Die Jovis, 29 Aprilis 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
The Honourable Andrew Ramsay is called in, and examined as
What were the various Situations you held in India?
I was about Twenty-five Years in the Commercial Department,
Six Years in the Salt Department, and about Two Years in the
Revenue Department. I was altogether about Thirty-four Years
in the Service of The East India Company on the Bengal Establishment.
Where did you reside in the Commercial Department?
Principally at Jungypore from the Year 1804 to the Year 1818,
and then again from 1824 to 1829.
In what Years were you in the Salt Department?
From 1818 to the End of 1823.
What were your Duties in the Commercial Department?
The first Six Years I was in the Commercial Department I
resided at Ghazeepore, in the District of Benares; I was Assistant
to the Resident of that Station. The Duties were, the Provision
of Cloth, Sugar and Opium; and from 1804 to 1818 my Duties
were entirely confined to the Silk Investment.
Were you concerned in the Sale of the Imports of Merchandize
No, I never was, in any way whatever.
Have the Company large Establishments for the Purpose of the
Very large; I think about Twelve Stations, or Residencies, as
they are called.
Have any individual European Residents any Factories of the
I believe several have, but not equal in Magnitude to any of the
In the Company's Factories do they manufacture Piece Goods?
At One or Two Factories only; at Cossimbazar Factory, at
Malda and Santipore; I do not recollect any others where Piece
Goods are made.
Is the Manufacture of Silk Goods continued at those Factories?
It was when I left India.
What Process is carried on at the other Factories?
The winding of the raw Silk from the Cacoons.
Is that in no Case a domestic Manufacture in India?
Yes it is, but quite a different Process, and is what they term
Putney Silk, which Silk is employed in the Manufacture of Piece
How is that Silk employed which is wound off by the Company?
It is all sent to Europe in a raw State.
Do the Mulberry Trees and the Worms belong to the same
Persons in India?
Sometimes they do; but, generally speaking, they do not. The
Mulberry is cultivated by one Class of Persons, and the Worms
are reared by another, though in many Cases the Mulberry Cultivators keep Worms also.
Do those that are possessed of the Worms wind off the Silk?
I never recollect an Instance of it at the Company's Factory.
What is the Difference between the Italian and Indian Worm;
does there appear to be a great natural Difference between them?
Not a very great Difference; but there is so great a Difference
that those that are at all accustomed to them can see the Difference
Which Species of Worm is in most general Use?
The Native Worm of India.
In a much larger Proportion?
I should think, at the Factory where I was, there might probably have been about a Twenty-fifth Part of the Italian Worm
used. It is only at a few Factories in India the Italian Worm is
reared at all. I believe the Factory I was at was the first where it
was brought into Use.
Is the Silk of the Indian Worm inferior to that of the Italian
I always considered it so.
Is it much weaker?
That was the Objection I always found to the Country Worm.
Is it produced in smaller Quantities?
I believe the Quantity produced from an equal Quantity of
Worms is nearly the same, but that may be owing to the Italian
Silk being spun much finer than the other Qualities.
How many Harvests of Silk are there in the Year from the
I think it may be considered that there are Four principal
Harvests from the Indian Worm, November, January, March and
June, they are the Four principal Harvests; but at some Factories
there are One or Two Harvests more I think, but November and
January are the principal.
Is the Silk in November and January much greater in Quantity
and much better than at the other Seasons?
It has always been considered so.
Can Silk be obtained from the Italian Worm at more than One
Period of the Year?
I never knew it produced oftener than once a Year.
Have there been any recent Importations of the Italian Worm
Not since I have been in the Service.
In your Opinion has the Silk obtained from the Italian Worm
become deteriorated of late Years?
I always understood from the Court of Directors Letters to
India, that it had improved very much.
Is that your Opinion?
That is my Opinion decidedly, that it has so improved; the
Question I understand to refer to the reeling of the Silk.
The Question refers to the Quality of the Silk furnished by the
I should suppose, from the Reports I have read, that it has
fallen off very much in Quality, and that the Fibre of the Silk
when it was first imported to India was much stronger than it now
is. It has certainly fallen off in Quantity, and I should think it
has also fallen off in Quality.
Have any Attempts been made to increase the Manufacture of
Silk in the Houses of the Natives?
No; I look upon the Attempt to be impossible.
On what Ground?
Want of Capital on the Part of the Natives, in the first place;
and I have always understood that the Manufacture of Silk was a
The Question refers to the winding off of the Silk?
The Natives have not the Means of purchasing the Apparatus
To what District in Bengal is the Silk Worm confined?
Generally speaking, to the whole of Bengal Proper, with the
Exception of the Eastern Districts; there is no Silk produced there;
the Country is unfavourable for it.
Is any produced in the Upper Provinces?
I believe it has never been attempted in the Upper Provinces.
Are you aware whether there are any further Difficulties in the
way of its being cultivated in the Upper Provinces?
I should think the Climate is the principal Objection to it.
The Cold or the Heat?
Principally the Heat; the Heat in Bengal generally destroys the
Worms, and I should think the Heat in the Upper Provinces would
do it still more. For Three or Four Months in the Year, in the
Upper Provinces, it is so dry no Vegetables scarcely will grow, while
in Bengal, during the hottest Weather, it does grow.
Did the Servants of the Company in any Manner interfere with
the Purchases of Silk Individuals desired to make in the Interior?
Yes; it is their Duty to do so; the Company make Advances, and
it is the Duty of the Company's Agents to see that the Silk for which
those Advances are made is not made away with by any body; but
Individuals very often do it; Merchants very often purchase the Silk
for which the Company's Advances have been made, and that is the
Cause principally of the heavy Balances which the Company have
outstanding in the Silk Districts.
The Object of the Question was to ascertain whether the Servants
of the Company used any Authority, given to them by Law or by
the Power of the Government, for the Purpose of interfering with
the Mercantile Interests of Individuals?
Certainly. If I found an European Merchant carrying away the
Silk for which I had advanced Money, I would take it away from
him; and if I could prove that in a Court I could recover heavy
Had you any Power, as a Servant of the Company, in the making
an Investment of Silk, which was not possessed by any other
individual Commercial Speculator in the Interior?
