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Full text of "Brahmins and pariahs. An appeal by the indigo manufacturers of Bengal to the British government, Parliament, and people, for protection against the lieut.-governor of Bengal"

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Jn%0 Paimfattovs of g^npl 








" Every office in the country is held by men pledged to oppose the settlement of 
Europeans in the country, and they are able to make their own statements." — Letter 
from " The Times Calcutta Correspondent," dated from Calcutta, 8th December, 
1860, and published in the Times of 14th January, 1861. 







Two of the principal staples which India produces for 
exportation are opium and indigo. 

In one respect^ and in one respect only^ opium and 
indig-o resemble each other. They are both cultivated by 
^^ a system of advances^ which presents some features 
absolutely identical."* 

In all other respects these veg-etable products can only 
be compared to be contrasted. 

Opium is a drug* which is g'rown for traffic with China, 
and is that '' foreig-n medicine" which now passes throug-h 
the Chinese custom houses at a settled duty ] indig-o is a 
harmless dye^ which is very welcome at Manchester, and 
exercises only beneficial effects upon our relations with 
the rest of the world. Opium is the result of ^^ a system 
of poppy cultivation under a Government monopoly ."f 
Indigo is produced by independent '^ British settlers, in 
whose future increase lies the only permanent prosperity 
of British India.";]: Opium is produced under a coercive 

* Report of Indigo Commission of 1860, par. 14. 
t Idem. 

% Opinions of Lord William Bentinck and Lord Metcalfe, quoted and 
adopted in the Report of the Colonization Committee, 1859. 

A 2 


system which is of such an unrelaxiiig" character that the 
remuneration to the Ryot has in a quarter of a century 
scarcely varied, while the remuneration for indig'o has 
kept pace with the increased value of labour^ which it has 
itself tended to create^ and is now three times the amount 
which it was thirty-five years ago.* Indigo has cleared 
the jungle and turned the wilderness into corn-fields^ and 
the lair of the wild beast into villages ', while opium 
has only covered rich arable lands with poppies, and 
fixed a system of forced labour akin to slavery upon the 

In other respects the contrast is still more remarkable. 
Opium has always been the object of the most tender care 
to the Government, while the manufacture of indigo has 
always been a thing to be discouraged, and, if possible, 
destroyed.! The system by which opium has been pro- 
duced has always been veiled from the pubhc eye and 
excluded fi'om all public inquiries , while the S3^stem by 
which indigo is produced has alwa3^s been made to bear 
the onus of every passing disturbance, and has been, as 
State Papers now prove, industriously calumniated by the 
agents of the governing Company .J The obligation of the 
Ryots to cultivate opium has been enforced by remedies 
so summary and by punishments so stringent, that neglect 
or opposition is almost unheard of; while the contracts to 
cultivate indigo have been denuded of all practical legal 
remedy, and the planter has been, in this respect, a mere 
outlaw, left to right himself or to suffer wrong, watched 

* In 1 825 tbe Ryot received a rupee for twelve bundles of indigo 
plants, then it rose to a rupee for ten bundles, then to eight and to six. 
It is now at four bundles the rupee ; and as the price of labour in- 
creases, the price of the plant will still further rise. 

t Evidence of Mr. C. Hollings, Indigo Commissioner, 1860. Evi- 

X Report of Indigo Commission, 1860. 


by a police which, as the late Lieutenant-Governor of 
Beng-al complains,* are the most corrupt body of officials 
which the world has ever seen, and at tho mercy of 
the Beng'al secretariat, whose policy has ever been 
to harass and oppress those who, in the lan^ag'e of the 
covenanted servants of the Company,, were " interlopers'^ 
in India. t 

Opium is popular in the public offices of Calcutta ; and 
to any sug-g-estion of the grinding- slavery it fastens upon 
the Eyot, the present Lieut.-Governor of Beng-al would 
doubtless reply by some phrase of contempt, such as 
those he has recently addressed to the indig-o planters, or 
by some bold flig-ht of the imagination, such as those 
which make up the last Minute he has published. In- 
digo, on the other hand, after fifty years struggle against 
the officers of the Civil Service when in its plenitude of 
power, seems to be at last upon the verge of extinction. 
In the present Lieut.-Governor of Bengal, the Honour- 
able John Peter Grant, it has found an enemy who 
unites those qualities in his public functions which are 
necessary to destroy the constant object of the hostility 
of the Secretariat of Beno^al. At this man's will, and 
as would appear to us, for no other object than to satisfy 
the instincts of a traditional hatred,^ eight miUions of 

* Sir F. Halliday's Minute on the Police. 

•f See Minute upon the Complaint of the Bengal Indigo Planters* 
Association passim. 

X '• 2692. Mr. Campbell.] What may be the annual value of the 
indigo produced in India? — The value of the indigo produced in Bengal 
and the Upper Provinces may be from 5^2,000,000 to ^3,000,000 per 
annum, varying with the extent of the crops and the market price of 
the article. 

*' 2693. Is that all produced by English capital and skill, and enter- 
prise 1 Nineteen-twentieths of it is produced by British capital and skill. 

"2694. You have stated that the annual value of indigo produced is 
from ^62,000,000 to ^3,000,000 : what may be the value of the proper- 


British capital are to be destroyed 5 an annual trade of 
£2^000^000 is to cease out of India ^ a population of at 
least a million native labourers are to be cast out of em- 
ploy 3 * and the whole class of planters^ who are now re- 
claiming* the wilderness^ civilizing- the people^ curing- the 
sick; reheving the starving-^ upholding" the fallings, and 
accustoming* the suspicious native to associate all these 
blessing-s with employment under an European — all this 
class is to be ruined and driven forth^ while Mr. J. P^ 
Grant; like a Eussian g-eneral superintending the depor- 
tation of Tartars fi-om the Crimea, affects to weep over 
the ruins and to deplore the necessity. 

This is, in a few words, the complaint which the plant- 
ers of Bengal make to their countrymen in Eng*land. 
The present Lieut.-Governor of Bengal has sent forth 
the word for their annihilation. In a country where 
capital is so scarce that every payment must always be 
made beforehand —in a country where Government is a 
despotism, and the native looks upon the ruler for the 
moment as supreme and irresistible, — the Lieut.-Governor 
has caused the people to understand, that in all matters 
connected with the g-rowth of indig*o he will abide by the 
Ryots, and will hold them harmless ag*ainst the planter ; 

ties producing this indigo, and do they belong entirely to English capi- 
talists? — The value of the properties, including the putnees, talooks, 
and zemindaries throughout India, may be from 367,000,000 to 
^8,000,000, varying with the value of money and price of indigo, and 
entirely held by English settlers and capitalists. 

"2695. Has this capital and property been acquired by men who have 
gone to India with nothing but that capital which a European carries 
everywhere, namely, perseverance, industry, and skill ? — ^Yes. — Evidence 
of Mr. J, P. Wise^ Colonization Committee,2nd Beport^ p. 41. 

* In the ploughing season of 1859, before the interference of the 
present Lieut.-Governor, the indigo factories of R. Watson and Co. had 
17,000 ploughs at work, and upwards of 100,000 men engaged in the 
cultivation and manufactures incident to their concerns. This is the 
return of one firm alone. 

MR. grant's hostility TO BRITISH SETTLERS. 7 

that when his own mag'istrates shall decide in favour 
of the planter^ he will set aside their decisions y and that 
even Acts of Council shall be to him no impediment to 
the pursuit of his own policy^ for that he will cause his 
mag'istrates to give them what interpretation he may 
please. In a country where there is no law to compel 
the observance of a multitude of small indig-o contracts ', 
where the native courts are costly^ dilatory^ and corrupt, 
and the police are admitted^ even by their employers, to 
be an organized g'ang* of extortioners ; where the planter 
can rely only upon his moral influence for obtaining- his 
own, and the subtle Hindoo and more crafty Mussulman 
who have pocketed the price of their labour, are eag-er to 
seize any excuse for avoiding" their oblig-ations ; — in such 
a country, and in such a condition of circumstances as 
these, the Lieut.-Governor causes, or wilfully suffers the 
belief to g-o forth, that Government is desirous that the 
cultivation of indig-o shall cease.* When the natural 
result happens, and his victims complain, Mr. Grant re- 
plies with sneers and by insolent reference to the publicly 
disproved slanders which were cast upon a former g*ene- 

* In dealing with their own opium ryots, the Government has been 
very careful to avoid the course which they have adopted with the in- 
digo ryots. So far from exciting them by proclamations, they have ever 
sedulously refrained from any enquiry as to their grievances. When 
the opium ryots murmured and almost rebelled, Mr. Farquharson did 
not issue Commissions or indite Perwannahs. He reported : " I am 
averse to call for general information from the Districts without abso- 
lute necessity. There is no keeping such calls secret, and their spread 
always does harm in exciting hope or encouraging vain expectation. 
There can be no doubt in the mind of any one of the fact my simple 
statement conveys, every sort of country produce being now nearly 
double what it was three years ago, and labour proportionately high." 

A very trifling increase was given, and the rising storm was hushed. 
This was how the discontents of the opium ryots were met. We 
shall see, presently, how Mr. Grant interfered, not to quench, but 
to fan into flame a similar smouldering discontent among the indigo 


ration of planters ; and when he is charg'ed with absolute 
ignorance of the industry with which he is mischievously 
meddling-, he replies that he knows the subject well, and 
that his knowledge is derived from having, twenty-Jive 
years ago, digested a series of ex parte charges made by 
the civilians against the planters.* 

This great pubHc officer has produced an effi^ct which 
cannot be comprehended in England. If an Enghsh 
minister could be found so insane as to declare that 
debtors had much to complain of in the obduracy of their 
creditors, and that the law ought not to give facilities to 
make labourers complete contracts for which they have 
received the stipulated remuneration, such a declaration 
would cause a very modified mischief. The minister 
would disappear before the indignation of the public, and 
the debtors and repudiating labourers would soon come 
to learn that the law is stronger than the word of the 
minister. But in India there are no courts that can meet 
these cases in the Mofussil, and Mr. Grant has laboured 
that there shall be none. Mr. Grant's hint was taken 
all over the country. The Eyots firmly believe that Go- 
verment is averse to indigo cultivation, and will support 
them in the repudiation of their contracts. An extensive 
jaquerie has been the consequence. The Ryots arose 
tumultuously, and not only refused to sow indigo, but, 

* See Minute upon the Complaint of the Indigo Planters' Associa- 
tion, par. 14. Mr. Grant says — " I remember saying that I had never 
had any experience in an indigo district ; and I have no doubt that I 
disclaimed all knowledge on the subject of indigo from personal obser- 
vation. But I am sure that I did not say that I had no knowledge on 
the subject derived from others. I knew perfectly well native opinion 
on the subject ; and I had had a peculiar opportunity of becoming 
more fully acquainted than most public servants with the common 
abuses in connexion with indigo, in all districts, so far back as in 1835, 
when I was employed in digesting a mass of reports from every indigo 
district in Bengal." 


