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A Siamese junk bound from Bangkok to China in June or July last, i. in with a boat, with a crew of twentynine men and pulling twenty-seven oars, at the entrance of the Gulph of Siam. The people in the boat enquired if they could have a passage to China, said they had twenty-five chests of opium, eight catties of camphor barus, and one or two piculs birds' nests in the boat, and proposed to give two chests of opium to the crew, and divide the remainder of their property with the commander of the junk as the price of their passage. The terms were accepted, and the crew before quitting the boat set fire to and destroyed her. The boat is said to have been from Singapore.
ed the boats of the Winchester in quest of them, and two prahus were shortly after captured and sent in. One of these boats, as her crew stated, turned out on trial to be the inoffensive bearer of an answer to a letter that she had brought to the settlement from the Rajah of Ligore. The other boat's crew have been remanded to prison under very suspicious circumstances.
The Naval cow MANDER-IN-chief.-His Excellency the Naval Commander-in-Chief and family, were to leave Penang on H. M.'s ship Winchester for Ceylon on the 20th December.
capt. Low.—The designation of Capt. Low, has been changed by the Governor-General of India in Council from Assistant-Resident to Principal Assistant, Province Wellesley, in order to insure the continuance of that officer, when he may be promoted, in his situation, which (by the present Regulations regarding Military officers holding civil appointments) he could not do with his old designation.
sin E. GAMbier.—Sir Edward and Lady Gambier and Mr. Keer, Registrar of the Court of Judicature, arrived at Singapore on the 5th Dec.
Robbery.—A robbery took place on board the brig Ann, a day or two before her departure for Halifax. The robbers dropped quietly under the stern of the brig in a boat and entered the cabin by one of the stern windows, from whence they succeeded in carrying off the Captain's writing-desk, containg the ship's papers and accounts, with ten dollars. The mate imagining he heard a noise on deck, got up and on looking over the stern saw a person half into the windows; thinking he was going in, he stepped aside to get a piece of iron that was at hand to throw at him, but the noise he made in doing so scarred away the thieves, three in number, who pulled away towards New Harbour with a rapidi
pinacy.—The pirates who infest the neighbourhood of the Straights and Penang, are becoming bolder as they find the impotency of the local Government to coerce them for their depredations. Four or five fast pulling boats, armed and well manned with these sanguniary and merciless corsairs, have recently been prowling about the passage between Penang and the main land, and kidnapping the passengers from small boats passing to and from Province Wellesly, the neighbouring islands and the different fishing towns of the island, many of whom have been taken away and, it is supposed, sold into slavery. Several Chinese fishermen have also been captured and taken away from the fishing stakes, and numbers have in consequence abandoned their occupation. It is reported that the pirates were rendezvousing in a small bay on the west side of the island of Teluk Coomba, and that they might have been extirpated by a small land and sea force, but nothing was attempted to effect this desideratum, as the Government seems to be unable, from the want of power “to disburse one farthing”, to adopt any effectual o: for their suppression, without permission from
The depredations of the pirates having been brought to the notice of the Admiral, his Excellency dispatch
ty which rendered pursuit useless, CHINA.
FIRE AT canton.—A destructive fire broke out in Canton on the 22nd and raged with unabated fury until the evening of the 23d November, when it was partially suppressed. At one time it was expected that the wind would have driven the flames towards the British factories, and the crews of the vessels in the harbour were kept in readiness in consequence to remove the property on the approach of the fire, but it was fortunately quénched before it made its way beyond the walls.
Canton papers to the 15th December, give very favorable accounts of the opium market. Patna is quoted at from Spanish dollars 760 to Spanish dollars 790, and Benares at 720, at which rates some of the importations per Water Witch had gone off.
Captain Landers of the Forth fell in with a rock in the China Seas, seen twenty years ago, which Captain Ross afterwards in vain searched for, and ascertained its osition to be lat. 9, 47,’ long. 110. 19' East, twenty-two eagues east of Pulo Sopato, and in the track of ships going down the China Seas in the north-east monsoon. The rock is not larger than a long-boat keel up, and probably only visible in a heavy sea.
REVIEW OF THE CALCUTTA MARKET.