State what it was?
There are Privileges given to those who receive the Company's
Advances; they cannot be summoned in Civil Suits, except when
the Investment is at a Stand, or after a Silk Harvest, for instance;
and they are protected from the Oppressions of the Natives more
than those who are not employed under the Company. The Native
Police commit great Oppressions upon the Natives.
Have you any Authority, as a Company's Servant, over the
Natives, except that which arises from Advances previously made to
I conceive not.
You were understood to say that Persons who receive Advances
from the Company have certain Privileges, which they would not
possess if they received Advances from Individuals?
Yes, that is the Case.
Is any Silk cultivated otherwise than by Advances?
A considerable Quantity.
With reference to the Silk which has been cultivated by Advances
made of private Speculators, and for a Competition with the
Company in its Purchases, how have the Company, by their Agents
or Residents, the Advantage?
The Company's Prices at the Company's Factories generally
regulate the Prices of the Day. There is only One District in
India where there is any very large Quantity of Silk made that is
not taken by the Company - that is the District of Rajeshaye, in
which the Residency of Bauleah is situated.
In what Manner do you understand that the Price given
by the Company regulates the Price to be given by other Persons;
is it so high as to induce the Grower to sell all his Silk to the
Company, and higher than a private Speculator would be willing to
give for it?
I believe it has been latterly so very high, the Court of Directors
have complained very much against it; and it is so high that no
private Merchants have of late Years been able to purchase Silk with
any Prospect of Advantage.
Can you state on an Average the Price per Pound at which the
Company have purchased the Silk, and the Price at which they have
been enabled to dispose of it?
I cannot state the Price at which the Company have disposed of
it, for I have seldom had an Opportunity of seeing the Account
Sales and actual Expences; but the Prices that have been given for
it, I always understood, were much higher than the Court of
Directors approved. Latterly they were from Twelve to Fourteen
Rupees a Sier of Two Pounds Weight.
Have not the high Prices given for Silk by the Company enabled
them to command all the best Silk in the Market?
I believe, as much as they wished to procure they have obtained
in the Market.
Is not the Silk exported from India by the Company very
superior in Quality to that exported by Individuals?
Certainly it is.
It sells much higher in the English Market, does it not?
I have always understood so.
You are understood to say, that they keep the private Speculator
out of the Market by the high Price which they give?
The Company always give a liberal Price. There is no fixed
Way of settling the Price; it is left to the State of the Market; if
Piece Goods are in great Demand, it has an Effect upon the Price
of the Company's Investments.
The Question alludes to Raw Silk rather than Piece Goods?
Any Rise in the Price of Piece Goods affects the Price of Raw
Silk; for the Raw Silk and the Piece Goods are made from the same
Article, though differently prepared.
When you say Silk costs from Twelve to Fourteen Rupees a Sier
of Two Pounds, do you mean on the Spot of its Growth?
I mean at the Factory. I speak from the Invoices which I used
to send to the Board of Trade, when I sent Dispatches of Silk.
Are you able to state what additional Charges would be put upon
it, to bring that Silk to London?
No, I am not; but I should think from Fifteen to Twenty per
Cent. I can speak from my own Knowledge of One Speculation I
made in Silk in the Year 1805, when Marquis Cornwallis went to
India; he arrived in the Month of July, and immediately put a
stop to the Company's Investments. There was a great Scarcity of
Money at the Time in the Market, and the Silk People came to me
to know what was to be done with their Silk; I told them I
could not take their Silk, and they must sell it to Individuals; their
Answer was, there were no Individual Purchasers in the Market, and
they could not sell it. There was a Discount on Bills at that Time
of Fifteen per Cent. between Calcutta and Moorshadebad. They,
the Brokers, came in a Body, and offered to give me their Silk, and to
take the Loss of the Fifteen per Cent. upon themselves, which I
agreed to. I sent the Silk to England, and I lost, I think, about
Two thousand Pounds upon it.
Upon what Quantity?
I think there was about £20,000, and I never traded in Silk
Can you state at what Rate the Cultivator can afford to grow the
Silk; whether it is Matter of Profit to the Cultivator?
No, I cannot state that, because they always pretend to lose by it;
and it is a very difficult Thing to find out what it costs them.
Though they pretend to lose by it, is the Growth voluntary?
Are many induced to continue who have once begun it?
It has been increasing of late Years.
Was there not a Right of Pre-emption independent of Advances
exercised by the Company?
I have never understood so.
In what State do you receive the Silk from the Natives?
In the Pods, which are called Cacoons.
You reel it for yourself?
It is reeled in the Factories belonging to the Company.
When you talk of Seven Rupees a Pound, do you mean in the
State of Cacoons?
No; I mean the Silk after it has been reeled off, when it is
invoiced and sent to Calcutta, which is the last Process.
Do you reel the Silk before you communicate to the Cultivator
what Price he is to receive?
The Prices are fixed while it is reeling; they are sent to the
Board of Trade for their Approval. They collect all the Prices,
and state their Objections to the Prices of any particular Factory,
if one should much exceed in Price the others.
How do you ascertain the Quantity?
After the Pods are received into the Factory, they who rear the
Worms have no further Concern with them; the People who
furnish the Raw Material, the Cacoons, have nothing to do with
reeling the Silk.
What Price do you pay them for the Cacoons?
The Price is regulated by the State of the Market; if there is a
great Demand for Piece Goods, the Putney or Bengal reeled,
which is the Article of which the Silk Goods are made, regulates
How many Pounds of Cacoons do you average to One Pound of
If the Weather is very favourable, the Quantity of Silk produced
from the Maund of Cacoons of Eighty Pounds is greater than if
the Season has been unfavourable; but on the Average I look
upon it to be something under Four Pounds, or about a Twentieth
Your Payment to the Cultivator is not made according to the
Number of Cacoons furnished, or the Weight of the Cacoons, but
the Quantity of Silk that they reel off from those Cacoons?
There are Two Ways of doing it; one Mode is by paying for
the Green Material, and when that is paid for, the Rearer of the
Cacoons has nothing to do further with the Process; he is paid so
much for each Maund of Cacoons he has furnished: another Plan
adopted at the Factories is, that the Rearer of the Cacoon waits 'till
his Cacoons are reeled off in the Factory, and according to the
Produce of the Silk he is paid so much per Pound for the clean
Silk which those Cacoons have produced.