persuaded that they had the Government at their back^ 
attacked the planters. It has always been found easy to 
arouse debtors against creditors^ whether at Eome^ w^here 
the plebeians were alwa3^s ready to wipe off their scores 
with the patricians ; or in England^ where not much 
rhetoric was necessary to persuade an assault upon the 
Jews ', or at Hobra^ where the Mahometan Ryots felt no 
great distaste to attack the house of the one European 
who lived among* them^ to cancel their obhgations to 
him^ and to plunder his property. Alarmed at the 
rising against Europeans which this Lieut.-Governor 
had produced^ the Government sent soldiers into the 
districts^ which, even during the mutinies^ had remained 
in unbroken tranquillity^ and the Legislative Council 
of India passed a law to give^ for six months^ a summary 
remedy in case of breaches of contract. The Lieut.- 
Governor again interfered to prevent the action of this 
law. He appointed magistrates to carry it out who 
were of his own bias 3 and when even these magistrates, 
in the presence of the danger^ and impressed by the cir- 
cumstances which surrounded them, passed sentences 
upon the ringleaders of this social revolution, he inter- 
fered with the course of justice, revoked the sentences of 
his own magistrates, and released the convicted offenders. 
Prompt ruin has followed this conduct. Thus protected, 
of course the Ryots will not sow, and they will not per- 
mit others to sow, and they will destroy all that has been 
sown. They have been taught their power of resistance. 
They have learned from Mr. Grant how to repudiate 
their contracts to sow indigo. That they should have 
stopped here would have been contrary to human nature, 
or, at least, such natures as we are dealing with. They 
are now acquiring of themselves the knowledge of the 


difficulty of recovering rents. The last news is^ that they 
are refusing" to pay rents to the factory holders even for 
the rice lands they hold under them. And this wise act 
of throwing" all the rural districts of Beng-al into confu- 
sion is taken by the Government at a time when we are 
introducing- new taxes, and when the Government offi- 
cials are making* overtures to the country g-entlemen of 
India, to the indig-o planters dweUing* in the Mofussil, to 
aid them — for without their aid it can never be done — in 
the assessment of the income tax. Meanwhile Mr. J. 
P. Grant looks on with a pleasant chuckle, g'ently impels 
the whole class of ^^ interlopers'^ towards the inevitable 
precipice, sees with the eye of hope the re-installation of 
his class in its old exclusiveness of power and supremacy, 
and pharisaically deplores the necessity of destroying- so 
beneficial a body of traders. 

This is the charge which, before the people of Eug-land, 
we bring- ag-ainst the Honourable John Peter Grant, 
and which we ask the Ministry, the Houses of Parlia- 
ment, and the Country, to entertain and inquire into. 

We are now to prove these allegations. 

It will be necessary, for this purpose, to inform the 
public mind upon many matters with which it is not fa- 
miliar, and to make our countrymen feel, if possible, some 
touch of the social atmosphere of our Eastern empire. 
To pile tog-ether mere facts and figures without arrange- 
ment or illustration, would only be to produce a state- 
ment of intolerable tediousness, which few would read, 
and by which no one, who does not already know India, 
could be instructed. We will attempt, by dividing our 
subject into headings, to lead the reader more easily up, 
step by step, to the height from which he may overlook 
the whole iniquity. 




It is very difficult for any Englishman to quite realize 
to himself what a covenanted servant was^ and; indeed^ 
still iS; in India. We insist upon taking our notion of 
these men from what we see of them in this country. 
We adopt the nabob in " Gilbert Gurney/' with his in- 
dolence and ductility^ and his pet rattlesnakes, as a type 
of the class ; or we fix in our memory some club bore, 
whose irritable temper and imperious manner to the ser- 
vants make the room which he chooses to infest unin- 
habitable to the quiet members of the club. Or we 
imagine a testy old gentleman wrapped up in flannel^ in 
a house in Baker Street^ and scolding a trembling but 
expectant half-score of nephews . and nieces. But with 
notions like these in our heads we shall never arrive at 
an understanding of this indigo question. It has^ we 
believe^ happened that a retired civilian was rather cut 
among his English acquaintances because he had boasted 
proudly that he had been ^^ a collector " in the East. 
His ignorant friends imagined, that instead of having 
been a despotic and practically irresponsible sovereign 
over a country larger than England, he had gone about 
with a book and an ink-bottle collecting dues from door 
to door. We must, however, have a better idea than 
this of the ^^ pucka civilian " before we can have the least 
inkling of any Eastern question. The worn and decrepit 


invalid whom we see about London is no more like the 
Civil servant of the East^ in his pride and in his power, 
than is the lion of the forests of the Atlas, reposing in 
his strength, or crushing in his spring, like the harmless, 
and rather mangy beast who does duty as the type of 
his race in an English menagerie. In the earty days of 
the Indian empire our civilian went out from England a 
mere boy, and he found himself at once a member of a 
dominant and privileged class. The millions of Hin- 
dustan all bowed themselves to the dust before him. He 
was taught — and how soon is such a lesson learnt — to 
consider himself a superior being to those around him. 
As the common phrase in India runs, he was one of the 
heaven-born :* as a recent official report expresses it^ he 
was one of ^^ the nobility of India.'' After a few years 
of subordinate office, with a salary greater than that of 
grey-headed barristers in judicial positions at home, he 
became, in some far-away province, the pro-consul of the 
great sovereign Company. He had no knowledge of 
law, either in its principles or its practice, yet he sat in 
judgement on ten millions of mankind, and Indian princes 
were his suitors. He knew little, if any thing, of the 
principles of finance, yet he administered the finances as 
well as the judicial functions of his province. He was 
ignorant of the habits and customs of the people, and he 
had a bare smattering of their language, yet his fiat was 
practically without appeal in all cases, from a contest 
between two farmers to the confiscation of the possessions 
of an ancient line of princes. He was irresponsible. No 

* This term should have been *' heaven-taught," for, as we learn from 
old letters, it was adapted in sneering allusion to the facility with which 
civilians passed from the functions of clerks to those of judges, governors, 
legislators, and financiers, without any special education for any of these 
duties. The system, however, is now in a transition state. 


crime^ however great^ could ever be proved ag'ainst him. 
In the history of the Company there is scarcely an in- 
stance of a ^^ senior merchant^" or a ^^ collector/' having- 
been publicly or privately dismissed the service. If he 
failed to make satisfactory financial returns he was re- 
moved to a less lucrative province^ but this was the only 
crime known to the Company. If he provoked an ex- 
pensive insurrection he was censured ; but mere acts of 
despotism followed by no pecuniary loss to the Company 
had no g-uilt in their eyes. The press was g'ag'g'ed j there 
was no European public opinion , the echoes of g-reat 
atrocities waxed faint^ as they came across the ocean 
and vag-uely fell upon the ears of Eng-hshmen at home : 
he was a great despot for g-ood or for bad as the case 
mig-ht happen. There was a g-eneral notion here that 
the returned " nabob's " life had been a series of crimes 
and horrors, but no one ever knew any particulars. Lord 
Clive^ whose most conspicuous civil quality was the dis- 
g-ust with which he looked upon the corruption by which 
he was surrounded, was called " the wdcked Lord Clive /' 
other less famous old Indians also had their evil reputa- 
tions y but the mere " senior merchant " or ^^ collector " 
was safe in his insig-nificance when he had reached this 
country— a Yerres of this degTee was too obscure to call 
forth a Cicero. 

To tell how this power w^as abused is unnecessary. 
As a rule, such absolute power never yet was obtained 
without being" abused. Exceptions there doubtless were 
of honourable men, w^ho, so far as their imperfect infor- 
mation enabled them to do so, used their tremendous 
power only to do what they believed to be justice. India 
is even now filled -with traditions of enormities which, 
seen through the medium of great distance, are remem- 


bered only in a ludicrous sense^ the wickedness being" 
sunk in the absurdity. Those " nabobs" were but too 
often extortionate g-overnors and corrupt judges. They 
shook the pagoda tree as violently as they could^ and 
they made haste to become rich and to quit the country. 
But they were '^ the nobility of India.'^ The natives^ 
from the Nawab to the Coolie^ w^ere in the language of 
those days ^^ niggers :" the king-'s army^ and even the 
king-'s judges^ were an inferior class to themselves '* but 
the few straggling settlers who had found their way from 
England without being- decorated with the Company^s 
covenant were very far beneath the '^ niggers." They 
were Pariahs^ the lowest of the low. 

Why do we go back to those days anterior to 1814? 
Not. certainly^ to fasten the crimes of those early tyrants 
upon the civilians of the present day. We would not 
disgrace ourselves or our cause by following the example 
of our Lieut.-Governor, who in his apolog-y, insinuates 
what he dares not assert^ by taunting the planters in a 
sneering way with the disturbances which sometimes 
happened in a former generation, but which, as his own 
Commissioners have shewn, have very long since been 
obsolete.! Nor do we seek to cast any suspicion upon 

* It is only within a few weeks that the Judges of the Supreme 
Court have been obliged to protest in their places against the insolent 
and contemptuous terms applied to them by Mr. Eden before the Indigo 

t " There are," says Mr. Grant in his Minute, '' no affrays, no forci- 
ble entries, and unlawful carrying off of crops and cattle, no ploughing 
up of other men's lands, no destruction of trees and houses, no unlaw- 
ful flogging and confinement in godowns, now reported. Even the 
oifence of kidnapping Ryots seems almost arrested." 

Now let us contrast this with the report of Mr. Grant's own Secre- 
tary, who, looking back for thirty years to recapitulate all the rural 
crimes that have happened among 20,000,000 of people, drew that 
** Report of the Indigo Commission" which has just reached England. 

MR. grant's pleasant WIT. 15 

the Civil service^ as a body, that they are actuated by 
any sordid views^ or by any worse motives than those of 

Mr. Seton Karr and a Missionary, and another Civil servant, and a 
native, thus report upon these calumnies (pars. 85 to 88) : — 

** Of actual destruction of human life, comparatively few cases of late 
years have been brought to our knowledge, as proved ; and we have no 
wish to lay great stress on a list of forty -nine serious cases which are 
shewn to have occurred over a period of thirty years in different parts of 
the country, because violent affrays, ending in homicide or wounding, 
,are, we are happy to say, of not nearly such frequent occurrence as 
they used to be; and affrays are not 'peculiar to indigo planting. 
They occur equally where the plant is not grown. 

" From the returns supplied by the magistrates of some of the most 
important districts for the last five years, some of which are entirely 
blank, it is quite clear that investigations into those fights between the 
adherents of Zemindar [not Ryot] and planter^ which used to carry 
desolation, terror, and demoralization into a dozen villages at a time, no 
longer disfigure our criminal annals to the extent they used to do. Even 
in Nuddea, as will be seen from the return, the cases were few in the 
years preceding 1859 and 1860." [When Mr. Grant's proclamations 
began to excite the populace.] " Some of this good result is, no doubt, 
due to the working of Act IV. of 1840, for giving summary possession 
of lands ; to the law for the exaction of recognizances and security 
against apprehended breaches of the peace, namely Act V. of 1848; 
and to the establishment of subdivisions with convenient circles of 
jurisdiction. A good deal is owing also to the acquisition by planters 
of rights in lands, and to the peace and quiet which usually follow such 
acquisition, as far as affrays and fights are concerned ; but something 
also is due to the better skill and management of factories generally, 
and, we doubt not, to the good sense and good feeling of the most 
influential planters. 