(From A. E. Kuhn's Monthly Price Current, January 31, 1836.
the pressure of shipments of Indigo and Silk, and the unusual scarcity of arrivals from England during the last quar. ter, have so far reduced the quantity of available tonnage as to have occasioned an extraordinary increase in our mates of freight. This precarious state of things have strongly affect. ed our market, in Teward to the activity which prevails usually at this season, and with exception of shipments of Indigo,
Opium, Si'k and Silk Piece Goods, the general transactions have been during the whole month of an uncommonly limit. ted scale. Dead weight is not obtainable, for indigo and silk to London £st. 11 a 12 per Ton are asked. The rates of the day may be considered nominal, as the scal city of available tonnage subjects the scale to modification. The limited transactious we have to leport in the general Bengal staples, nre with exception of Indigo and silk chiefly for the French and American inai kets. 13 vessels are at present loading for these two countries, while there are only 4 upon the list for England.
IND I Go.—The importation of produce up to this day is reported at f m. 101,615 against f. m $9,870 to a corresponding date last year, showing an increase this year of 1 1,775 inaunds: 10,000 maunds are still expected to a rive Should this quantity not be exceeded, the crop of this season would fall shorter than was anticipated 3 or 4 months ago, and be unde the average of the last 10 years, which we reported in one of our previous numbers, to be 1,1s,850 inaunds. -The uninterrupted very dry weather, which followed immediately the cessation of the rains, may have influenced in some degree this reduc. tion in the produce.
we have had five more public sales at Messrs. Moore, Hickey aud Co's. New ludigo Mart, whose reports we copy.
6th sale, 6th Januarv. – considerable private Sales hav, been effected during the last eight days, – and a public sale held at the New Mart of 270 chests of Indigo, went off with great animation at prices fully higher than any obtained this season, – ranging close on those of last year for sini. lar qualities.
The Market, therefore, may now be considered as opened: buyers of all classes having bid freely for the French, Ameri can, and English Markets and the Gulphs, notwithstanding the reported gloomy accounts of the home prices, brought out by the Oriental from Bordeaux up to the 4th september.—A bono the title that vessel sailed, accounts of this season's crop had arrived in Europe, leading parties to expect at least 1.25 000 to 1,80,000 maunds: – under that impression it is not to he wondered that prices should be unsteatly, is not fall : yet in a London Price C nrrent, lated 21st August, it is stated that “Importers accept buying in prices of late sales. earcent for picked parcels for which advance of 3d paid, good business is bought in lots of last sale, at Auction, 10 chests of Manilla went 2s. 11d. to 4s. 2d. per lb.”
7th sale, 11th January. — 3 l l chests of Indigo were put up for public sale this day, the whole of which went off freely at prices equal to any obtained this season.
There was great competition annongst the buyers for the French, American and English Markets, all parties being evi dently resolved to purchase at the rates of the day.
8th Sale, 15th January. — 372 chests, the whole of which went off with great spirit, prices ranging fully ten or fifteen rupees higher than sales of last month.
There is evidently a brisk demand, particularly for the French Market, whilst sellers hold firinly under the belies that the crop will not exceed 1,10,000 inaunds.
The 9th Sale, 10th January, has gone of much the same as the last, the biddings for all but a fine in a 1 k J A S were animated and general.
The 10th sale took place on the 26th January. Very extensive purchases have been made by private contract at an advance on so iner prices, and the sale at the Mart sully maintained the advance ; the lower qualities selling much higher in proportion than the finer descriptions of Indigo. The principal purchasts were made for the French and Eng. lish Markets,
There was also a public sale held by Messrs. Mackenzie, Lyall and Co at the F. xchange. of about 300 chests, and another is advertised by Messrs. Jenkins, Low and Co. of about 150 chests ot, accuunt of the estate of Messrs. Cluttenden, Mathil lop and Co.
Foreign agents, and particularly the French, who had held back during the last month have come forward and purchas ed freely, the market may therefore now be considered as established, and continues in a very animated state. Prices range now 10 to 15 Rs per inaund higher than at the same time last year. One well known inark, 1. A. S. 134 cliests were bought in at 160 Rs- per inaund at the public sale held at the Exchange, and Rs. 165 per maund has been refused for 230 chests out of 257 of whole cakes of a favourite Kish. nagur mark.