How many Months in the Year are the Leaves on the Trees?
All the Year, excepting at the Moment that they cut them down.
When the Worms come into Life, and are old enough to eat, the
Mulberry is cut down close to the Ground, the young Leaves are
then given to the Worms, and those Leaves again sprout up, and
may be cut within Two Months from the Time they were first cut.
How high does the Mulberry grow?
The Mulberry, when it is first cut, may grow about a Foot or a
Foot and a Half in Height; and in the rainy Season, when it is
allowed to grow, it rises from Six to Ten Feet in Height in the
Course of Three or Four Months; and previous to the Silk
Harvest commencing for the ensuing Year, or late in the Month of
October, after the Rains have ceased, the Mulberry Plants are cut
down to the Ground.
At what Distance do they stand from each other in the Field?
I think they are planted very like Potatoes in this Country, in
Drills, nearly about the same Distance, in some Parts.
Have you ever seen them sown in Drills?
They do not sow it with a Plough, but they plant it. I believe
the same Root lasts from Ten to Fifteen Years. The Court of
Directors wished the Natives to use the old Leaves in preferece to
young Leaves; but the Natives were averse to it, and it could never
be carried into Effect.
Were any Europeans, conversant with the European Cultivation
of Silk, living among the Natives, and forming Establishments in
There were in the District of Bauleah several, but none in the
District where I was.
Was the Silk of that District supposed to be superior to that of
the other Districts?
I believe inferior; certainly not superior.
Do you know what was the Cause of that Inferiority?
I cannot answer that Question; the Factory I was at was the
original Factory where the Italians were first settled when the Company sent to Europe for Men to introduce the Italian Mode of
winding the Silk; and I believe the Jungypore Silk has always been
considered among the best in the Country.
How long ago is it that the Italians were sent there?
About the Year 1760, or between that and 1764.
Do you happen to be aware whether, when the Indian Raw Silk
is imported into this Country, any Goods are manufactured from
that Silk alone?
I do not know. I saw a Man weaving Silk at the Repository at
Charing Cross; and, on asking him a few Questions upon the
Subject, he told me that the Bengal Silk was so weak they were
obliged to have Italian Silk for the Cross Threads.
What is the first Year you were acquainted with Silk?
The Year 1804.
What was the Price you paid at that Time?
I cannot exactly recollect, but it was considerably less than it is
now; it has been rising since.
Has it been at all improving in Quality since?
I have always understood that the Company's Silk was very much
improved in Quality.
Do you refer to that grown from the Indian Worms?
Of all Descriptions.
Has not some Change been made in the Mode of taking the
Duty on Silk?
I think there has been a Change made since the Renewal of the
Charter in 1815 or 1816.
It was taken on the Pound indifferently; was not it?
I do not recollect that the Company paid any Duties at all
When they first paid Duties, how was it?
I do not recollect now; the Duties are charged in a different
Way from that in which they were before.
How are they charged now?
There is an Entry made in the Books, and a Charge made, but
no Duties were ever actually paid by the Factory where I was.
Did not that Change in the Mode of taking the Duties lead to
the Introduction of a greater Proportion of the lower kinds of Silk
in preference to the better kinds?
I cannot, without Reference to the Accounts, answer that
Do you recollect any private Individuals who had Filatures
during their Residence in India?
I know One myself who had very extensive Filatures-Mr. Fruchard, afterwards Inspector of the Company's Silk Investment.
Do you know any others?
There was a Mr. Watson who had considerable Filatures.
Do you know what was the Fate of those private Adventures?
I believe Mr. Frouchard was a very poor Man, and I have
understood died very much involved. Mr. Watson is still alive,
but I believe does not carry on the Silk Business.
Is not that owing to the Company producing the Silk and
selling it at Home at a considerable Loss, so that it became
impossible for Individuals to carry on the Trade profitably?
I should think that is the Case, that no Persons would like to
deal in an Article they must lose by.
Do you know what the Average Loss is upon the Silk?
No, I never heard.
Did the private Speculators make Advances to the Natives in
the same Way as the Company?
No, I never knew them do so.
The only Silk that the private Speculators were supplied with
was the Country Wound Silk?
There are many Natives reel Silk in the same Way as the
Company, according to the Italian Mode, and that Silk is sold to
any Person who chuses to purchase it.
Does not it require some Capital?
Many Natives employed in the Silk Trade have large Capital,
but that is chiefly confined to the Bauleah District.
The Natives who furnished Silk to the private Speculators were
not entitled to the Privileges which were conferred on those who
furnished Silk to the Company's Agents?
No. I beg to observe that those Regulations, with respect to
Privileges, have since been done away with. The Orders had
arrived before I left India, and there was a Regulation framing
when I left Calcutta.
The Natives who furnish Silk to the Company now possess no
more Advantages than those who furnish it to Individuals?
I cannot speak to the Regulations precisely.
Do you know whether Indian Silk is now used for manufacturing
Purposes in England, for which it was formerly thought unfit?
I cannot take upon myself to answer that Question.
Do you conceive the Quality of Indian Silk is susceptible of
much further Improvement?
I do not think that it is, for the great Defect in the Silk is want
Is any Silk imported from China to Bengal?
No, not that I am aware of.
Do you know the Result of some Experiments that were tried at
Sincapore, for the Improvement either of the Manufacture of Silk
or the Cultivation of the Mulberry?
No, I never heard of them.
Did the Italians, on their Arrival in India, alter the Mode of
the Cultivation of the Mulberry?
I believe not the least; I never understood that they did. It is
entirely different from that of their own Country, but I believe
they did not alter it.
Has there been an Improvement of the Manufacture of Silk
at the private Establishments corresponding with that in the
I do not know. I never was in the private Factory of any
How long were you employed in the Superintendence of the
I was nearly Six Years in the Salt Department.
At what Place were you stationed?
I was stationed, for about Ten Months, in the Twenty-four
Pergunnah Agency, though only Three actually resident; then
Five Years in the Tumlook Agency.