" Affrays carried out with premeditation, on a large scale, by means 
of hired clubmen, we are thus happy to pronounce rare in some dis- 
tricts, and in others unknown. 

** Then, as to the burning of bazaars and houses, we have a clear 
admission from a gentleman whose character entitles him to great respect 
(A. 670), that he * has known of such acts j' but no well-proved instance 
of this sort has been brought to our notice in any oral evidence. In one 
or two instances mentioned to us, when a fire took place, it was a matter 
of doubt whether its origin was not accidental ; and we cannot, there- 
fore, but acquit the planters, as a body, of any practice of the sort, 
though we do not mean to say that cases of arson do not occur in Lower 
Bengal, in consequence of indigo disputes. A crime of this kind 
would, from its very openness, attract attention, and should be sus- 
ceptible of the clearest proof." 

After finding that only one case of " knocking down houses'.' had 


prejudice^ and class-arrogance; but we are trying* to 
make the Englisli public understand the traditional anta- 
g-onism of the Civil Service to all European settlers, and 
we must; for that purpose, refer to the Civil servant as 
he was when the Company was absolute. 

It is easy to comprehend how a despot of this kind, 
whether using- his power for g-ood or for ill, would detest 
the appearance of an European in his king-dom. In 
effect, nothing" was more dreaded, either b}'' civiHan or 
by the Company. The records of early days have now 
been published, and they are full of the anxiety of the 
Civil Service to keep European eyes and ears far away 
from them. In 1775, Mr. Francis declared, in a formal 
Minute, ^' that Europeans in Beng-al, beyond the num- 
ber the services of Government required, are an useless 
weig-ht and embarrassment to the Government, and an 
injury to the country, and that they are people to whom 
no encourag-ement should be g^iven.'' In 1792 the Com- 
pany assured Lord Cornwalhs that the licenses to g'o to 
India should ^^ not exceed five or six, or, at the utmost, 
ten" every year. In 1818, '^John Jebb and James 
Pattison, Esquires,'^ on the part of the Company, made 
an elaborate remonstrance to Mr. Canning' against the 

been brought forward, and that that had been taken into court, and the 
sentence of the magistrate reversed in the Sudder in favour of the 
planters, the report proceeds — 

" As to outrages on women, which, more than any other act, might 
offend the prejudice and arouse the vindictiveness of a people notoriously 
sensitive as to the honour of their families, we are happy to declare that 
our most rigid inquiries could bring to light only one case of the kind. 
And when we came to examine into its foundation, so seriously affecting 
the character of one planter, and, through him, the body of the plant- 
ers in a whole district, or as affording any clue to the excitement of the 
past season, we discovered that there were very reasonable grounds for 
supposing that no outrage on the person of the woman had ever taken 

THE civilian's TERROR OF ^^INTERLOPERS." 17 

grant by the Government of licenses to go to India^ and, 
among* other grievances arising from these licenses, these 
gentlemen complain that '^ among the British residents 
in India, there is a strong disposition to assert what they 
conceive to he their constitutional and indefeasible rights, 
a general leaning towards each other, and a common 
jealousy of the authority of Government." 

Strange to say, this remonstrance was lost upon Mr. 
Canning, who answered that Parliament, when it gave 
the Board of Control power to grant these licenses, 
^^ was led to apprehend the existence in the Court of Di- 
rectors of a disposition in respect of the granting of these 
permissions the very reverse of facility and profusion." 

It was in vain that men of statesmanlike minds at- 
tempted to overcome the small trading views of the 
Company, and to overrule the objections of the distant 
proconsuls ; in vain that Sir Charles Metcalfe, in 1829, 
minuted that ^' he had long lamented that our country- 
men in India were excluded from the possession of land 
and other ordinary rights of peaceable subjects ;"* and 
further that "he was convinced that our possession of 
India must always be precarious unless we take root by 
having an influential portion of the population attached 
to our Government by common interests and sympathies." 
It was in vain, also, that Lord William Bentinck, in a 
Minute of three months' later date, said, "The sentiments 
expressed by Sir Charles Metcalfe have my entire con- 
currence."! The Company continued to oppose all coloni- 

* To see this terror of *' interlopers " fully pourtrayed, the reader 
should refer to a volume published by Messrs. Thacker, Spink, and Co., 
of Calcutta (1854), under the title' of ** Papers relating to the Settle- 
ment of Europeans in India," where all the correspondence cited above 
is set forth. 

t " Papers relating to Settlement of Europeans in India," p. 39. We 
cannot afford to omit the testimony of this great Governor-General to 



zation in India^ using* this word ^^ colonization" as a pre- 
posterous fig-ment^ as they did indeed to the last^ and as 

the usefulness of the planters, even in that early day, and to their general 
innocence of the charges calunmiously brought against them by the 
Company audits servants. It occurs in the same Minute quoted above. 
Lord William Bentinck says — 

**It has been supposed that many of the indigo planters, resident in 
the interior, have misconducted themselves, acting oppressively towards 
the natives, and with violence and outrage towards each other. Had 
the case been so, I must still have thought it just to make large allow- 
ances for the peculiar position in which they stood. They have been 
denied p'ermission to hold lands in their own names. They have been 
driven to evasion, which has rendered it difficult for them to establish 
their just claims by legal means, as they have had to procure the plant 
required by them through a system of advances, which, in all branches 
of trade, is known to occasion much embarrassment, and to lead to much 
fraud. They have possessed no sufficient means of preventing the 
encroachment of rival establishments, still less of recovering their dues 
from needy and improvident Ryots. Further, we must not forget that 
the restrictions imposed upon the resort of Europeans to this country 
have operated to compel the houses of business often to employ persons 
in the management of their concerns in the interior whom they would 
not have employed if they had had a wider scope of choice. It would 
not be wonderful if abuses should be found to have prevailed under such 
circumstances, or if the weakness of the law should have sometimes led 
to violence in the assertion of real or supposed rights. But under all the 
above circumstances of disadvantages, the result of my inquiries is, a 
firm persuasion (contrary to the conclusions I had previously been dis- 
posed to draw) that the 'occasional misconduct of the planters is as 
nothing when contrasted with the sum of good they have diffused around 
them. In this, as in other cases, the exceptions have so attracted atten- 
tion, as to be mistaken for a fair index of the general course of things. 
Breaches of the peace being necessarily brought to public notice, the 
individual instances of misconduct appear under the most aggravated 
colours ; but the numerous nameless acts, by which the prudent and 
orderly, while quietly pursuing their own interests, have contributed 'to 
the national wealth, and to the comfort of those around them, are 
unnoticed or unknown. I am assured that much of the agricultural 
improvement which many of our districts exhibit, may be directly 
traced to the indigo planters therein settled ; and that, as a general truth, 
it may be stated (with the exceptions which in all general truths 
require to be made), that every factory is, in its degree, the centre of a 
circle of improvement, raising the persons employed in it and the 
inhabitants of the immediate vicinity, above the general level. The 
benefit in the individual cases may not be considerable, but it seems to 
be sufficient to shew what might be hoped from a more liberal and en- 
lightened system." 


tlie Civil Service does now. As to the Civil servants, no 
English squire ever looked with more disg-ust upon a 
notorious poacher walking- through the preserves, his 
audacity legfalized by a footpath, than did a ^^ Civil ser- 
vant" upon an " uncovenanted European" coming into 
the Mofussil protected by his license. He was a new 
power. Not very formidable, indeed, was this poor in- 
terloper to the great aggregate mammon-worshipper, or 
to the despotic master of the surrounding population. 
In those early days he was only there by sufferance of 
the Government at Calcutta, for he could not go eleven 
miles from Calcutta for pleasure or business without a 
passport ; his license might at any time be withdrawn, 
and himself deported to England, because he had '^ in- 
curred the displeasure of the Government," without 
further reason assigned. While dwelling in the Mofussil 
he was obliged to bribe the police annually to give him a 
character, and his only security was to keep as quiet as 
possible. But still he was to the ^^ Civilian" a symbol of 
freedom, of criticism, and even of publicity. He always 
suspected in him " a strong disposition to assert what he 
must conceive to be his constitutional and indefeasible 
rights," and, even worse still, to tell the princes and pea- 
sants around of their rights. As time grew on, our 
civilian found himself under the eye of a man not so 
easily removable as before, who, when he was corrupt, 
could penetrate the corruption of his acts, and who, al- 
though he was certain not to be believed at Calcutta, 
would make a noise about them. Later still, when prac- 
tically the planter could no longer be deported in a Com- 
pany's ship, the " interloper'' was found teHing' the 
natives that it was no part of their duty to find the col- 
lector gratis with bearers and refreshments when he 

B 2 


passed through their villages^ like a monarch on a pro- 
gress ; and the Ryots round the indigt) factory were even 
encouraged to tell the mighty lord that he must pay for 
his supplies hke a common mortal. Mr. Dalrymple, a 
partner in, and for many years manager of, Messrs. 
Watson and Co.'s factories, recollects the firet instance of 
this refiisal. 

It has happened in those more modern days, that a few 
years after jsome outrageously imjust sentence in a dis- 
pute between a planter and a neighbom-ing Zemindar, the 
planter came into the management of the Zemindar's 
proj>erty , acting for his heirs, and found among his papers 
a bond for a very large sum of money, given b\* the very 
judge who had delivered the iniquitous sentence. Both 
Zemindar and judge are dead^ but the bond and the 
planter are still in existence. 