M ET A Ls. – The Copper market continnes depressed notwithstanding the very reduced importation. A sale of 4500 inaunds Pei uvian Slab, at an increase of 1 Ruppe net unaund of our last month's quotation, is the only transaction of itnportance we have to leport. Although the e is not month business doing in Iron, the market is firm and prices steady. Spelter has advanced a few annas, purchases are confined to local wants. No transaction of importance has 1 ranspired in Lead. Quick silver continues to he wanted, and has sur. ther increased in police The market in regard to the articles under this head appears to want fit inness in respect to price.
TW IST.—A supply of about 400 bales is reported per Montrose sron I.iverpool. We in entioned in nur last number, prices of the assortments well supported, but since the market has receded.
cQTTON PIEC E GOODS.— The market all hongh not unfavourably disposed, is at present rather inactive, arising from the absence of orders from the interior and from neighbouring ports.
WOOLLENS.-Very few sales applicable to this division appears on the returns for the current in onth.
[From tin Besa Al Hunkaru.]
The subject of the Municipal Government of the City of Calcutta, the nature and extent of its proper local funds, and their disputed sufficiency for the purposes for which they were established, have often been discussed; sometimes with reference to the circular letters of the Chief Magistrate, calling upon the inhabitants to take part in the management of their own affairs; sometimes in noticing the proceedings of the Court of Quarter Sessions.
These discussions have, however, led to no practical result, partly from want of co-operation on the part of the public, arising perhaps from deficiency of information on the subject; partly from the disinclination of individuals to devote time to a subject which, although interesting and important to all, affects none so directly as to induce them to take much pains, where the result of their trouble is not, in their opinion, likely to be successful.
We willingly respond to the call which has been made upon us, the subject being perhaps more familiar to us, than to most of the inhabitants of Calcutta, as we have for some years given it much of our attention, and have frequently discussed it in these columns.
We submit the subjoined abstract, exhibiting the constitution and duties of the Court of Quarter Session, and the amount and application of the various municipal funds, to which we have added Tables of the income and expenditure of the Assess MENT for 1832-33, and 1833-4.
We have annexed an extract from the Hurkaru of 1833 which gives some particulars of a discussion on the subjects above noticed at the Town Hall on the 1st November of that year.
We trust all interested in the subject (and who is not?) will support by their signature, a petition to Government on the subject, praying that all Local Municipal Funds, may be placed at the disposal of the inhabitants of Calcutta, to be administered either through a reformed Court of Quarter Session or by Commissioners elected by the inhabitants. Such a petition we will engage to prepare with aid of “Counsel, learned in the law” if a sufficient number of inhabitants express their wishes to that effect. We are confident such a petition, supported as we hope and expect it would be by the Bench, could not fail of success.
The other branch of the subject, the revival of the Court of Quarter Sessions, as an efficient legal tribunal, for hearing appeals from Police Magistrates and trying cases of misdemeanour, we should be disposed to treat
the question of the local funds and their administration there can be but one opinion on the part of the taxpayers, who ought with might and main to strive with the tax-receivers until the point be conceded to them, which it will not be, without much entreaty—if at all.
THE COURT OF QUARTER SESSIONS.