Have the goodness to state in what Manner the Salt was
By Advances to the Molungees, who are the People who
manufacture the Salt.
Was the Condition of those Molungees as good as that of any
other Labourers in the Country?
Fully as good, and in many Cases better.
Are there any Means of increasing the Supply, without any
considerable Increase of Cost?
If higher Prices were given for Salt, of course more could be
produced; but I always understood there was as much produced as was required for the Consumption of the Country. For
Three or Four Years together, the Government tried the Experiment of giving an increased Price, and having a larger Quantity
of Salt made; that was about the Years 1814, 1815, 1816, and
1817. But there was an enormous Loss to the India Company
from the Experiment, and it was never adopted afterwards.
Do you know what the Alteration in the Retail Price was
under that Arrangement in 1814, whether it rose considerably
I cannot answer that Question; I do not know.
Is the Salt sold by the Company in large Quantities?
It is sold at Monthly Sales, or every Two Months.
Is the Quantity to be sold known before Hand?
It is always advertised at the Beginning of the Year what
Quantity will be sold in that Year, and I think they pledge themselves that not more than a certain Quantity shall be sold; and at
the Beginning of the Year when the first Sale is announced, the
different Sales of the Year are also put into the public Paper, and
Proclamations published at the Salt Offices.
Is it sold in large Parcels?
It is sold I think in Lots of Three or Five thousand Maunds;
the Quantity deliverable at the Agencies is in Lots of 250 to
1,000 Maunds each Lot.
Is the Trade chiefly in the Hands of large Capitalists?
The first Purchasers are large Capitalists, who purchase what
is called the Tuncas, and those Tuncas are sold to Merchants in
the Interior, who receive the Salt at the Agency Warehouses,
and carry the Salt into the different Districts.
Is the Price obtained by the Purchasers at the Sale very much
larger than that given by them to the Company?
I cannot exactly say what Advance they get, but the first
Purchaser, no doubt, gets a Profit.
The Tunca is an Order for the Delivery?
Are you aware what Difference there may be between the Price
at which the Salt is retailed, and the Price at which the Company
I have known the Prices paid for Salt at the Company's Sales
to vary from 340 to 350 Rupees for 100 Maunds to 595 per
What is the Weight of a Maund?
Can you state, when the Price of the Maund was 350 Rupees,
what the Price of that Maund retailed would have been?
No, I had no Opportunity of knowing that; I can state generally what I have paid for Salt myself, which has been about Five
Rupees a Maund, but then it is not so pure; the Price in the
Country is generally about Five Rupees a Maund.
Does the Price in the Country not vary very much?
I do not think it does.
Does it not vary with the Price at the Sale?
The Price at the Sale would have a little Effect upon it, but I
do not think much.
Have any Europeans become Purchasers of Salt to any large
I have often heard of Europeans having Salt sold to them; but
I never recollect hearing of any one who had made any thing
Is Salt ever sent into the Interior in large Quantities?
Merchants resident at large Bazaars very often do so; but,
generally speaking, it is carried in small Quantities in Return
Boats; it is a very heavy Article, and there is great Danger in
dragging it up against the Current.
On whose Account is it so transmitted into the Interior; on
Account of Persons to whom the Boats belong, or the Merchants
in the Interior?
Merchants very often have Boats their own Property, but they
also freight Boats. Of course the Merchants resident in large
Markets carry on a very extensive Trade in Grain and Salt, and
What Return Cargoes do those Boats carry into the Interior
A Variety of different Articles; Cocoa Nuts, or any thing that
is required in the Province to which they are going.
Have they generally a full Freight when they go back?
Seldom or never.
So that the Cost of the Conveyance of the Salt is not very
I should suppose that is one Reason why Europeans cannot
succeed in the Trade, that the Natives can do it much cheaper, by
sending small Quantities in the Return Boats. For instance, a
Merchant residing at Patna sends certain Quantities of Grain to
Calcutta, for the Use of the Horses there, and he receives back
by those Boats the Articles that will sell in that Part of the
Country; but they never freight their Boats so heavily as when
they go with the Current.
Do you know any Instances of Salt being imported into India
I heard of One or Two Ships that were sent from Liverpool a
few Years ago.
Do you know whether the Adventure succeeded?
I understood that it did succeed, and that the Government
immediately put an additional Duty on all Salt that might be
Do you know whether the Price at which that Salt imported
from Europe was sold was one that could have come into Competition with the Price of Salt made in India, had the Manufacture
of Salt there been free?
No, I am sure it could not. If the Manufacture of Salt in
India was free, there would be very little Salt required, for the
Natives would make it in every District of the Country.
Is there any Prejudice on the Part of the Natives against the
Use of Salt imported by Sea?
Many Natives of high Caste would rather starve than eat the
Salt from this Country; no Hindoo of good Caste would eat any
thing from on board a Ship.
Is that on account of its having been prepared by Persons not
Not only prepared, but any Articles touched by Europeans they
will not eat.
Do you mean to state that there are the Means of preparing
Salt at any considerable Distance from the Sea, and in various
Parts of the Country?
The Salt is produced by various Means in India; there is a
Lake the Bottom of which is entirely formed of Salt, called the
Sambre Lake; but there is a Duty, I believe, on that Salt, if
imported into the Company's Provinces; and they also make Salt
in the same Way, I apprehend, as they make Saltpetre. It is
not so good Salt, but they can make it, I have heard, in small
In what Part of the Country are the Salt Manufactories of the
In the lower Parts of Bengal, and in those Parts only along
the whole Mouths of the Ganges, and up the Rivers and Creeks
Cannot Salt be provided in this Part of the Country at a
much cheaper Rate than it could any where else, except the Salt
Could not that Salt be manufactured so cheaply as to undersell
any Salt made in any other Parts of the Country?
I have no doubt it could be; many Natives would manufacture
a little for their own Use.
Is Salt generally manufactured on Advances?
Entirely by Advances.
To whom are the Advances made?
Individually to the Molungees, (who make the Salt,) in the
Presence of the Agent.
Can you state what is the Amount of Advance made to each
It depends upon the Quantity of Salt Land he has to manufacture his Salt from.
Is a Molungee invariably the Proprietor of Salt Land, or is it
allotted to him?
