Page images

Jumma of 1243. Jumma of 1244.
BEN ARES............... 10,76,256 . . . . . . . . 10,76,751
MIRZAPORE......... 6,67,943 ....... . 6,67,797

Joun POR E. . . . ....... 1 1,52,106 . . . . . . . . 11,93,528
GHAzEEPORE. . . . . . 12,43,088 . . . . . . . . 13,75,835

Total 41,39,393 43, 13,914

All permanently assessed.

Jumma of 1243. Jumma of 1244.
GORUCKPORE. . ...... 11, 1 1,551 ........... 12,49,630

The survey is in stronger force here than elsewhere, in order that the settlement may be speedily completed. The addition to the Government rent roll is so important, being at the rate of more than 100 per cent. that it is obviously desirable no delay should occur; and yet with all this enormous increase —actual and prospective, it will scarcely be believed that the cultivated area will bear an average of only one rupee per acre. The peculiarity of the Birt tenure, and the small area of the villages, rather retard the progress of the settlement, but it will, doubtless, be concluded by the end of next year.

Jumma of 1243. Jumma of 1244.
Azi MGURH........... 12,82,907 . . . . . . . . 13,54,369

The survey and settlement of this district are finished. It is matter of regret that Mr. Thomason has been called away before completing the records of settlement under his own superintendence. His successor, who has obtained good repute for his own settlement labour in various pergunnahs, will, no doubt, bring up the work in a most efficient manner, but Mr. Thomason's abilities and talents are of such a high order that we very unwillingly forego the pleasure which a perusal of his own remarks would have afforded us. We trust that he will give us the benefit of his experience and conclusions in some durable shape.


Jumma of 1243. Jumma of 1244.
Five DISTRICTs...... 37,15,812 ..... .. 38,07,991

A few partial commencements have been made, and, as almost the whole division has been served professionally by Captain Simmonds, we may expect the officers to commence with vigour next season. There is no lack of ability amongst them, and a fund of excessive zeal. Captain W. Brown is surveying the remaining portions of Hansie, and will shortly take up Badshahpoor, Ferozepoor, Captain Thoresby's Bhuttee country, and the tract reluctantly given up by Pattialah.


Jumma of 1243. Jumma of 1244.
THREE DIVISIONs.... 22,28,181 .......... 21,53,608

Settlements are proceeding in this division, but without any trust-worthy survey, and with large abatements, in order to reconcile the potails to the dangers which they apprehended from a twenty years' lease. The famous minute of Mr. R. M. Bird, induced a thorough reform into the mode of administration in this division; and a man who enters into engagements with Government is now compelled to act up to them, instead of being buoyed up with the hopes of ultimate remission by exciting the collector's commisseration.

We think that the result of this detailed examination amply bears out our assertion, that the settlement is making satisfactory progress in the North Western Provinces. The enormous interests involved in the question have induced us to enter into large detail. If we deduct the revenue of Benares (41,39,393 rupees) from the total jumma of 1243 F. S., we shall find a revenue of 3,77,53,416 rupees affected by the measures in progress. From this is to be deducted a further sum for excess of nominal over real demand, and we shall leave a clear revenue of about 3,60,00,000 rupees, which either is to come or has come under revision of settlement. This is several lacs above the revenue permanently assessed in Bengal, Behar, and Orissa; several lacs above the whole revenue of Madras, both permanently and periodically assessed, and more than double the whole revenue of Bombay. We subjoin the following table in exemplification. It must be remembered that the whole exhibits nominal demand, and is so far, of course, in favour of permanently assessed provinces.

Jumma of - 1829-30. Square miles. | Population. Sicca Rupees Permanently settled .... 3,24.70,853 149,782 35,518,645 Periodically settled ...... 3,76, 19,553 161,250 34, 191,426 Bengal 7,00,90,406 311,032 69,710,071 |Madras Rupees Permanently settled .... 85, 11,009 49,607 3,941,021 Periodically settled ... 2,27,27,005 92,316 9,567,514 Madras 3,12,38,014 141,923 13,508,535 *:::::::: ... 1,48,19,288 64,938 6,251,546 Total 11,61,47,708 517,893 69,470,152

It is satisfactory to know that the settlements which are in progress are made without any avowed purpose of increasing the Government rent roll, although the net result of the whole will probably be an increase of twenty lacs. Abatements are even more readily conceded than enhancements are laid on. . Never yet has a proposal for relieving an over-assessed estate met with rejection. On the contrary, the collectors have been positively enjoined to search out those estates which are heavily assessed, and to reduce them at once of their own accord, although the sanction of Government may already have been obtained for the existing lease. ... In the same spirit it has been declared that while in newly assessed estates all decrease is to be given immediately, increase is not to be taken till after the year of settlement. While such just principles obtain, we need be under no fear of over-assessment, and its consequent demoralization. The able statistical tables which have appeared in our magazine under the signatures of S. and P. R. shew the assessment of these provinces to be any thing but severe. So far is the revenue from absorbing the whole of the rent, or even nine-tenths of it, as the least virulent of the Honourable Company's opponents assert, that, on an average, little more than one-half enters the Government exchequer. To be sure a deduction of about one-third or one-fourth only is left in favour of the proprietors, but it is, of course, merely nominal, as every one not ignorant of settlement work well knows. Indeed, when we consider what an acre of land can produce even in this country of light soil and clumsy agriculture, and then examine the rate at which the revenue falls on the cultivation, we cannot affirm that it is excessive. We subjoin tables of the rate of assessment in the several zillahs which have yet come under revision. We make no selection of pergunnahs to suit a particular purpose, but take the mean rate of each district, as far as it has been settled.