The Court of Quarter Sessions is known to the people of Calcutta, only through the medium of an advertisement in the newspapers, which appears quarterly in the following form : — “Notice is hereby given that a General and Quarter Sessions of the Peace will be holden by His Majesty's Jus: tices of the Peace, in and for the town of Calcutta and Factory of Fort William in Bengal, and the places subordinate thereto, at the Office of the said Justices, in the said Town of Calcutta, on Wednesday, the day of − instant, at the hour of 12 o'clock in the forenoon of the same day, for the purposes of the Assessment. -- Clerk of the Peace. Clerk of the Peace Office, the –day of 183 .” The Court meets nobody knows where, and few understand why. Some indeed have asserted that there is no such Court—that it never assembles, and if it does, that it is only as a matter of form, and has no business to transact and no authority to enforce its decrees, In, all or most of these respects they are wrong—the last line of the advertisement shews why it meets, and its place of meeting is stated, though where the office of the Justices is, may not be clearly understood ;--sometimes it is at the Town Hall—sometimes at the Police. The Court certainly has no building of its own, nor any p articular place permanently assigned for that purpose. It does assemble quarterly, however, and not only has important business to transact, if its duties were understool, but has full authority by Act of Parliament to perform that business and to enforce its decrees. - As so much ignorance appears to prevail as to the constitution, nay, the very existence of this Court, without the assembly of which no Assessment whatever can be levi: ed on Houses in Calcutta, we shall offer a brief history of the establishment and subsequent recognition of this Court, from the act establishing it in 1753, to the latest act affecting it, the 9th Geo. IV., commonly called the Indian Criminal Act. - - This explanation is the more necessary, as it is desirable in the first instance, to shew the powers and constitution of the only Municipal Tribunal we possess, and by virtue of whose decrees, the principal of our Town Duties—the House Assessment—is levied. The Calcutta Courts of Quarter Sessions and Requests were established so far back as the reign of Geo. 11., by Charter, dated 8th January, 1753, which also established a Corporation, consisting of a Mayor and nine Aldermen, and made the Mayor's Court of Quarter Sessions a Court of Record. By the Act of the 13th Geo. III., which established a Supreme Court at Calcutta, so much of the ". Charter as made the Mayor's Court a Court of Record, was abrogated, and the Justices, ceased to be Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer: but nothing further. By another Charter of 14th Geo. l II., dated 26th March, 1774, the Court of Quarter Sessions and Court of Requests were especially made subject to the Supreme Court. - By the 33d Geo. III. the Governor-General in Council, by Commissions issued under the seal of the Supreme Court, had power to nominate as many, cover nanted servants of the Company or other British
as a secondary matter-one, too, on which there is much inhabitants, as they may think qualified to act as Justices
difference of opinion and which might be safely left to the Chief Justice and the Legislative Council;
of the Peace—the Governor-General, Members of Coun
cil, and Judges being at the time and previously, the only
but on Justices of the Peace.
The Criminal Act (9th Geo. IV.) also recognizes the Court of General Quarter Sessions; it likewise directs certain cases to be referred to it for adjudication by the Police Magistrates, and a right of appeal to it in all cases of summary conviction, under this act or otherWise. Sir Edward Ryan, in his charge to the Grand Jury on the occasion of the introduction here of the new Cri. minal Act, commented on this subject. He showed that General Quarter Sessions established under the Acts which preceded the constitution of the Supreme Court could still be legally held, and that They wette AbsoI.U.TH. LY NECross Air Y for CA in RY ING INTO EFFECT Thi 1. P!t () Visi ONS OF THAT Act. We subjoin the Chief Justice's remarks, as they are quite decisive on these subjects. “I am fully aware that it has not of late years been usual to hold any Court of General or Quarter Sessions, except for the purposes of making assessments on the owners or occupiers of houses, according to the provisions of the 33d Geo. 3.52. s. 153. I find, however, from the minute book of the Sessions, that Courts of this descrip. tion have been held by the Governor-General and Members of Council; and that Grand Juries have been summoned and charged by the Chairman to enquire, though no persons appear to have been tried. I can have no doubt of the power of the Governor-General and Council to hold a Court of Quarter Sessions. The Charter of 1753, expressly empowers the Governor or President of Fort William and the Council, for the time being, or any three or more of them, to hold a Quarter Sessions of the Peace, four times in the year, and they are authorised to do all acts that Justices of the Peace in England may, under a Commission from the Crown. By section 36 of the Letters Patent of 1774, the power given to the Governor and Council under this clause to act as Commissioners of Qyer and Terminer was, and is, repealed; but their jurisdiction as a Court of Quarter Sessions is expressly recognised by the 21st section. “The 38th sec. of the 13th Geo. 3. 