He is either a Proprietor himself, or he rents it. They are
generally Renters, and the Company pay a Remuneration to the
Zemindar of the District in which the Salt is manufactured.
Speaking generally, are the Molungees indebted to the Company
on their Advances, or are they on the Delivery of their Salt free
from all Embarrassment?
I do not recollect, during the Time I was Salt Agent, that there
were any Balances at the End of the Year, and Rewards are
invariably distributed to those who conduct themselves with the
Do you conceive it is in the Power of any Molungee, without
Difficulty, to leave the Manufacture of Salt?
Certainly it is; but it is generally considered to be a very great
Punishment to be dismissed from the Service.
Are you not aware that an Impression contrary to that Statement
prevails in this Country?
I have heard it often mentioned.
Do you know on what it is founded?
I conceive there is no Foundation in Truth whatever for it; for
there is no Class of People in the World better looked after, or
more kindly treated, than the Molungees employed in the Salt
Monopoly in India.
Can you state at how much a Maund the Salt is produced; how
much The East India Company gives for it?
The Price given by The East India Company varies in different
Districts. In some Parts the Land produces more Salt. For
Instance, in the Hidjelee Agency, situated between Tumlook and
the Sea, the Earth is, I believe, more deeply impregnated with
Salt than it is in the Tumlook District, consequently the Price
given was less; for the same Reason, in the Districts in my Agency
that were nearest the Sea, they received a less Price than the one
In the District where it was most easily produced, how much
was paid for it?
I think Half a Rupee a Maund; and in the most Northern
District I think Twelve or Fourteen Annas, which is very nearly
So that the Sale Price is about near Six to Eight hundred per
Cent. on the Cost Price?
Very nearly that.
What is the Quality of the Salt; is it refined?
No, it is not refined; it only undergoes one boiling.
Is it to be compared to the Salt eaten in this Country?
I think it is very far superior.
In what respects?
It is not so bitter as the English Salt.
Is it better than our Refined Salt?
I should think better than any Europe Salt.
Are the Crystals large?
It is very fine; it is not in Crystals at all.
Is the Madras Salt ever brought into the Market at Calcutta?
It depends upon the Quantity of the Salt in Bengal; if there is
not a sufficient Quantity of Salt produced in Bengal, Government
issue Proclamations with the Prices which will be given for the Salt
from the Coast, and then Ships touch at the different Ports on the
Coast and bring the Salt to Calcutta.
Except when the Salt produced under the Monopoly is not
sufficient to meet the Amount advertised, the Importation of
Madras Salt would be prohibited?
I conceive so.
Can you give any Information as to the Price that Madras Salt
No, I cannot.
Is its Quality inferior to that of Calcutta Salt?
I believe it is inferior, and sells at a much lower Price,
though a much higher Price is given by the Company than
for their own.
For what Reason is it bought at a higher Price by the
To avoid Disappointment by the Natives, I conceive, from a
smaller Quantity being made than the Supply of the Country
Is much Salt consumed by the Natives?
They cannot live without it.
Has any Complaint been made to your Knowledge of the
Quantity consumed by each Individual?
I do not recollect exactly; I have heard it often; I never heard
the Natives complain of the Monopoly of Salt.
Do you conceive that if they were permitted to manufacture
Salt, as you state, at a very low Price, the Consumption would be
No, I do not think it would.
Can you state what the Price of Salt is in the Interior, at any
Distance from Calcutta?
To the best of my Recollection, it may be stated to be Five
Rupees a Maund, that is about 200 Miles above Calcutta; I believe it is as dear in Calcutta, but then the Natives who purchase
the Salt adulterate it very considerably after it leaves the Company's
Can you state at what Price the Salt imported from the North,
and carried over the District, is able to compete in the Market
with the Salt in Calcutta?
It is not, I believe, brought down in large Quantities lower than
the District of Benares, nor would it answer, I conceive, to carry
the Calcutta Salt higher than Benares.
How far is Benares from Calcutta?
By Land it is about 400 Miles, and by Water about 700.
Can you state at what Distance from Benares the Salt brought
into Competition with that from Culcutta is brought to it?
I cannot state exactly the Distance.
How are the Countries not under the Government of the Company supplied with Salt?
There are vast Quantities of Salt produced in the Western
and Northern Parts of India, but I do not know how they are
Do you know at what Price that is sold?
No, I have no Idea.
Is much Salt illegally made, or smuggled in?
I believe every Molungee almost is in the habit of smuggling a
little Salt, which makes them so much attached to the Business;
and some Molungees I have known very rich Men.
What is the Penalty on smuggling?
The Penalties on smuggling were Fine and Imprisonment, but
I believe it was very seldom inflicted. I do not remember having
committed any Person to Prison for smuggling, for I considered in
some Instances the Molungees were not sufficiently paid for their
Salt; it (the low Price) operates more against the Company themselves than as an Oppression towards the Natives who make the
Do you conceive it would be impossible to abolish the Monopoly
and substitute an Excise Duty on the Manufacture, combined with
a Custom Duty on the Importation?
I think it would be very dangerous to do it; and it would require
some Time to prepare the Natives for such an Alteration.
What do you foresee to be the Diffiulties?
That it might have an Effect on the Supplies of Salt in the
Interior, and the Difficulty of defining who should have the Salt
Lands; they are possessed by Zemindars generally as their Property, so that if the Company were to give up the Monopoly, the
Land would fall into the Possession of Men who would have the
sole Power of making Salt; and in the District where I was, the
Lands were generally possessed by Two People-the Rajah of
Tumlook, and the Rajah of Mysadul. I paid a Sum every Month
to those People of about Five or Six thousand Rupees, as a Remuneration for the Lands that were appropriated to the Salt
Do you conceive any other Difficulty would arise to the Imposition of such a Duty than that of framing proper Regulations?
The Supply would be at first very uncertain; and as the Natives
do not complain of the Monopoly, I conceive it would be a very
dangerous Experiment to try; the Monopoly would fall into the
Hands of some Persons.
You say that Salt might be manufactured any where?
Yes; but of course the Earth produces very little, and the Salt
is not so good, and it would be only the poorest Class of Natives
who would think of taking that Trouble; probably it would be
difficult for them to get a Supply in Time, if any sudden Change
was made in the Monopoly.