- - - RATES OF ASSESSMENT PER AC RE. Name of District.

On total area. On malgoozaree. On cultivation. Seharanpore .............. 1 5 9 1 11 3 1 14 9 Bereilly.................... 0 14 5 1 0 7 2 0 9 Goruckpore ............. 0 8 10 0 12 8 1 1 0. Meerut. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 0 6% 1. 3 11 1 13 4 Allyghur. ..... . . . . . . . . 2 0 8 2 7 10 | 2 10 9 Muttra...... ------------------ 1 13 11 2 5 2 2 10 3 Furruckabad .............. 0 14 () 1 1 2 1 12 7 Bijnour ....... ----- - - - - - - 0 15 2 I 3 2 1 15 4 Saheswan ............. - - - - - 0 12 2 0 15 7 I 8 6 Azimgurh . . . . . . . . ...... 1 0 2 1 9 3 2 4 5 Saugor........... . . . . . . 0 9 8 () 13 2 1 7 1 Jubblepore ............ O 9 6 0 l l 2 1 4 3 Agra (Reg. vii.) . . . . . . 1 11 2 2 2 1 () 2 9 8

The last is quoted because friend IN Do Phi LUs said, it was almost the only moderately-assessed district in the upper provinces; but the averages tells another tale.

We regret extremely to find that we have already so far exceeded the limits assigned to us, as to leave no room for a discussion we had promised ourselves, respecting the vexata quaestio of settling by average revenue rates, and a comparison between our own and the ryotwar system of Madras. Of the rate question we can only say, that the objection which has been urged against it of rendering poor soils liable to heavier assessment than rich ones, would only be valid if the settling officer were in every instance to settle by one revenue rate. But the fact is, he is under peremptory injunctions to see where these poor soils intervene, he is ordered to class them separately, and at lower rates, and where they are too small and scattered to admit of distinct classification, he is merely to state his reasons in each instance of their occurrence, why he has not taken the full revenue rate. Now, in this there is nothing recondite; in this there are none of the perplexities and mystifications of the old produce rates, and if it is remarked that, by the present system, you cannot get at the real assets of a village, we can only reply that neither did the ponderous old entomological 'system (if we may venture on the expression), nor will any system in the world enable one to obtain them. Whatever is done in settlement work must be almost at a venture, and we would infinitely rather rely upon the discretion of a European in forming a standard rate than on the fictitious assets and estimate given in by a native ameen. What has become of the IRegulation VII. settlements, which professed to be formed on the most careful ascertainment of produce? how many of them have stood with their fractional nirukhnames and myrionymous soils? and how many within so short a period have undergone subsequent revision by the application of these very rates ? On the second subject of the comparison between a ryotwar and our mouzahwar settlement we have collected meterials, but must avoid introducing the discussion for fear of extending an article already too long. Much as we have to say in praise of our system and condemnation of the Madras ryotwar, we think it is but just to the latter to point out the gross misrepresentations which it has to undergo, because disputants will persist in remaining ignorant of the important modfications which it has undergone since the year 1820. It was but the other day that a discussion arose at the presidency, respecting the merits and demerits of the ryotwaree settlement, when the well-known statements of Messrs. Fullarton and Tucker were quoted as applicable to the present state of the system. The stale arguments about compulsory labour and the ten per cent. liabilities of neighbours (which even the Edinburgh Review of April 1823, brings against it), and the excessive rates, only prove how little it is known that the latter have been reduced from 12 to 42 per cent, and that the two former have been totally abrogated. Nevertheless, we will show how much evil attaches to the system, how many domiciliary inspections, how many minute interferences are rendered necessary on the part of the collector's establishment, by merely quoting parts of a cowle" issued this very year in a large ryotwar district. How wretched must it be under these harpies of the jummabundy office. Celaeno herself could not assume a more forbidding and voracious aspect than we descry in a native revenue assessor on his annual circuit to ascertain whether land is nunjah or punjah.

Now, how is it possible for a collector to superintend all these administrative details every year, and issue 60,000 pottahs on the mere report of his native officers respecting the increase or decrease of cultivation, and the conversion of land from an inferior to a superior quality. It is utterly impracticable, and, however, the ryotwar collectors may apply the checks which they profess to be able to do, we must believe it an hallucination. The mere remembrance of such words of Tooloochittoo, Caniatchi, and Parampoke, and a hundred more just as euphonous, is in itself an herculean labour to which the energies of many European collectors must be unequal in an enervating climate.