This was the position of the civilian and the interloper 
in the Mofhssil — a traditional state of antagonism. Thus 
it has been^ broken, of course, by individual exceptioiis, 
to the present day. Even tliat eminent ^^ pucka civilian,** 
Mr. Hawkins, who has rim the whole course of Indian 
offices, and has been magistrate, judge, collector, session- 
judge, commissioner of excise and revenue, and lastl}^ a 
Judge of the Sudder Dewann3" Adawlut — even tliat emi- 
nent covenanted servant, in his evidence before the ^* Co- 
lonization of India Committee, 1858/' acknowledges and 
regrets the estrangement of the settlers and the Com- 
pany's officers, and attempts to account in a mild official 
way for the fidse opinions whicli each class has of the 
other. '^ I beheve," he says, ^* that the indigo planters 
and the Civil servants do take a view of each other, which 
18 perhaps forced upon them from the positions which they 
occupy, which is very unfortunate. The indigo plants 


very often lives at a distance from the station^ and is never 
heard of except he appears in court for doing* something- 
contrary to law ; and the judg-e g-ets the idea that every 
indig'o planter is an obstreperous g-entleman. The indig^o 
planter hears of the judg-e, not as the judg-e actually is, 
but as his a g-ent reports him to the indig-o planter, and he 
very often imposes upon both ; he imposes upon the in- 
dig-o planter, and g-ives as his reason for the dismissal of a 
case in court that the judg'e had acted unjustly, or that 
the judg-e did so and so, or that he wanted so and so 3 
they are both represented to each other in false lig-hts. 
But this kind of thing* is forced upon us by the diflBculties 
of our position.'^ 

Mr. Hawkins denies that the Company's officers have 
any prejudice ag-ainst this " obstreperous g-entleman,'' and 
he is so condescending' as to admit, in opposition to what 
Calcutta believes to be the declaimed opinion of Mr. J. P. 
Grant, that " he has known a number of indigo planters 
who are perfect g-entlemen, fit associates for anybody .'' 
He says, also, that of the grievances of the planters, 
^* the chief is the police system, and the system of judicial 
administration,* to which the settlers say they object.'^ 

* " 2654. Have you individually suffered from the consequences of 
administration such as you have described? — I have seriously suffered; 
and by way of illustrating the working of the system, I may proceed to 
narrate a few instances. In the year 1833-4 the estate of Buldakal, in 
the Tipperah district, was put up for sale for arrears of revenue. I 
became the purchaser, and deposited the amount required by the law in 
bank notes and Company's paper, pending the commissioner of re- 
venue's approval of the sale ; and on that officer's doing so, I paid into 
the Treasury of Commillah the whole amount, 1,15,000 rupees, and 
received the collector's order to take possession of the estate. I may 
observe, at that time the law permitting Europeans to hold lands in India 
had not been promulgated, but it had passed all the preliminary stages, 
so I was obliged to get the permission of Government in anticipation 
to hold the estate : this was immediately granted by Sir Charles Met- 
calfe, then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. The ex-Zemindar appealed 


That is to say, the judg-e's poHce persecute him^ and ex- 
tort from him^ and his court affords him no remedy ; yet 
the judg-e is not the enemy of the planter ! The feeling* 
of the Civil Service of India^ with reg"ard to the settler^ 
is apparent in this^ that an eminent civilian^ one of the 
hest and most liberal-minded of his class^ speaks of it as 
no special discourag-ement to British settlers, that they 
should live under the pest of a set of protected native ex- 
tortionerS; and that they should be practically outlawed in 

to the Board of Revenue against the sale, and the Board had the power 
to reverse it upon any legal grounds : the petition was sent by the Board 
back to the commissioner for his opinion, and that commissioner was 
not the same who had previously upheld the sale, but the collector of 
Chittagong, temporarily put in charge of the commissioner's office, and 
he recommended the reversal of the sale, upon grounds utterly un- 
founded, and in contravention of the law. First, he said the estate had 
been sold without making it known that the subordinate tenures had 
lapsed : this was not required, as the Permanent Settlement Laws of 
1 793 declare this ; and every tenant knows it, and one instance of such a 
notice before a sale could not be shewn. Secondly, because the petition 
stated the estate had been sold at or towards sunset : this was purely 
false, as the sale took place in open cutcherry, about 12 o'clock. 
Thirdly, that the collector was a relative of mine, and had favoured me 
by accepting Company's paper as security for my bid : this, again, was 
incorrect ; but the acting commissioner did not give himself the trouble 
of duly inquiring. His thoughts turned upon benefiting the Govern- 
ment, for he reported that it would be fair to the under tenants to give 
greater publicity : and that, as the estate was a very valuable one, he 
would, in recommending the reversal of this sale, advise the purchase of 
it on behalf of Government at the next sale. The Board adopted the 
recommendation, and illegally dispossessed me of a valuable property, 
and purchased it on the next sale-day, and that estate is now held by 

'* 265.5. Sir JErsJcine 'Perry.'] What did they purchase it at ? — Merely 
the difference of the increased revenue up to the date of sale. 

** 2656. Chairman.'] Have you suffered in any other case besides that 
which you have mentioned ? — I have suffered, in connexion with other 
matters in several ways. * * * Europeans of education and cha- 
racter have not been encouraged to take the appointments of deputy ma- 
gistrates ; natives of family, and fortune, and respectabihty, have not 
been selected, but worn-out darogahs, of doubtful reputation, and others 
physically unfit, have been chosen for these most important situations." 
— Evidence of Mr. M'Nair. 


all civil cases. Mr. Hawkins cannot help dropping- into 
the track of thoug-ht in which his ideas have flowed all his 
h'fe. He is too wise to say^ '' The network of corruption 
is g-ood enoug-h for the nig-g-er^ and what is g'ood enoug-h 
for the nig-g-er is g-ood enoug-h for these settlers ," and 
perhaps he does not acknowledg-e to himself that he 
thinks so^ but this peeps out as the active spirit of his evi- 

One authenticated anecdote is better than a thousand 
g-eneral propositions, but unfortunately we cannot expand 
our proofs, as the Colonization Committee has done^ into 
four folio volumes. We must ag-ain throw into a foot- 
note Mr. Dalrymple's account of his dealing's with the 
police and with a district magistrate.'^ 

* Mr. J. R. Dalrymple is asked by the Committee — 

" 3194. On what grounds, from your experience, do you complain of 
the state of the police at present ? — They are extortionate ; they are 
corrupt in every sense of the word ; they extort from all classes, and get 
up false cases ; they instigate quarrels ; they instigate both the lower 
orders, over whom they have great power, and also the Zemindars, to 
quarrel, and principally with Europeans. 

" 3193. Have you had personal experience of that extortion and cor- 
ruption ? — I have. 

"3196. Could you briefly and clearly give us a specimen of such cor- 
ruption and extortion which you yourself have undergone ? — Yes, in the 
case of a darogah : he applied to me for allowance, which he said he had 
been in the habit of receiving from the former proprietor of a concern that 
we had just purchased. It was on our taking possession the man came 
to me for money. I refused to give it him, and he was dissatisfied. 
Shortly afterwards he left the district ; but before the manufacturing 
season commenced, the most particular time of the whole year for an 
indigo planter, when the river is rising, he was re-appointed to the 
station. He again applied for the money, and I still refused : we had 
only worked a ^qw days when he shut the factories, by preventing the 
people from working. He came to me in the evening and asked for his 
money again, and after much consideration, and seeing that the concerns 
were stopped through his opposition, I gave him a certain sum of money, 
the sum of ^660. We got on very well till the manufactur'ng was about 
closing again, when he demanded the balance of what he said was due to 
him, and I again positively refused ; he completely shut the factories, and 


Hearing" such cases as these, well might a Committee 
of the House of Commons wonder at the continued sur- 

we did not work another day after that : the plant went all under water, 
and I had only recourse to a magistrate^ 54 miles distant. I went to the 
magistrate, and he happened to be from home: he was out in the dis- 
trict. It was ten days before I had a hearing. After hearing me, he 
called for the darogah. The darogah came to the station, accompanied by 
the working people and small cultivators, and presented a petition as 
from them against me, accusing me of murder, arson, rape, and every 
offence that could be committed, and the magistrate took up the case ; 
but, on allowing me to cross-examine them, they got confused, and said 
they did not even know what was in the body of their petition, and they 
acknowledged that the petition had been written by one of the lower 
officers of the thannah. For 18 months my case against the darogah 
for extortion was undecided, and I had several trips to Kishnagur, 
heing called in by the magistrate, and no hearing was given, and the 
magistrate was shortly after removed ; and a new magistrate came, and 
he called up the case, and decided it, without giving me any notice or 
calling for any of the witnesses. He exculpated the darogah., re- 
appointed him to another station, and recommended the Government that 
I should he severely punished for having acknowledged bribing the da- 
rogah. We lost a very large sum from not being able to work off the 

"3197. Was it the original sum of £60 which you gave the darogah, 
to which the magistrate referred? — Yes; that was the money I gave 
him to allow the workmen to come to the factories : we lost many 
thousand rupees besides that, in being unable to work off the plant. 

"3198. How was the darogah exculpated?— Merely that the magis- 
trate disbelieved the statement, and said that I should not have bribed 
a policeman. 

"3199. On what ground did the magistrate find you guilty of bribing 
the darogah? — On my own acknowledgment that I had given him the 
£60. I made a statement of the whole of the facts as they took place. 

" 3200. Supposing you had not given the ^660, what loss would you 
probably have incurred ? — We lost about 3^2000 eventually. 

"3201. What would have been the loss if you had not paid that £60 ? 
—About 3^6000. 

" 3202. Mr. TV, Vansittart.'] In fact you bribed the darogah exactly 
one year's salary : they get 50 rupees a month ?— No, they got 30 rupees 
at that time. 

" 3203. Then you gave him two years' salary ? — It may be : I know 
that he was in the habit of receiving 150 rupees a month from the fac- 
tories before we purchased them. 

"3204. Chairman.'] In what year did this happen? — It is some 
twenty years ago ; but it is a common thing to this day. 

" 3205. Do you give this case as a solitary instance, or as a general 


vival of any British capital and industry against such 

'' Nothing-/' say the Committee in their Report^ ^' more 
'' strong-ly impresses an inquirer into the foundation and 
*^ progress of our Indian Empire than the contrast which^ 
^^ as regards British residence^ it presents to our other 
'* dependencies. While free settlement^ as in the neigh- 
*^ houring island of Ceylon^ has formed the basis of our 
^^ colonial system^ and the cause of its prosperity^ the 
^^ exclusion of free settlers has marked the origin and the 
'' progress of our Indian Government. Statesmen, indeed, 
^^ like Lord WiUiam Bentinckand Lord Metcalfe, saw, in 
^^ the future increase of British settlers, the only per- 
'' manent prosperity of British India ; and English, and 
^^ even Indian opinion, has gradually followed in the track 
^^ of those more observant and profounder minds. Even 
^^ now, although the principle of free settlement has been 
^^ recognised by British legislation, traces of the old ex- 
'^ elusive system are said to linger still. Though they may 
^' he removed in fact^ they are stated to exist in feeling, 
'' Thus we are told by a very competent witness, that a 
^^ ^ cold shade is thrown over European adventurers in 
^^ India ;' and by another, that a feeling of ^ dislike to 
*^ settlers' exists among- civiHans ; that the civilians, as 
^^ distinguished from the settlers, are ^ too much of a 
^^ caste J and that the covenanted service is, ' as it were, 
'' the nobiHty of India.' " 

Such have been the British Brahmins of India and the 

specimen of what may occur to a gentleman situated as you have been, 
in the part of Bengal with which you are familiar ?— I have known 
many such cases. 

" 3206. — Up to the present time? — Up to the present time. 

"3207. In the long time you have been in the country have you 
marked any improvement in the state of the police ? — No, not generally. 


British Pariahs of India, as, after long* inquiry, their 
conditions have been developed by the impartial judgment 
of a Committee of Eng*lish gentlemen. 