Do you ascribe the principal Difficulty to the Abruptness of the
Change rather than its being in the End nearly impracticable?
I do not think it is impracticable at all.
Are the Lands now occupied by the Company for the Purposes
of Salt Manufacture divided amongst a great Number of
I cannot answer that Question without reference to Records
upon the Subject. I believe every Native Molungee who receives
Advances from the Company pays a Salt Rent for the Land from
which he is to manufacture the Salt.
How many Salt Agencies are there?
Seven or Eight.
Would there be greater Danger of Adulteration in the event
of the Monopoly of the Company ceasing?
I think there would be very great Danger; it increases the
Danger if the Manufacture rests with Individuals.
Is it a voluntary Bargain on the Part of the Persons on whose
Lands the Salt is made, or is the Land assumed by the Government as an Act of Authority?
I cannot answer that Question decidedly; there is a Remuneration paid to the Zemindar by the Salt Agent; but it occurs to me
that that is a Remuneration for the Right their Ancestors held, and
that the Natives who manufacture the Salt pay a Revenue for the
Lands occupied by them for that Manufacture.
Is the Amount of that Revenue fixed by Government?
I think the Government have some Means of checking any
Can you state what was the Number of the first Purchasers of
Salt at the Company's Sales?
Are they Persons of large Capital?
They are generally considered as Persons of large Capital.
Are they a numerous Body?
I believe they are a very numerous Body.
Is there much Competition?
I conceive them all to go together, that it is a sort of second
Monopoly, and that they receive a very small Profit on a very
large Sum of Money, which in the course of Time makes them
Are they Natives?
Yes, they are Natives.
Do the first Purchasers never sell the Salt by Retail?
I believe never.
Are the Persons who purchase the Salt from them numerous?
There are a certain Number from every District between Benares
and Calcutta, Salt Merchants; People who trade in Salt also trade
in Grain and all other edible Commodities.
The first Purchasers purchase at the Auction?
Are the second Sales by private Contract?
Those Tuncas are sold at so much Advance per Cent.
Can you state at how much per Cent. in general?
I never had an Opportunity of knowing.
Do those Persons whom you describe as the second Monopolists
agree together not to give more than a certain Price, or do they
bid against each other?
The Impression upon my Mind is, that they agree together what
Price they will give.
What is there to prevent those who are now the second Purchasers being the first Purchasers?
I know no Rule that prevents them; they might, if they had
Is the Quantity in each Lot so large as to deter them?
No, I do not think that it is; though one Lot might be more
than they would require.
The Lots are 5,000 Maunds?
Yes, to the best of my Recollection, they are either Three or
Five thousand; I cannot recollect precisely which.
Do you consider the Situation of the Molungees as improved,
compared to what it was some Years ago?
Most certainly it is.
There were some Courts of Justice specially formed for their
Protection, were there not, some Years back?
I do not know that any were; but new Regulations were framed,
and the Government have always exercised great Vigilance in
every thing relating to the Salt Department.
What were those Measures of Improvement by which their
Circumstances have been ameliorated?
They took place so many Years before I was in the Department,
that I cannot satisfactorily answer that Question; but it was in the
Time of the Government of The Marquis Wellesley the new
Arrangements were made; and I believe there was more Corruption on the Part of the Europeans than there is now; that the
whole System was corrupt.
Have you Reason to think that, before this Improvement took
place, their Situation was peculiarly unfavourable, as compared
with that of the rest of the Natives?
I should not suppose that their Situation was particularly hard;
for they participated, of course, in the Corruption which existed
throughout the whole Department.
Do you know whether any Measures have been adopted with a
view of making the Employment less unhealthy than it used
I conceive it impossible to do that, for it is the Situation of the
Country which is unhealthy.
You think the Employment is now as unhealthy as it was Twenty
Were you concerned in the Purchase of Investments of Indigo?
No, I never was.
When you were resident in the Interior, had you Occasion to
see the Conduct of the Indigo Planters?
I have often seen the Conduct of the Indigo Planters.
Before they had Permission to hold Lands in their own Names,
in what Manner did they obtain Land for the Purpose of cultivating
They obtained Lands by farming the different Zemindarries in
the Names of their Servants, and they had just as much Possession
of the Land before as any Law or any Act of Parliament could
Did it appear to you that any practical Inconveniences arose
out of the former System of Farming in the Name of their
I conceive very great Inconvenience to arise from that.
State what they were?
Various Oppressions of the Planters towards the Natives.
Of what Nature were those Oppressions?
Compelling them to sow a larger Proportion of Land with
Indigo than they would otherwise be inclined to do, and by taking
their best Lands.
Did those Oppressions arise out of the System; namely, the
System to which they were forced to resort, by not being allowed
to hold Lands in their own Names; or did they arise out of the
necessary Connection that was existing between them and the
It arose out of the Competition which takes. place between
Indigo Planter and Indigo Planter residing in the same District.
When they forced the Natives to apply their best Lands, and a
larger Portion of the Land than the Natives desired, to the Cultivation of Indigo, whose Power did they exercise?
The Power of the Zemindar.
Was it from the Zemindar they took the Lease?
The Zemindar may rent his Land to Three or Four People.
The Zemindar lets it to what is called an Izardaar, or Farmer;
the Izardaar again to what is called a Durizzardar, or Underfarmer; and each gets a considerable Profit on the Lands, and the
Natives are in consequence very much oppressed.
Under that System were any Measures adopted for preventing
the Lessor from delegating, or the Indigo Planter from exercising
Power which did not belong to them by Law?
I conceive the Farmer stands exactly in the Shoes of the
Zemindar, and is bound by the same Law which regulates his
Conduct towards the other Parties.
Are the Rights of the Zemindar over the Lands within his
Zemindarry in all Circumstances ascertained, or do they vary in
different Parts of the Country?
I believe they vary in different Parts of the Country.
Before those Leases were granted, were any Means taken to
ascertain the Rights of the Zemindar in that particular Zemindarry?
That I cannot answer.
Do the Indigo Planters make in all Cases Advances to the
I believe in almost all Cases they do.