This system has been preached up by the Government at home, various attempts have been made to introduce it, or rather the local Governments have been ordered to superintend its introduction, and the Bengal collectors have been stigmatized as incompetent, because they were unable or unwilling to manage its details. Whenever the court got angry at our supineness in not endeavouring to master the subject, and, at least, submit it to a fair trial, unfavourable comparisons have been instituted, in which the balance is always in favour of Madras. On the 11th of June 1823, they remark, that the ryotwar settlement has been eminently successful in other parts of India, that it is the system which has been acted upon throughout extensive tracts of country, and that it has brought their European functionaries employed in the administration of the revenues to a more minute acquaintance with the landed tenures of India, and the rights and interests of the natives concerned in the agriculture of the country, than they possessed in regard to any provinces in which that system has not been adopted. Now, with respect to the knowledge of the landed tenures, it unfortunately did not prevent them taking almost every possible measure to effect their subversion. It cannot now be questioned that their assumption of waste land as Government property was an infraction of private right, and in conferring as was done in many instances, and as Professor Reaumur proposed to do in Ireland to the horror of the landlords, a transferable and heritable right upon the Paracoody Pyacarries, and converting them from tenants at will into tenants in capite, that they manifested anything but knowledge of Indian tenures. They, indeed, have lately declared, that when one or more concurrent liens exist, the holder of the highest is to engage with Government; but their previous measures must have almost extirpated the class, which did hold the highest lien. Even Mr. Ellis's meerassee paper was ineffectual to prove the indefeasible right of the proprietary body to the waste land in every village, and Mr. Chaplin could solittle divest himself of his ancient prejudices, that as commissioner of the Deccan, he delivered it as his opinion, that all ghutkoollapsed to Government, and not to the federate village communities. Surely men bred up in such a school, whatever knowledge they may have of rates and assessment, could not boast of much information on the common law of Indian tenures. Place any one of them in such a pergunnah as Bilhabans in Azimgurh, Fureedpore in Bareilly, and Soordar in Furruckabad, and let us see what he would make of a khet-but, or of a khoont-but in the Soorijpore talooka, or of a bhej in Bundlecund.

That the ryotwar system must naturally deaden all industry, that it must repress the energies which freemen ought to possess, are lamentable truths.

* We have been hecessitated to omit the Cowle, owing to the length of this article.-ED.


The state of the collections shows that the cultivation of the waste cannot have increased to any extent, that the revenue of all our provinces which are subjected to this system has been so far from improving, that it has positively retrograded. The financial results of this management tell an important lesson. The lands settled on the ryotwar principle yielded :

In 1805-6.............. Madras Rs. 2,38,27,063
In 1814-15 ----. . . . . . . . . . x-r 2,40,67,512
In 1829-30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . x - 2,-6,46,797

Showing a decrease between the year 1805-6 and 1829 30 of IRs. 11,80,266. No system under such a result can be considered prosperous,

Let us compare our revenue management with this, and we shall show. good reason to the Honourable Court to be grateful that the introduction of the ryotwar system in these provinces was successfully resisted, or, if they choose it, neglected by the collectors. Under our village settlements we have: obtained an enormous increase, and, notwithstanding the large reductions which have been willingly granted in Bundelcund and other over-assessed districts, we have been rapidly advancing. The following is surely a picture of unexampled prosperity, not ruination, rack-renting, and demoralization, as a certain class of writers choose to call it; for, as PHILA Lethes justly observes,. the parallel increase of the sayer and customs proves beyond a doubt that the whole population must have been making simultaneous progress in procuring the substantial comforts and luxuries of life.

The land revenue of the ceded and conquered provinces and Delhee

Was :

In 1805-6 . . . . . . . . . ...................... 2,11,18,271
In 1835-36...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,55,25,235

or an increase of one crore and forty-four lacs of rupees in the ceded and conquered provinces and Dehlee, for thirty years since they have been under our rule. Some part of this, but a comparatively small one, may, of course, be attributed to escheats and resumptions, twenty lacs would be more than sufficient on these accounts. It is notorious that all this has been attended with improvement in the condition of the agricultural population. Old deserted villages have been reinhabited to an extent little known, new ones have been built, hamlets are every day rising as shoots struck off from the parent stock, and in every direction uncultivated plains and tiger-jungles have been converted into waving corn-fields.

How much of this surplus we should have obtained had we been under ryotwar management, the Madras accounts too plainly indicate. While, however, we are satisfied with our own system, there is no occasion for disparaging our rivals. We have instituted a faik, financial comparison between them; and, notwithstanding the loud and frequent encomiums which are bestowed upon the ryotwar, we must confess it does not show well. As far as tenures are concerned, if we have not more knowledge of them, we have, at least with greater care, preserved their integrity, and while the revenue under that system is collected at an expense of 14-909, our expenses are only 8-194 per cent. The attempt to show that zemindaree deductions, ought to be included under expenses is manifestly futile, as we could easily show it time would permit us; neither have we time to discuss the question of the permanency of the present settlement, or to describe, as we had intended, some of the most intricate tenures which exist in these provinces, both of which present many interesting attractions which we are unwillingly obliged to forego.

« PreviousContinue »