them. Those with the
Flying Shuttle were made by Two Soldiers out of the European
Regiment at Belgâm.
What do you conceive to have been the Cause that prevented
Individuals embarking in it?
For Want of sufficient Encouragement, and competent Persons
to undertake it.
Do you think it would answer to any British Subject possessing
Capital to undertake upon a large Scale the Cultivation of the
I think it would be a very advantageous Speculation. My
periodical Reports of the Labour of my Convicts, to the Government of Bombay, will shew the Extent to which I carried these new
In what Part of the Country was it that you established this?
At Dharwar, in the Southern Mahratta Country.
Is that the Seat of the Local Government?
If any Individual had proposed to take Land on Lease for the
Purpose of trying an Experiment of that kind, would he have
obtained a Lease for that Purpose?
Certainly not, if he was an European.
Did any European ever apply for Permission to have Land on
Lease for that Purpose?
The Two Soldiers, whom I had employed, and who had been
Glasgow Weavers, after having been, I think, a Month, and
just as I was sending them back to their Regiment, intreated of me
to write to the Commanding Officer to obtain their Discharge, that
they might carry on the Silk and Cotton Works. Those were the
only Europeans I had an Opportunity of seeing.
Do you conceive that an European bringing Capital into the
Country for a Purpose of that kind would be prejudicial to the
Inhabitants, or to the Interests of the Government of the Country?
I should be very apprehensive that Europeans settling and
occupying Land would be extremely prejudicial to the Interests of
By occupying Land, do you mean holding it by Lease?
Yes, holding Land on any Terms.
In what Way would it be prejudicial to the Natives, if the
Natives let the Lands to the People on their own Terms; the
Question not referring to the indiscriminate Introduction of Europeans, but a Person wishing to establish himself for the Purpose
of carrying on a Business of that kind?
From the Tendency of the strong to oppress the weak, which I
have seen, wherever Europeans have been in the Interior, at a Distance from European Stations; and the People would not complain
against them Nine Times in Ten, partly through Fear, and partly
for Want of the Means to subsist themselves from their Cultivations
and Homes, and to pay their Road Expences, &c.
So that if any Person, be his Character what it might, should
apply for Permission to establish himself for this specific Purpose,
it would be wise Policy, in your Opinion, to refuse him Permission?
Certainly; and another Objection is, I think, that whatever the
Character of the European was, his superior Intelligence would
give him such a decided Superiority over the Native Operatives,
that the whole Industry of the Country would centre in him.
If it gave Employment to the Labouring Class, how could it
They already get Employment, which they would quit to work
It would be attracting Labour to them where there is at present
It might benefit the Labouring Classes; it might have the
Effect of raising their Wages; but still the Inhabitants would be
Would that be an Injury to them?
Certainly not to the Labouring Classes.
You stated that you thought the Silk Trade was likely to be an
advantageous Speculation to any one who entered into it?
Do you know the State of the Silk Trade in any other Part of
No. I believe it is carried on to a great Extent in Bengal;
some also is made at Seringapatam.
Do you know that there have been several Speculations?
No; except at Seringapatam, where there were about 500 Families
who gained a Livelihood by it.
Do you know the History of any Establishment, or whether they
have been abandoned?
No; I do not know of any Establishment in any Place, except
Do you know that Silk is at present imported into this Country
at a great Loss to the Company?
No, I do not.
Do you know of any Instances in which the Cultivation of Indigo
has been carried on by Europeans?
I believe it has in some Parts of the Madras Territory; at Arnee
in the Carnatic, and in the Eastern Parts of Coimbatore.
Is that within your Knowledge?
Yes. I have been in company with Indigo Planters at Vellore
Has that Cultivation been felt to be an Injury to the Natives?
I have never been in Charge of those Districts, and am not competent to say; but I do not believe that the Europeans so engaged
have found the Speculation answer their Expectations.
You have not had an Opportunity of seeing any Instances of
such Cultivation in Bengal?
No, I have not; all I know is, what I have stated of Indigo
Would not the Employment of Capital in that Way lead to the
Creation of Offices in which the Natives would be very advantageously employed; such as Agencies and Stewardships, and
Offices of Inspectors and Superintendents?
Necessarily the Agency of Natives must be taken Advantage of.
Would it not be very likely to be very beneficial?
To the immediate Individuals, no doubt.
So far, therefore, as such Offices were created, the Natives would
be benefited, and an Incitement held out to their Exertions?
Not the Natives generally.
Has Sugar been grown to any considerable Extent in the Parts
of the Country you have been acquainted with?
Not to any Extent. I know that Experiments have been made
in Amgerakandy Plantation in Malabar, by the late Mr. Brown,
and also by another European of the Name of Skelton, at Mangalore,
but both abandoned them.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Thursday the
29th Instant, One o'Clock.