The unceasing' effort of the white Brahmin has been to 
exterminate the white Pariah. In the last century he 
shut him out from India altogether. When he could no 
longer keep the door entirely closed against him, he still 
openly avowed his dislike of him, and placed every im- 
pediment to his winning his way into the Mofussil.* When 
he had made good his position in the Mofussil, the Brah- 
min ignored him as much as possible, refused him all legal 
remedies, and surrounded him with Brahmin myrmidons, 
in the shape of a hungry police, and with native assistant- 
magistrates, who were, for the most part, promoted 
policemen. When even these strong measures would not 
kill this tenacious caste, the white Brahmins proposed to 
make the existence in India of the objects of their dislike 
impossible, by subjecting their lives and property to 
native judges and native juries — they themselves, the white 
Brahmins, being specially exempted from any such juris- 
diction. More recently still, the white Brahmins have pro- 
posed to disarm these white Pariahs, and to leave them 
alone in the wilds of India, without means of defence 
against any wandering band of robbers, and a temptation 
to the cupidity of the surrounding natives. When foiled 
in these malevolent and, indeed, remembering the isolated 
position of the European, horrible attempts, the white 
Brahmin caste has at length found an effective instru- 
ment for its purpose. The present high-priest of the Civil 

* ** It appears even now to be doubted by legal authorities whether 
Europeans can enter, without a license, those parts of India which have 
been acquired within the present century. Your Committee recommend 
the removal of this doubt by legislative enactment." (Report of Coloni- 
zation Committee, 1859.) 


Service Jug-g-emaut has revived ag-ainst the white Pariah 
the old calumnies which were invented and refuted in 
years past. He has^ whether in ignorance or in preju- 
dice^ abused the influence of hig'h oiEcial station to ruin 
the only real Eng-lish interest g-rown to adult streng-th in 
the plains of Bengal. He has attempted, vainly, as we 
believe, to poison the minds of the European public against 
their countrymen. He has succeeded in making the 
natives discontented, dishonest, and insurgent. He has 
detorted the streams of justice, and brought Government 
pressure to bear upon the judgment-seat. He has threat- 
ened, dismissed, and promoted magistrates according as 
they gave him satisfaction by their judgments. He has 
set his favourites to the work of meddling with the busi- 
ness of the planter, with strong instances before them of 
promotion given for zeal in similar employment. And 
while enforcing, with most stringent energy, the special 
laws which give summary remedies against the Ryot who 
may refuse to cultivate opium or salt for his masters, he 
has by his proclamations excited the indigo Ryot to rise 
against his planter creditor, to ruin his trade, and to 
destroy the security of his person. 

How Mr. John Peter Grant has done this we shall 
proceed to tell in the following pages. 




As a g-enei'al proposition there are no roads in India. 
It was the pohcy of the Civil Service^ and of the masters 
of the Civil Service^ to keep the land as impenetrable as 
possible, except to the gatherer of revenue.* 

The traveller who, upon elephant-back or horse-back, 
or carried by bearers, shall travel over the broad flats and 
wide-spread rice-fields of Beng-al, will, from time to time, 
light upon a comfortable European built house, situated 
in a pleasant park or a carefully cultivated flower gar- 
den. All around it are swarthy villages, half hidden by 
their invariable belt of trees. There are Mussulmans and 

* The Colonization Committee, 1859, in their Report, say — " It has 
been truly said by one of the earliest witnesses examined, that one of 
the first wants of a settler is facility of access to the interior of the 
country. The Indian Government, however, held the country the 
greater part of a century before a main line of road was commenced 
even through the most populous parts of India. This is a neglect which 
even those witnesses who have been connected with the Government of 
India acknowledge and deplore. It was justly considered one of the 
principal causes of the want of a due supply of cotton from India by 
the Committee on Cotton Cultivation, presided over by Mr. Bright in 
1848. The Grand Trunk Road was not begun before the days of Lord 
William Bentinck in 1836. It is stated that Mr. HaUiday'had com- 
plained in a Minute to Government of the wretched state of the roads 
near the seat of government itself. One witness asserts, that at a dis- 
tance of forty miles from Calcutta there are no roads practicable for 
carts. It is stated by another witness recently there, that even now a 
road from Calcutta to Jessore is only just being made. * Between Cal- 
cutta and Dacca,' says Mr. Underbill, * the bridges are broken down, 
and the road is in perfect disrepair.' This was so late as the year 
1854." We may add, that it is the same at this day. 


Hindoos lying" about languidly in the shade, and a few 
children driving* bullocks over the plain, or passing* to 
and fro up to the European house. If it be early spring, 
when the rice is not growing, there is no labour going 
on ;* perhaps a couple of Hindoos may be repairing a 
broken cart, but, generally speaking, the male population 
will be squat inside their mud and bamboo huts, or re- 
cumbent under the shadow of the trees, and you may 
advance unimpeded towards the house. That villa is the 
metropolis of the encircling villages. It is not like the 
abode of a Hill Rajah or even of a Bengal Zemindar, a 
half-fortified building with armed retainers about it : it 
is an open Eastern house, with its verandahs and broad 
windows, and unclosed doors, something much more un- 
protected than an English villa. As you approach it, 
you will probably see European children playing on the 
greensward, or riding on horses led by syces, watched by 
their mother from the verandah, and accompanied by 
native nurses.f There is a crowd issuing from the cut- 

* The Ryot never works more than three hours a day upon an aver- 
age, and generally in the cool of the morning. The weeding of the 
indigo is chiefly done by the women and children, for it is done at a 
time when there is no other labour for them. 

t Mr. Seton Karr corroborates our statement in his earlier writings. 
He says, in an article in the Calcutta Review, whereof he is the putative 
parent : — 

" We leave it to such as have seen the ins and outs of the Mofussil to 
descant on the style of life led by a planter at the head of a large con- 
cern, with rights long established, and therefore secure, his generous 
hospitality, his frank and open deportment, his ready reception of the 
European traveller, his kindness to those Ryots who ask his aid or 
advice. But there is one feature in his present Hfe on which we dwell 
with pecuhar pleasure, and which we cannot pass over now. Isolated 
from his fellow-men, and surrounded by those of different colour and 
creed, the Indian of the *' old school," the Indian so easily satirized in 
by-gone novels and short-lived farces, was seldom without one of those 
wretched incumbrances which here and there still usurp the place of 
the wife. The practice once so common even in Calcutta and other 


cherry, where the master of the house is sitting* in a self- 
established court of arbitration, and later in the evening' 
you may see a larg-er crowd of Bonooa women, to whom 
the European lady is giving- advice and medicine, and 
tendino;' the multiform maladies of their children. It is 
an Eastern patriarchal scene ; but you are convinced, as 
you look upon it, how utterly impossible it must be for 
that European to live thus alone — one sing-le Eng-lish 
family among* thousands of Asiatics — if he had not ac- 
quired a moral influence over the natives, and if his pre- 
sence were not felt to be a benefit to the population.* 
That any man should commit violence and rapine, and 
should live thus open and unprotected, with his domestic 
ties about him, is a self-evident absurdity which no man 
who has ever been in India can honestly assert, or can 
otherwise than dishonestly insinuate. 

The sustenance of this house, and of all the comforts 

large stations naturally ceased there, as soon as unmarried ladies began 
to "come out" from England, but lingered more tenaciously in out- 
districts and isolated factories. Its traces are now fainter and fainter ; 
and the planter's home is often adorned by the presence of the pure 
English wife, and the amiable English daughter, with feelings and tastes 
as genuine as those of residents in the country at home, and wanting 
only in the bright glow of English health to make the parallel com- 
plete." — Calcutta Beview, vol. ii. p. 217. 

* Mr. Walters, the magistrate of the city of Dacca, who has dwelt 
with especial severity upon a few instances of bad men in troubled times, 
some of which will always be found, in any body of men, in his 
return to the Governor-General's Circular of the 29th December, 
1829, says— 

"That some of the planters are held in much estimation by the 
natives ; that they are constantly called upon to arbitrate disputes be- 
tween relatives or neighbours ; that they are the frequent dispensers of 
medicine to the sick, of advice to those in difficulty, of pecuniary aid to 
those in need, on the occasion of family events, which would otherwise 
involve them for life with native money-lenders ; and that their never- 
faihng acquiescence in the wants and wishes of their poor neighbours 
has thus tended, in some measure, to exalt the British name and charac- 
ter, I can vouch from my own knowledge of the fact." 


that surround it^ depend upon the vats and drying-house 
which lie contiguously to it^ like the barns and beast- 
houses of an English homestead.* 

How did all this arise in such an out of the world 

It is all the work of one of that despised and hated 
pariah class of British settlers— that class which all the 
statesmen of India and of England seek to increase^ and 
which the present Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal is 
now destroy ing.f 

It is now many years since the present proprietor of 

* We are careful to advance nothing in this statement which cannot 
be proved by living testimony, or by state documents. 

The Colonization Committee, 1 859, in their Report, say — 

" It is stated by witnesses generally, that ' wherever Europeans have 
settled, a marked improvement in the country has followed ;' the various 
products of the land have been developed. Settlers have taken the lead 
in introducing steam navigation, and in discovering its indispensable 
auxiliaries, coal and iron ; in the extension of roads, and in generally 
lowering the cost of production. 

" It is justly observed by Mr. Marsham, that from their intercourse 
with the people, settlers must naturally ' know more what is passing in 
their minds' than the agents of the Government ; the position of the 
settlers rendering them vigilant and interested observers of the tendency 
of native opinion. 

'* Where they reside, the rate of interest, often exorbitantly high, be- 
comes reduced. The circulation of ready money is extended, and a 
steady rise takes place in the rate of wages. 

" Another good effect of settlement is its tendency to promote the 
maintenance of order. A large extension of the number of settlers over 
India would be a considerable guarantee against any future insurrection, 
and would tend to lessen the necessity for maintaining our expensive 

t When we speak of the hostility of the Civil Service, we mean, of 
course, that spirit of hostility which actuates the body, and which is 
manifested conspicuously and disastrously in the acts of the fanatics of 
the class. We shall see hereafter that many individuals of the caste do 
not resist the evidence of their senses ; and, under Lieut.-Governors 
other than Mr. Grant, have dared to tell the truth. There is as much 
difference between civilians like Mr. Hawkins or Sir F. Halliday and 
Mr. J. P. Grant, as there is between an ordinary Brahmin and a Nana 


this house and factory, or his predecessor, came alone 
into this district, to employ his energ-y and his capital in 
the manufacture of indigo. He was not allowed to buy 
or lease land when he came there. There was a native 
Zemindar, or feudal land-owner, who held over the land 
and the llyots the same sort of power of indefinite exac- 
tion which our old feudal lords held over their villeins. 
There was also a judg-e, who was perhaps, in those days 
of corruption, in the Zemindar's pay. The new settler 
wanted to buy indig'o — that is to have an immediate 
necessity for a perishable article. In a hundred days the 
crop of indig'o is g-rown, and cut, and manufactured. 
When once ripe, it must be cut ; when once cut, it must 
be carried straight to the vats. It will not keep, — " Le 
vin est tire il faut le boire." 