What Powers have they for the Purpose of forcing the Ryots to
observe the Conditions of the Leases made with them?
They have no Power, except that of resorting to the Courts.
Are there Instances in which Ryots have made Agreements with
more than One Person for the Produce of the same Field?
I believe many Instances; that it is an Occurrence that happens
daily in every Part of Bengal.
Does that lead to much Litigation or Violence?
It leads to great Violence and great Oppression.
By whom is the Oppression exercised?
By the different Indigo Planters and their Servants.
That is, in endeavouring to force the Ryot to perform both
Yes; and in cutting the Weed to which both Parties conceive
they have a Right, violent Affrays take place, and Bloodshed and
Murder frequently occur.
Do such Violences occur oftener in Parts of the Country where
there are not Europeans?
I believe not.
Is it the Fact that an Individual is more disposed to take the
Law into his own Hand, when he thinks he has no Right?
I think so.
Has the Manufacture of Indigo been improved by the Indigo
I have always understood it has been greatly improved within
the last Twenty Years.
What is the Condition of the Persons who act under them; are
they in a comfortable Situation?
Under a good Master they are very comfortable, and under a
bad one they are very much the reverse.
Should you say that the Condition of the Ryots who labour
for European Indigo Planters was generally better than that of
I should say it was not better.
Are they not equally well remunerated, or does the Inferiority
of their Condition result from those occasional Acts of Violence?
Indigo is a very uncertain Plant; the Native is put to great
Expence in cultivating his Field, and very often it yields nothing;
and where the Indigo Planter who makes Advances on the Land is
inclined to be oppressive, it leads to the most serious Consequences
to those Individuals.
Do you think that the Measures adopted by the Indigo Planters
lead to a more extensive Cultivation of Indigo than would take
place if Europeans were not engaged in that Article of Commerce?
That is, that the Indigo Planters adopt Measures for forcing the
Ryots to cultivate Indigo, and that has led to more extensive
Cultivation of the Plant?
The Indigo Planter farms the Lands in the first instance, and
that compels those Persons either to sow a certain Quantity of
Indigo, according to the Quality of the Land he possesses, or he
deprives him altogether of his Land, and turns him out.
Has not the Ryot in most Parts of the Country by Law a Right
to cultivate his Land in what Manner he pleases?
That Right is interfered with by the Indigo Planters?
Yes, it is.
All that the Ryot owes to the Zemindar is a certain Portion of
the Produce of his Land, whatever that Portion may be?
No; the Land pays a certain Revenue to the Person who holds
He has entire Liberty to cultivate the Land as he pleases?
Provided he pays that fixed Revenue, no one can displace
That was the Intention of the Regulations.
What Remedy has the Ryot when thus forced to cultivate
the Land not according to his own Wishes, but those of the Indigo
He has no other Remedy than an Appeal to the Court.
What Chance has he of having that Appeal heard?
I believe he has very little.
What would it cost him to appeal to the Court?
That I cannot answer; it is to the Zillah Court that I refer.
Do you mean to say that the Cultivation of Indigo is carried on
on a general System of Compulsion?
No, I am certain it is not; I am only alluding to a large
Proportion of Planters in the lower Parts of Bengal, where a
Number of low Europeans and Half-castes are settled.
The System of Compulsion is in fact an Abuse?
A great Abuse.
And it is confined to One District?
It is confined to the whole of Bengal.
Is it general throughout Bengal?
It is now becoming more general every Day. When I first
knew Bengal, it was confined to the Districts near Calcutta-
Kisnagur and Jessore principally.
Is the compulsory Cultivation of Indigo general throughout those
I believe it is.
And the perfect Impotence of the Law to protect the Natives
I believe it is; but I beg, in addition to those Two Districts,
to add Three or Four more - Rajuhaye, Purneah, Malda and
Throughout those Districts, is the Condition of the Ryot cultivating Indigo materially worse than that of other Ryots, speaking
generally, otherwise than in the Instance of a very bad Master?
I speak in reference to the Three or Four first Districts I first
mentioned merely from Report; I speak of Moorshadebad and
Malda from what I have myself seen.
Of what Date?
In 1824, 1825 and 1826; and I say decidedly that the State of
the Ryots in those Districts is in a very deplorable Condition, as
compared with the other Ryots in the same Districts who do not
Can you state what Number of Europeans are settled for the
Purpose of cultivating Indigo?
No, I cannot.
Can you state how much Land is employed in the Cultivation of
Indigo in the Province of Bengal?
I cannot answer that Question. I cultivated 100,000 Begas
myself. I believe there are Two Begas and a Half to an Acre.
Does not the Bega vary in Size in different Districts?
Then it would be about 40,000 Acres you cultivated?
Was that on your own private Speculation?
Yes; another Gentleman and myself.
Is it generally a profitable Speculation?
I found it so when Indigo was only Half the Price it now is; and
I believe it has been a very losing Speculation since the Price of
How do you account for that?
The Oppressions of the Natives, and the great Competition
existing amongst the Mercantile People in India.
Has the Expence of Cultivation increased?
Every thing connected in the Manufacture of Indigo has
increased, and the Seasons have been very unfavourable for many
Has the Expence of producing Indigo much Increased?
Taking into Consideration the Failure of the Seasons, it has
been very much increased. For the last Five or Six Years there
has not been one good Crop of Indigo.
Has a much greater Quantity of Land been applied to Indigo
I believe not; I believe the same Lands; all the alluvial Lands
on the Borders of the Ganges.
Is the Cultivation annually extending?
It is only an annual Plant. In the upper Provinces of India it
is a triennial Plant.
Has more Land been brought latterly into Cultivation?
I believe latterly Cultivation has increased to a great Extent.
The Price, notwithstanding, has continued to increase?
In the Part of India where it is an annual Cultivation, is Indigo
planted the Second Year on the same Lands?
Yes; the Lands, generally speaking, are overflown by the
Ganges, and a Sediment is deposited, which manures the Lands;
and if no Inundation takes place, the next Season is almost certainly
That has been the Case?
It has been the Case for several Years.
Is the triennial Indigo of a different Quality from the other?
It was 'till lately. They found out within these few Years that
by boiling they can make it nearly as good as the Bengal Indigo;
but I believe it has never been considered quite so good.