63, also expressly enacts that the Governor-General and Council are to have authority to act as Justices of the Peace, and to do all matters and things which appertain to that office, and are empowered to hold Quarter Sessions within the settlement of Fort William four times in every year, and the same shall be at all times a Court of Record. “I know that it has been considered a question of some doubt and difficulty, whether any of the Statutes enable Justices of the Peace under Commissions from this Court to hold a Court of Quarter Sessions, for any other, purpose than those of making an assessment I will not now enter into the difficulties to which the various Statutes relating to this subject give rise. “I can only say that whatever may be the inconvenience (which I should have thought would have been present to those who assisted in the framing of this Act) it will be absolutely necessary that a Court of General or Quarter Sessions should be held, in order that the directions of this Statute may be complied with. This necessity is the more apparent from the provisions of the 48th and 49th sections. - “The 48th section provides that in all cases (not limit: ed to conviction under this Act) where the sum adjudged to be paid on any summary convition shall exceed Fitty Sicca Rupees; or the imprisonment adjudged shall exceed one calendar month; or conviction shall take place before one Justice only; any person who shall think himself aggrieved by any such conviction, may appeal to the next Court of General Quarter Sessions. The clause goes on to direct the notices, &c. which the party appealing shall give, and provides for his discharge, if in prison under the conviction, on his giving sureties, to try the appeal. The Court at such Sessions is to hear and determine the matter of the appeal. - - “The 49th section provides that no such conviction or adjudication made on appeal therefrom shall be quashed for want of form ; or removed by certionari, or other:
wise, into any of His Majesty's Superior Courts of repairing...watching,
to be taken according to their literal meaning without
LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL FUNDS. We now come to the enumeration of the Local Funds over which we think the inhabitants of Calcutta, either through the Quarter Sessions, by means of District Committees, Commissioners of Conservancy, or other competent Municipal Court, ought to possess full and entire control. The first and best understood of these funds is the Assrss Most which is levied under the sanction of the Court of Quarter Sessions, as will appear by the following extracts from Acts of Parliament. By the 33d Geo. III. the Justices, in Quarter Session assembled, are authorized to “, appoint Scavengers for cleansing the streets, and to nominate and appoint such persons as they may think fit, in that behalf, and also to order the watching and repairing of the streets as they respectively shall judge necessary : and for the purpose of defraying the ea enses thereof, from time to time, to make an equal assessment on the owners or occupiers of houses,” &c. It is further directed that all “and every such Assessment or Assessments shall, and may, from time to time, be levied and collected by such person or persons and in such manner, as the said Justices, by the r order in Session, shall direct and appoint in that behalf; and the money thereby raised, shall be employed and dispossed of, according to the orders and directions of said Justices in Session respectively, for and towards the repai, ing, watching and cleansing the said Streets, AND fon No othen Pu R post." The present Assissvir NT of 5 per cent, amounts, nominally, to about three lakhs of rupees ; but aster deducting non-payments and the expens s of , collection (say 30,000 Rs.) it yields only about two lakhs of rupees net. We ask, is this sum, or the net proceeds, whatever they may be, ea clusively appropriated to “the and cleansing of the Streets of
Another Municipal Tax, levied under the title, of Town Duty, yields about 2% lakhs of Rupees. For what purposes was this imposed ? and how is it appropriated Hs it devoted to the improvement of the Cityas in all British and foreign free towns is the case-of
is it paid into the General Treasury to be remitted to England towards defraying the expenses of our duplicate and triplicate Governments in 1.ondon ' It was given to the town in 1823, as a Municipal Tax applicable to local purposes, not only in Calcutta, but all over the country—but was resumed in 1829 |
The profits of the Lorre Ries, which are avowelly “for the improvement of the City of Calcutta,” yiell, we believe, at least a lakh of rupees per annum. What becomes of this trifle The Sub-Treasurer can probably inform us? The Lottery Committee can perhaps say why all “improvements” have been suspended for several years past ! Is it that the funds formerly devoted to this purpose have been for some years pounded to repay a grant of a certain sum towards the improvement of the Town, made by Lord Hastings, out of the surplus fees (we believe) of the Court of Requests, which grant was “not confirmed" by the Honorabie the Court of Pirectors, but ordered to be repaid. When this will be done who knows ' Who is the comptroller of the lottery Fund ! and are the accounts a sealed book or how !
The Abk Anny, a tax on licenses to liquor-shops, is another local fund ; it yields about two lakhs and a half per annum, and as it is raised at the expense of those most likely to break the peace, it should surely be devotei to keeping the peace—it would form a very neat item
(the Quarter Session's) proceedings, but admitted that the Quarter Sessions was solely composed of Police Viagistrates, who could be discharged at the pleasure of the Government. Mr. Smith then remarked that the Court was a mere nullity, even as to the little that was left to its disposal, for the tax-payers had no voice in it and how could the Police Magistrates be expected to advocate the rights of the inhabitants of Calcutta, when by so doing they might give offence to the Government, and get discharged from their situations. He maintained that the people of Calcutta had an undoubted right to control the disposal of their own money, a right which was acknowledged and practised even in some of the most despotic countries.