How was he to get the natives to procure him the 
vegetable he had come so far and spent so much to obtain 
in order to manufacture into dye ? He soon found that 
the whole system of the country was to pay before- 
hand. The little farmers (Ryots) were, in effect, paupers. 
They had no capital. They could not afford to buy the 
seed, nor to subsist till the indigo would grow. All their 
rice crops were mortgaged over and over again to the 
native money-lender, who had made them advances at 
from 60 to 100 per cent, interest upon them. 

This is the case all over India. Industry insists upon 
mortgaging' itself to capital. Every artificer works upon 
advances, and these advances, when made by the native 
usurers, is never at less than 60 per cent. 

Our new settler bowed to the custom of the country, 
called his neighbours together, and offered them advances 
^^ without interest J ' to give him indigo next season at a 
stipulated price. The money was taken eagerly. It 


was also necessary to supply seed^ and the seed was 
added at a nominal cliarg-e. Perhaps the Ryot was 
honesty and sowed, perhaps he did not , but we will as- 
sume that he did. 

At the proper season the vats were ready^ and the 
indig^o was ripe for cutting*. But now heg^an the planter's 
difficulty, When he went to cut and carry his indig'o 
there were other claimants on the g-round. 1'he Zemin- 
dar wished to claim it for some feudal service, or under 
some pretence of landlord's dues. Perhaps the cunning* 
Ryot — a very common occurrence — had taken advances 
and seed for the same piece of land Irom some other 
planter in the neig-hbourhood. What was to be done ? 
There was law to be had. The planter mig^ht sue the 
Zemindar before the Zemindar's debtor^ the judg-e^ or he 
mig'ht sue the Ryot, and g-ive occasion to some civilian 
to insult him, and to his police to victimize him. If he 
fell in with an independent and impartial judg*e he might 
even ^et a judg-ment in his favour. In the ^^ Robert 
Watson and Co.'s Factories'' there are, at this moment, 
8G,000 contracts for indig'o, upon which advances have 
been made, the bulk of which vary from ten to twenty 
rupees. A pretty mass for the leng-thy and technical opera- 
tion of the old Company's courts, and a pretty harvest in 
the shape of stamp duties ! Of course, recourse to law to 
recover advances, or enforce contracts, was never seri- 
ously thoug-ht of. But he had 20,000 of these contracts, 
and perhaps at least 5000 disputed cases. Even if he 
g-ot a judgment it would be after fifteen months litig-a- 
tion, and in twenty-four hours the article in dispute would 
be perished. What did he do ? He did what men at all 
times have done when the law afforded them no protec* 



tion. He seized his right with a strong* arm.* The 
planter and the Zemindar fought it out over the indigo 
patch. In those days there were men, called bludgeon 
men (lattials)^ maintained by the Zemindars to fight their 
quarrels. It was a profession which the planter found 
established, and again he fell into the habit of the coun- 

This is the plain truth concerning a scandal of other 
days, which existed about the same time as corruption 
existed in the Civil Service. A planter would now be 
ashamed to speak of general corruption in connection 
with the Civil Service, but Mr. Grant, with that exqui- 
site taste for which he is so remarkable, does not fail to 
draw a sneer against the planters from those old lattial 
stories in his last Minute. 

But if it were, even at the present day, as rife as it has 
been proved to be unknown — as rife as corruption and 
extortion at this moment confessedly are among the Go- 
vernment Police — whose fault would it be ? Whose but 
that of the Government, which, by renouncing- the first 
duties of government, that of protecting property, had 
remitted their Mofussil subjects to their natural rights ? 

Be it remembered, however, that with all these dis- 
putes the Ryot had nothing whatever to do. The fight 

* The natives have two well known phrases for " doing oneself right 
by the strong arm" and '* doing wrong by the strong arm," It is im- 
possible to eradicate from the mind of the Bengali that the first is his 
indefeasible right, and we must always take this into consideration when 
we are judging of any rural conflict in India. All this is very graphi- 
cally told by Mr. Seton Karr, in the article in the " Calcutta Review" 
for 1847, already cited; and wherein the young civiHan's prejudices 
against the civil outlaw seem to contend against the young Englishman's 
sympathy with his own energetic and enterprising countryman. But 
Mr. ISeton Karr had not then fallen into the jog-trot of office. In those 
days he had not learned to look for truth only through the refracting 
medium of the Civil Service. 


was between Zemindars— native lords of manors— and 
Planters. The Eyot had his advances and his price, and 
gTew his indig'o : the contest was, who should have the 
plant when g-rown. 

The Ryot had his grievances no doubt, as all people 
have their g-rievances under a bad Government. Just as 
the judge had and has, as he himself will be the first to 
confess and deplore— a corrupt set of officers (Omlah), 
who took bribes, and did with the ig-norant judge as they 
fisted y just as the pofice exacted black mail from native 
cultivators and European settlers alike 3 so the planter 
had his servants who cheated the Ryot, or cheated the 
planter, according to the capacity or willingness of the 
Ryot to make it worth their while to do so. But this is, 
and has been, the normal condition of India under the 
Company's system, and there is nothing exceptional in 
the matter. 

It was under these discouragements that the factory 
we have been examining rose ; when the factor was the 
competitor of the Zemindar, the victim of the civilian, 
and a pre}^ to the police. But time passed on, and, by 
the aid of the interference of the English nation, he 
was at last empowered to lease the rights of the Zemin- 
dar, to purchase and to hold land, to have legal rights, 
to buy the Zemindar out, to take leases of manors, to 
stand in the Zemindar's place. From that moment he 
became a more dangerous victim and a more difficult 

To understand this change, we must shortly recapitu- 
late a few general facts. 

The East India Company had the exclusive monopoly 
of the trade with India until 1814, notwithstanding 
many efforts to open the trade previous to tliat year. 

c 2 


The people of England were^ in the ig-norance which then 
prevailed^ strangely persuaded by the Company^ that if 
the trade to India were thrown open the price of goods 
in India would be so much enhanced by the competition 
of different traders^ and their price in England would be 
so much diminished^ that the freedom of the trade would 
end in the ruin of all who might adventure in it. 

The rule of the Company was never very satisfactory 
to the British nation. Lord Oornwallis said, in 1789^ 
that one-third of the Company's territory was a jungle 
for wild beasts. It was owing to this dissatisfaction that 
Mr. Fox brought forward his celebrated India Bill, 
which was lost. This failure was followed by the Bill of 
Mr. Pitt, which was carried, creating the Board of Con- 
trol, but continuing the superintendence of all commer- 
cial matters^ as formerly, in the hands of the Directors. 
The Company's Charter w^as prolonged until 1st March, 

In Mr. Pitt's Act a kind of opening of the trade was 
made for private individuals, or '' free merchants,'' who 
were allowed to export and import certain goods in the 
Compaiififs ships, for carryings on which the Company 
were bound to provide ^3000 tons annually, at a fixed 
scale per ton. 

Few availed themselves of the privileg^e, exposed as 
they were to the ruinous competition of the Company, 
whose great object ever was— as we have already seen in 
their official correspondence — to keep the ^^ interloper" 
out of India. 

The Company's enemies did not increase to any extent. 
In 1807-8 the private imports into India, by private 
hands, were only £300,000. 

The people of England at last moved with some 


vig'our^ previous to the expiry of tlie Charter in 1814^ to 
put an end to the trade monopoly ; and they succeeded 
as reg-arded the trade with India^ but the monopoly was 
continued as reg-arded the trade with China. 

The chief conditions of the opening- of the trade to 
India were that private individuals should confine them- 
selves to the Presidencies of Calcutta^ Madras^ and Bom- 
}my, and Penang-, in vessels of a certain tonnag-e^ and 
that they were to be excluded from the ordinary trade^ 
and the trade with China. 

Thus emancipated^ the private traders were not long- 
in g-aining' the ascendancy : they^ in a very few years^ 
trebled the trade which the East India Company declared 
could not be extended^ although^ both in exports and 
imports, they were constantly subjected to heavy losses 
from the fitful competition and commercial speculations 
of the Company, who had Residents in all the principal 
towns, with a large staiF of servants intended for coercive 
measures^ when any interloper's interest clashed wdth the 
operations of the Company. Lord Wellesley then wrote 
^^ that the intimation of a wish from the Company's Re- 
sident is always received as a command by the native 
manufacturers and producers.^' And this holds- true in 
India to this very day j and in such a case the unfortu- 
nate interloper must still g-o to the wall. It is now only 
on questions of official jealous}^, or in the acquisition of 
land, that these parties can clash, for the Government is 
no long-er a trader, and except in the unpopular, we may 
say hated, monopolies of opium and salt, it is no long-er 
a manufacturer. 

The capricious deahngs of the old Company in com- 
mercial matters, after it had become exposed to competi- 
tion, shewed heavy losses. When the Charter came to 


be renewed^ in 1833^ Parliament had therefore no hesi- 
tation in depriving- the Company of its commercial cha- 
racter altog-ether^ and in confining- its g-overnment^ for 
the future, to the territorial and political management of 
the country. 

The new Charter extended to 1854, and, under it, any 
natural-born subject of Eng-land was entitled to proceed 
by sea to an}^ port or place within the limit of the Com- 
pany's Charter, having* a custom-house establishment, 
and to reside thereat, or pass throug-h any part of the 
Company's territories, to reside thereat. 

Thus was the interloper g-radually, and to a certain 
extent, emancipated. 

We have already abundantly shewn that the Civil 
Service have as a body never ceased to throw every im- 
pediment in the way of settlers in the country. They 
latterly had not the same power of interference and an- 
noyance to the interlopers who carried on commercial 
pursuits in the towns, but they had, and have, this power 
in the case of all Europeans who settle in the interior for 
the purpose of indig'o planting-. Indig-o was the only 
ag-ricultural produce in which European capital was em- 
barked anterior to 1834, when the monopoly of the Com- 
pany ceased, and when their silk filatures were sold, and 
their factories put up for sale. 

In all these downward steps of the East India Com- 
pany the British settler bore his part ; ever crying aloud 
in England against the cruelty, rapacity , and oppression 
of the Company's rule ; helping* the agitators in Eng-land, 
and verif^^ing- the notion of Mr. Hawkins and the Civil 
Service generally, that the Planter was " an obstreperous 

The European settlers were not satisfied with a mere 


theoretical victory. Day by day they became more ac- 
tive^ more successful^ and more hateful. They g*ained 
strength and independence as they increased at the Pre- 
sidency towns and in the interior^ and they necessarily 
became more obnoxious to the Civil Service^ who found 
that the objects of their previous contempt had been the 
destroyers of their undivided supremacy. The ^^ inter- 
lopers " were the first to move for the abolition of the 
Company in 1857^ when the mutiny broke out. It was 
the interlopers who made so notorious in Eng-land the 
incompetency of the administration of the Company. 
The part taken by the indigo planters^ and the other in- 
terlopers, in the agitation which resulted in the abolition 
of the Company^ is still remembered. It certainly never 
will be forg'iven by the old Directors of the defunct Com- 
pany^ or by the Civil Service^ who^ since then, have 
looked upon their exclusive privileges as doomed^ and 
their dynasty as passing away. The bitter feud between 
them and the interloper is now_, when public opinion runs 
against public castes, carefully disguised in words ; and 
we gladly acknowledge that there are numeroias instances 
of large minded men in that service who have overcome 
all their class prejudices and have opened their eyes to 
see the true interests of the country in which their lot 
has been thrown. But the old feud is burnt in upon the 
souls of fanatical civilians, such as Mr. Grant, and has 
become a yearning for a great revenge. 