Is it grown exclusively on Lands which are subject to
In Bengal it is generally sown on Lands subject to Inundation,
and no Person will sow any other Lands if they can get those; but
since the Cultivation became so great, I believe Lands that are not
inundated are also sown with Indigo.
Is it an exhausting Crop?
I should think it was, from the Strength of the Roots and the
Size of the Roots.
Do you know whether, in some Parts of the Country where
Indigo is grown, there is amongst the Ryot's Race an increased
Consumption of European Manufactures as compared with other
Districts where it is not grown?
No, I do not believe there is.
What Right of holding Land is now given to an European
I do not know what has taken place since I left India.
Is the Cultivation entirely in the Hands of Europeans?
Not altogether; some of the Natives have considerable Factories.
Is the Indigo manufactured by Natives as good as that manufactured by Europeans?
I believe not.
During the Period in which it was such a beneficial Employment of Capital to Europeans, do not you think the Ryot shared at
all in the Advantages which arrived to the State?
I think they did. 'Till the Cultivation took place in Bengal, I
think the Ryots were comparatively happy; I have heard them say
For some time after European Capital was first invested in that
Employment, was not the Situation of the Ryot engaged in the
Cultivation considerably improved?
The Introduction of that took place long before I went to Bengal,
and I cannot give a satisfactory Answer to that Question.
Do you think that it can be attended with great Advantage
to the European Cultivator, without leading to some Improvement in the Circumstances of the Ryot, as to Wealth and increased
I think it might do so; but the Effect it has had has generally
been the reverse, I think, speaking from my own Observation.
Do you happen to know whether, in those Districts in which
Indigo is grown, the Collection of the Land Revenue has been
I believe the Collection of the Land Revenue in Bengal has
always been effected without the least Difficulty; but I have no
doubt the Introduction of Indigo Planters into the Interior of India
has of course circulated a much greater Capital than would otherwise have been the Case; but I believe there is no Difficulty in
collecting Revenue in Bengal, because the Provinces were assessed
so much below what they might have been.
Were you ever at Tirhoot, in Bahar?
I have been in that District, but never resided in it.
Did you observe there an Appearance of increased Wealth
among the Ryots?
I believe there is no doubt that there is.
Was there a considerable Consumption of European Manufactures?
That I cannot speak to; I should think the Natives employed in
the Cultivation of Indigo make very little Use of European Manufactures of any kind.
What was the Condition of the Ryots in that Part occupied by
yourself in the Cultivation of Indigo; was their Situation comfortable or otherwise?
I can only speak from what I have heard from themselves, that
they were comfortable, and that it was my Interest to make them
Then the Difficulties you speak of were obviated on your Part
where you resided?
There was not that Competition at that Time that existed in the
other Parts of the Country.
Those Oppressions of the Ryots have been taken place since the great
Chiefly when I was concerned in Indigo myself, I made a
Point of making the Situation of the Ryots as comfortable as
Might not those Oppressions of which you have complained be
easily obviated in other Instances as they were in your own?
If the same Conduct is observed to be followed up, it might be;
but a very different Class of Persons have come into Possession
of the Factories, Country-born Half-castes, and One or Two
As Principals or as Agents?
Did you reside in the Place where your Indigo Plantation was
Yes, I did, about Forty Miles above Moorshadebad.
Do Persons who have taken those Lands for the Cultivation of
Indigo generally reside there?
They generally reside on the Lands. In some Cases the Agents
in Calcutta have a Share in the Factories, but not in all.
Is there much Difference in the Situation of the Ryot, whether
it is conducted by the Principal in Person or by Agents?
I should conceive not.
What has led to this Change in the Description of Persons who
manage the Indigo Plantations?
The Introduction of a greater Number of Europeans of course
has led to the Change.
Do those European Indigo Planters retire to England at a
Some of them do, if they can make the Change.
Do many of them remain in the Country?
I believe very few who can quit it.
Do their Sons succeed them in the Indigo Plantation?
Very commonly they do.
Do they marry?
Where do they get their Wives?
They marry the Daughters of Indigo Planters, I suppose, or
any body they can get.
Is the Race they leave a white Race or a mixed Race?
Both white and mixed.
Do they divide their Property amongst those Persons of different
That I do not know.
Do you recollect any Indigo Plantation which has been for more
than One Generation in the Hands of Europeans?
There has not been Time enough for that since I was in India;
but I believe it was considered so profitable a thing that many
Gentlemen came home, leaving their Property in the Hands of
Agents in India.
Are those Indigo Plantations established by means of Capital
imported into India from England, or by means of Capital borrowed
from the Agents at the Presidency?
Generally by Capital borrowed from the Agents at Calcutta.
Are the Persons to whom those Plantations belong generally
Persons of substantial Wealth themselves?
I believe a very small Proportion are at all in comfortable
Have they not been considered as the Agents of the Agents in
In many Cases they may be considered the Servants or Superintendents of their Agents.
How do those Persons you have described first get established in
the Indigo Plantations?
Through Recommendations, I suppose, in many Cases.
Can a Person who is in India go to any Part of India he pleases,
and follow any Line of Life he likes, without some Leave from the
None ought to do it; but no respectable Man is ever refused
Leave, I believe, and many get Leave who ought not to have
Have you heard of the Failure of the House of Palmer and
Company, at Calcutta?
Are you aware that that House was principally connected with
I do not know, but I have heard they were.
Do you mean to say, that among Indigo Planters there are not
many respectable Men?
I mean to say there are many very respectable Men; Men of
the highest Respectability.
And Men of Capital?
Not many Men of Capital.
What Capital they have they have acquired in that Country?
Yes; I never knew Men with Capital going out to India to
establish an Indigo Plantation.
Have not many of the Disorders which have taken place in the
Indigo Districts been occasioned by Disputes about Boundaries?
I believe that is the principal thing which creates Disputes.
Lands are thrown up by the Ganges, or great Rivers, and each
Party claims those Lands.
Are not such Disturbances rather to be imputed to the Peculiarity of local Circumstances than to any defective Conduct or
blameable Conduct in the Cultivator?
In some respects they proceed from local Circumstances, certainly.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Tuesday next,