Mr. McFarlan said he did not wish to prevent any gentleman from expressing his opinions on any subject, but it would be as well perhaps to confine themselves to the duty, which they had assembled to perform. He had willingly given what information he possessed on the points on which he had been questioned, but it would perhaps be as well to recollect that they had met there “for the purposes of the assessment.”
Mr. Smith admitted the justice of the chairman's remarks, but stated that he had very quietly waited till the conclusion of the business for which they had met before starting any new subject. That the special business of the day having ended, he took advantage of the opportu
to the credit of the General Fund; and would cover the nity to ask, in open Court, for information that might be Thanadaree establishment and all incidental charges. refused if applied for privately. He had put a few quesIn a statement of the Town disbursement of 1828-29, we tions to Mr. McFarlan and he had very kindly answered find this item given, under the head of receipts at 2,59,152 him, for which he (Mr. Smith) was extremely obliged. rupees; may we not hope to see it brought to credit in What he (Mr. Smith) said was merely in the way of the next audit of the account of the Quarter Sessions ! conversation, and the questions he had asked had been
Here then are four local taxes, yelding about nine put with a view to elicit information for the benefit of lakhs of rupees per annum ; we know who pay and who the community. Perhaps \lf. Mo Farlan was not aware receive then ; would it be very unreasonable to ex- of it, but it was pretty generally believed that the Quarter pect to know how they are spent 2 or would it be out- Sessions had the disposal of all the funds he (Mr. Smith) rageous to ask that some of the tax-payers should have had named, and it would therefore be advantageous to a voice in the disposal or application of them We are them to have those retaining that, opinion undeceived. far from implying that there is any misappropriation; Here were they (the inhabitants of Calcutta).obliged to
but it would be satisfactory to the inhabitants to know
COURT OF QUARTER SESSIONS,
After the proceedings of the Sessions had closed for the day and the Chairman was about to rise, Mr. Samuel Smith inquired of Mr. McFarlan whether the assessment on house-rent was the only fund over which the Quarter Sessions had control whether it had not also control over Town Duties, the Abkarry, the surplus of the Petty Court's receipts, the profits on the Lotteries, and other Municipal Funds of various descriptions. Mr. McFarlan replied that they had not, and in reply to several other, questions stated that the surplus of those items went, he supposed, to the credit of Government; that the total expenditure entered in the above abstract was defrayed by the inhabitants of Calcutta, out of the assessed house taxes, that the Government had no right to control their
pay all the enormous expenses of the whole Thanadaree Establishment in addition to the Conservancy of Calcutta, as specified in the abstract, out of the Assessment fund alone, while the proceeds of all the other Funds he had mentioned went into the pocket of Government; and even over the expenditure of the assessment Fund they had no control whatever. He thought the inhabitants of Calcutta ought to come forward and petition the Government to place all those funds he had named at the
disposal of the Quarter Sessions, and he also thought
that that Court ought to be differently constituted—its members ought, to a certain extent, to be appointed by election of the inhabitants of Calcutta, so that the expenditure of their funds might be controlled by Magistrates of their own choice.
Mr. Robison said, if we understood him rightly, that the act of Parliament constituting the Court of Quarter Sessions required that it should be composed of Magistrates: and that the Governor-General, being the representative of the King, enjoyed the royal prerogative of displacing any of the Magistrates, if he thought fit.
Mr. Smith remarked in reply that the King had no authority to displace the Aldermen of London, and he dil not see why the Court could not be composed of Magistrates of a similar description. All he wished to urge was that it ought to be composed of independent persons.
Captain Steel remarked that the honorary Magistrates had been appointed here and mentioned the names of three or four.
Mr. Smith replied.—Then they have not done their duty Why are they not here ! It was high time that a new Commission of the Peace were issued, and that proper persons were selected who could, and would, fairly represent the inhabitants of Calcutta. In conclusion Mr. Smith stated again, that the Court of Quarter Session was not properly constituted, and referred to the act, by which it appeared that it ought to be composed of the Governor-General, the Member of Council, the Police Magistrates, and such other of the inhabitants of Calcutta, as were Justices of the Peace.
The Quarter Session were then adjourned.