Such has been the progress of the owner of the house 
which we some pages back attempted to picture to the 
Enghsh reader. Thirty or forty years ago, when he first 
set foot in the country, he was nothing more than a Civil 
outlaw, setiking a spot whereon to fix an almost ilHcit 
manufacture. He bought a potta of 100 beegahs (33 


acres)^ and built a factory, with vats^ godowns, and ma- 
chinery. But he could not buy it or hold it in his own 
name : he was an uncovenanted Eng-lishman^ and there- 
fore clviliter ex lex. It was bought in the name of his 
native ag-ent. The world was all ag-ainst him : the Eyot 
was his only friend. How different is his position now ! 
Alhed with the Ryot^ the European outlaw has been 
victorious. He has established his factory^ he has boug-ht 
out the Zemindar^ he has become a rival in consequence 
and in influence to the Civil servant. By his own energ-y 
and perseverance^ and by the support of the people of 
Eno'land, he has done this. 

But the Indig'o planter is become more than a planter. 
He is become a g-reat landowner and a g-reat reclaimer 
of the wastes. In 1829 there was a vehement contest 
between Lord William Bentinck and Sir C. Metcalfe, 
and the Directors of the Company, upon the question 
whether the planter should be allowed to hold land. We 
should much like to quote those state papers, but unhap- 
pily this, like all other Indian subjectSj is too vast for the 
patience of the English public. The arg-uments used by 
the statesmen, and the querulous, and sometimes insolent 
replies of the Directors, are all extant in the volume to 
which we have already so often referred. It ended, how- 
ever, in public opinion at home coming- in to aid the 
Governor-General; and the planter was, in 1833, per- 
mitted to take the lands in his own name. 

From that time forward the planter chang-ed his cha- 
racter altog-ether. He was no long-er only a planter : he 
was the lord of the manor, the landowner of the district. 
He either held direct from the Government, or rented 
of the native lord, the Zemindar, all his rents and feudal 
lights. In the latter case he paid the Zemindar much 


more than the current value^ and he never enforced, or 
even asked for, those httle feudal exactions upon mar- 
riag-es, births, deaths, and changes of occupancy, and 
other items, which amounted to a considerable sum in an 
aggregate of several thousand holding's.* He made his 

* Again we cite the testimony of Mr. Seton Karr, when he had not 
to draw a damnatory Indigo Report. He then wrote, when indigo 
abuses were only just dying out : — 

*' Nowhere has the contrast between European energy and Asiatic 
torpor been so signally displayed. Year after year the Zemindar, fol- 
lowing obsequiously in the path of his ancestors, had seen the same 
patch of jungle growing up, which at best could only furnish materials 
for mats, or a cottage thatch. In some cases he had looked on where 
Nature had even advanced and cultivation receded from her empire ; but 
when the native gazed in apathy, the new settler began to clear away. 
We could mention numerous instances where the rule of the planter has 
been attended with the extension of agriculture, and consequent benefit 
to the Ryot ; but one example will suffice, as it illustrates most clearly 
the difference between the Oriental and British character. A ravine, or 
rather the bend of a river, had in process of time been filled up by a 
yearly alluvial deposit, and as new and fertile land was immediately 
claimed by two old belligerents. After the usual amount of disputes 
the quarrel was terminated by the authorities : a boundary line was 
drawn exactly down the middle of the old bed of the river, and an equal 
half thus secured to both. But now came the difference in the use made 
of the acquisition. The Zemindar had been as anxious in the pursuit 
of his object as the most ardent European : he had contested every 
point, and given up nothing, even to the last. But he had no intention 
of deriving benefit himself, or allowing others to derive any from what 
it had cost him so much to gain. Months and months the land lay 
fallow, and the increasing jungle sprung up. But the planter, in the 
course of two years, had nearly the whole in cultivation, and when we 
last visited the place it was already sprouting with the promise of an 
excellent crop. It seemed as if the boundary-line drawn by the Deputy- 
Collector had realized the old story of the knife, which on one side was 
impregnated with poison and withered all it touched, on the other be- 
stowed healing juices and the vigorous sap of life."— Calcutta Review, 
vol. vii. p. 27. 

" The leaseholder, or the *putnidar' forbears to put in force the 
power derived by him to measure and assess the lands of the Ryots to 
the full amount legally permissible ; ;.iid he also never calls on the Ryots 
for those various payments which some of the native Zemindars, on some 
one pretext or other, constantly demand from the tenants on births, 
marriages, religious festivals, and similar events, or on pressing necessi* 
ties. Mr. J. P. Wise asserted his belief that he could double the i'ent 


profit^ however^ by clearing* the jung-le, and bring-ing* 
whole plains of wilderness into cultivation. A certain 
portion^ perhaps one-twentieth of the whole^ he kept for 
indig'o cultivation^ or let upon that condition ; the rest he 
let to the natives upon moderate rents. In all proba- 
bility the factory town which we have described was^ 
twenty-five years ag*o, upon the edg-e of a wild-beast 
covert. It is a matter of universal notoriety among* the 
dwellers in the present district of Nuddea or Kishnag*- 
hur, that^ twenty-five years ag-o, one -third of that g-reat 
indig'o district was jung-le. The chief factory-house in 
another district is even now called by a name which 
indicates the abundance of wild beasts in the neighbour- 
hood^ being' formed from the Beng-ali word ^^ to hunt."* 

The planter is now just in the position of a lessee of 
church lands in Eng-land^ except that the Zemindar is 
very g^enerally engag-ed in intrig'uing among* the Il3^ots^ 
and using" his hereditary influence among- them to thwart 
his European lessor^ g-enerally with one object— to extort 
a bribe. He is often successful^ for he knows very well 
that indig-o is the planter's weak pointy and that there are 
a hundred days in every year when the planter is at every 
one's mercy y when Lieutenant-Governor^ Zemindar^ Civil 
servant, and policeman, must all be propitiated in their 
own diflerent ways ; and when a cessation of labour for 
twenty-four hours is ruin. 

We have already quoted the opinion of Lord William 
Bentinck^ after inquiry made, as to the manner in which 

of his Ryots ; and Mr. Forlong said that he allowed the Ryots to sit at 
as easy a rate as possible. Mr. Larmour, in Mulnath alone, has released 
17,000 beegahs of land, held rent free, on the production by the holder 
of certain papers, called the toidad, endorsed by the collector of reve- 
nue.'* — Report of the Indiyo Committeey 1860, par 17. 
* This factory is in Rajshahye, and called " Shikarpore." 


the planter^ even in his day, used the influence his posi- 
tion g'ave him. We have also quoted the unwilling- testi- 
mony of Mr. Walters^ the magistrate of Dacca^ to the 
fact that the planters are held in much estimation by the 
natives^ are called upon to arbitrate disputes^ are dispen- 
sers of medicine to the sick^ are advisers of those in diffi- 
culty^ advance money to those in need on the occasion of 
family events which would otherwise involve them for life 
with native money-lenders^ and are constantly attending 
to the wants and wishes of their poor neighbours. The 
same facts are gTudgingly admitted even by this Indigo 
Commission. In fact^ every inquiry made^ by either friend 
or enemy^ has eventuated in the same admission^ that the 
planter in his district performs the same offices in his 
neighbourhood that an English landed proprietor does 
upon his estate. ^^No thanks to him," say men like Mr. 
J. P. Grant. ^^ It is to his interest to do so : if he did 
not^ he would not get his indigo." This is true : the law 
gives him no protection. W hat would an English land- 
lord or contractor think if he was told that the law was 
open to him for breaches of contract, and found that this 
" law" consisted of a right to file 36,000 Bills in Chancery 
against 36,000 cottagers who had been incited by the 
executive authorities of the country to violate their con- 
tracts and to strike work ? It is true, as the white Brah- 
min caste insists, that benevolence is the planter's interest. 
But how complete an answer is this to all other general 
charges ? and what can savour more of the age of gold in 
these degenerate days than that a trade should flourish 
upon moral influence alone, and that it should be made a 
charge against the trader that he works up this moral 
influence by means of acts of benevolence ? 

We should like to see Mr. J. P. Grant left to ^^ moral 


influence" to manufacture his opium^ or to work his 
salt monopoly. We would look indulgently upon his 
doing- so b}^ any acts of benevolence which his policy mig-ht 

And yet Mr. Grant^ as a man of the world^ wonders 
that while the majority of the planter class act thus, there 
sometimes occurs the exception of a foolish planter, who, 
in the absence of law, will right himself by force, rather 
than by what was, before Mr. Grant came upon the scene, 
the far more effectual and more common means of acts of 
g-ood neig-hbourship ! 

Before we proceed to notice the business arrang-ements 
between the planters and the Ryots, it will be well to 
say a few words upon the value and quantity of the indig-o 
produced in India. 




Let us now contemplate for a moment the quantity and 
value of the produce which factories like those we have 
been examining- turn out annually. 

Indig'o planting" in Beng-al is an old child of the Com- 
pany. Before the renewal of the Charter, in 1834, the 
private adventurer^ in his eag-erness to take shelter in the 
shadow of some potent civilian^ associated himself with 
some fortunate mortal who was covenanted to the Com- 
pany. The civilian lent money to the planter, either at 
interest or on condition of his having- a certain share in 
the profits. At one time civilians openly carried on fac- 
tories in their own names. Being* the official of the dis- 
trict they carried every thing- their own way with the 

This explains why the production of indig'o in Beng-al 
has so greatly varied from time to time. The capricious 
operations of the Company when they came into the Cal- 
cutta market as buyers in competition with private traders 
ran up prices so hig-h on several occasions, that^the planters 
were induced to extend their cultivation^ forg-etting- that 
the article was one of limited demand or consumption^ and 
that, when the supply exceeded what is called the effec- 
tual demand^ lower prices must be the consequence^ accord- 
ing- to the laws of trade. 

The production of indigo in Beng-al (including- Tirhoot 
and the North-West indig'o districts)^ in 1819, 1820, and 


1822^ was on an averag-e about 70,000 maunds (of 72 lbs.), 
and in 1826 the production rose to 144,000 maunds, 
which was the largest crop during^ the period of the ex- 
istence of the Company's commercial monopoly. In the 
following" year, 1827, the crop in Beng^al was only 90,000 
maunds. The larg-est crops of indig-o ever known were 
in 1843 and 1844, when Bengal produced 165,000, and 
172,050 maunds. In 1846 the crop was 90,000 maunds, 
and for the last five years the average crop may be taken 
at 105,000 maunds. 

Madras, which in former 3^ears produced little or no 
indigo, has been exporting largely of the dye of late years, 
its annual exports being now, on an average of the last 
five years, say 28,000 maunds. 

Taking the average exports 

From Bengal at . . . 105,000 maunds. 
And from Madras . . 28,000 „ 

The total exports were . 133,000 „ 

They send a few maunds of coarse indigo from Bombay 
not worth takinof into calculation. 

So much for quantity. Now for value. 

The prices of indigo have been very fluctuating* in the 
markets of India and Europe. Not many years ago fine 
Bengal indigo sold as low as 140 and 150 rupees per 
maund, the same quality of indigo which has been selHng 
in Calcutta, for the last two or three years, at 220 to 240 
rupees per maund ; and this year fine Bengal indigo may 
realize about the former figure. There are many circum- 
stances to affect prices up or down ; the quantity produced 
yearly ; the consumption and stock in the markets to 
which the article is exported ; and the condition of trade 


and the money market^ as well as the aspect from time to 
time of European politics. 

The price in Eng-land in 18^6 was 12s, and in 1827 
13i^ per pound for fine Beng-al indig'o. 

In 1846 it fell to 5^ 6d, and in 1848 and 1849 was 
5s 9d per pound. 

Since 1852 prices have g-radually risen. In 1858 fine 
indigo fetched as hig-h as ds 6d per pound. But the 
same quality may now be had at 7^ 6^ to 85 per pound. 

The value of the block of the indigo concerns in Ben- 
gal; or the price at which the}^ stand in the books of the 
planters or proprietors^ is estimated^ as we have already 
seen^ at seven or eight millions sterling. 

The annual outlay for the cultivation of indigo in Ben- 
gal varies from one-and-half to two millions^ all ofwJdch 
is circulated in the indigo districts. 

In the Indigo Commission Report it is stated that the 
value of the block belonging to Messrs. I. and R. AVat- 
son and the Bengal Indigo Company is £500^000^ or 
half-a-million sterling. 

In further proof of the value of this manufacture to 
the district where it exists^ we find it stated^ in the same 
Report^ that in one district the money annually expended 
on indigo cultivation is £60^000, in excess of the total 
land rent which the same district yields annually to Go- 
vernment : and this^ let it be remembered^ is only one of 
the articles produced from the soil^ from an area^ as the 
Report states^ not exceeding one-sixteenth to one-twentieth 
of the average cultivation of every Ryot in the district; 
the rest of his land^ to the extent of fifteen-sixteenths or 
nineteen- twentieths^ being under other crops^ and he has 
the use of the indigo lands^ unless he keeps them for in- 
digo-seed^ after the plant is cut in June and July. 




Within two years of the present date^ nothing- in India 
was so comfortable as the relations between an indig-o- 
planter and his Eyots. In India^ where nothing* is true 
and every thing- is in dispute^ it is wonderful how this fact 
stands out conspicuous in the midst of every inquiry^ and 
emerg-es from every report. AVe do not mean to say that 
this course of true love was without am^ ripple. Just as 
ever}^ native, and even every Civil servant^ has for many 
years been complaining- that the Company's judg-e is sur- 
rounded by an ^^ omlah/' or set of subordinate ofBcers^ 
who cheat and extort and environ the most well-inten- 
tioned civilian with an impenetrable fortification of cor- 
rupt underling-s — making- the judicature of India one 
atmosphere of perjury and bribery — so the planter is 
oblio-ed to have his " omlah," who make the most of their 
opportunities. Just as the ^' omlah" of the Government 
collectors in the Presidency of Madras have been proved 
to have committed acts of torture, so the native collectors 
of the planter may sometimes have been g'uilty^ not of 
any such acts as these- God forbid ! — but of acts of fraud 
and violence to obtain what was their master's rig'ht. The 
planter cannot pretend to be free from a vice of Indian 
society from which the Governor-General himself can 
claim no immunity. The native servants of the factory 
will take bribes. They will for a bribe measure out land 
for indig-o which is useless for that or for any other pur- 


pose^ and they will, in reveng-e for not receiving* a bribe, 
measure out the land most disadvantag-eous to the Ryot 
to part with, and most disadvantag-eous to the planter to 
receive. The}^ will for a bribe put the measuring'-cord 
round the expanded heads of the Indig'o bundles, or, in 
reveng-e for not receiving- a bribe, round the waists of the 
bundles. They will, when it is possible, note down some 
of the bundles of the man who has not bribed them to the 
score of another man who has. They will favour all sorts 
of tricks ag-ainst their employer, or they will invent frauds 
which do not exist. The planter is an energ-etic, active 
man, aware of all these dangers, and always on the watch 
for them, and he has usually an European assistant as 
watchful as himself: 3^et they will occur, — not constantly 
and habitually as they do in the Court of the trusting- and 
uninformed civilian, but they will sometimes occur. 

Allowing-, however, as men of common sense will al- 
ways allow, for the surrounding- circumstances, the rela- 
tion between the planter and the Ryots was the most 
satisfactory of any relation between Europeans and 
natives in India. 

After the close of the manufacturing- season the 
planter's object is to make sure of his indig'o. He 
is surrounded by swarms of httle farmers with their 
small ^^jummas''— a sort of copyholds or customary free- 
holds—of from five to fifty acres, who have come to 
settle accounts and to take fresh advances for the ensuing- 
season. Thousands are ready to take the money. Perhaps, 
as the report of Mr. Granf s secretary, sitting- as presi- 
dent of the Indig'o Commissioners, 1 860, admits, " it is a 
season of the year when the Ryot is in want of money 
for rent and for the annual festival of Doorg-a. Advances 
are in some instances willnig-ly and even g-reedily accepted. 



Some men are in debt 3 others want to spend money^ 
and all like money without interest.'^* Some^ also^ are 
doubtless in debt to the factory. It is a debt they never 
intend to pay ; but it will happen in Tndia^ as in other 
places^ that a debt occasions a certain state of oblig-ation^ 
and^ as the planter is well aware that it is useless to ask 
for his debt^ and equally useless to expect his indig-o 
without advancing" the usual money and seed^ the debtor 
ag"rees for a certain quantity of indig*©^ and g*oes and en- 
joys himself at his Doorg-a feast 3 f acting- pretty much, 
as Macaulay says the second Pitt acted when, being- in 
debt to his coachmaker, he ordered another carriag-e. 

How much better it would be if there were no feast 
of Doorg-a, and if the Eyots wanted no advances, and if 
the Byots would gTow the indig-o, and then at the proper 
time offer it to the competing- planters. So say certain 
intensely wise men, simpletons of the first order, who are 
half inclined to think with Alfonso the Wise — that con- 
ceited blasphemer, who remarked that it was rather a 
pity he had not been present at the creation j for that he 
mig-ht have g-iven a hint or two which would have pre- 
vented many incong-ruities. Mr. Grant is also quite of 
opinion that the ~Ryot and the planter are very wrong-, 
and that the Eyot oug-ht to g-row and sell, and g-et the 
full market price for his produce. J Among- the barren 

* Report, par. 57. 

f *' On all domestic occurrences, births, deaths and marriages, a native 
is put to a great expense, and cannot get on without the aid of a banker 
— and this from the Rajah to the lowest peasant. And they prefer 
dealing with the indigo manufacturer, who charges no interest, to any 
other person." 

X " If the planter had paid, in cash, such a price for indigo-plant as 
would have made it more profitable to the Ryot to grow that crop than 
any other, abstaii)ing also from all molestation of the Ryot by himself, 
or his servants, no one pretends that the planter would not have got, 
year after year, as much indigo-plant as he could pay for." — 3fr. Orant^s 
Minute upon the Indigo Planter's petition aqainst him. 


platitudes with which Mr. Grant's Minute abounds^ this 
is conspicuous. It is hke a sug-g-estion that the moon 
should be lit up all the month throug-h. It is the most 
inane of truisms. Of course we all think this. Nothino* 
would delig-ht us more than a full supply of indig-o-plant 
ready when we want it^ at the market-price. Undoubt- 
edly it would be much better if the Ryots would g-row 
their indig-o and never run in debt^ and if Mr. Pitt had 
paid his coachbuilder's bill^ and had not ordered a car- 
riag-e he did not want. But unfortunately both the In- 
dian farmer and the British minister had habits of per- 
sonal expenditure which had not the character of fore- 
thoug-ht. Mr. Pitt had no money to pay his coachmaker, 
and Bonomallee Mundle has no money to pay his rent 
and provide indig-o-seed. Instead of g-etting- as much 
indig'o-plant as he could pay for^ the planter w^ould not 
by any such means, g-et a sing-le bundle. He mig-ht 
as well g-o into a bazaar at Kishnag'hur for a choice of 
g-olden statues. No one knows this better than Mr. 
Grant. He knows that the men whom he insists upon 
calling" '^ capitalists'^ have not a copper pice to call their 
own. He knows, also, that in India nothing* is ever done 
without "advances;'' that if he wants a Government 
work done, he must pay by advances ; that if he wants 
a cart mended, he must pay by advances 5 and that when 
he wants poppies g-rown for opium, he invariably pays 
by advances. In attempting- to poison the ministerial 
mind at home ag-ainst the Indig-o system, he knows very 
well that he is calumniating* a system which he himself 
is using- in an agg-ravated form every day of his life. In 
talking- about " paying* in cash such a price for indig-o- 
plant,'' he is using* a disingenuous artifice, and taking* ad- 

D 2 


vantag-e of the presumed ig-norance in England of Indian 

The contracts are made^ and the advances are paid 

The advance varies from two to three rupees a beegah. 
The crop ought to he^ if the land be good and the culture 
careful^ from fifteen to twent3^-five (say twenty as an 
average) bundles per beegah. 

The payment at present varies from a rupee for four 
bundles to a rupee for six bundles. 

The advance covers nearly all the expected profit of the 
Ryot except the cold-weather crop of linseed or mustard, 
which he grows for himself after the indigo is cut. 

The weeding^ when the land is kept clear^ as it is in 
Kishnaghur or Jessore^ is nearly nominal ', and the seed 
obtainable from the second cuttings far more than com- 
pensates for the labour of weeding. 

Indigo is a crop of the easiest possible cultivation^ so 
far as mere labour is concerned ; but it requires the 
greatest tenderness of supervision^ and the occasional 
glance of the European eye. 

When the Ryot has spent his advance in paying the 
Zemindar his rent^ or in celebrating his Poojah, it is very 
likely that he will have no money-balance to receive out 
of his indigo crop. It is possible^ that if he has cultivated 
his land badly^ or sold half his seed^ or baked his seed 
before sowing it^ in order to sow a crop of his own upon 
the landj and throw the blame on the planter's seed — it is 
possible in many of these cases that the balance may be 
against him ; but as there is no instance of any R^'^ot ever 
paying up, or ever being sued for any such balance^ this 
will not much affect his happiness^ except so far as it may 


affect his receipts in a g^ood year.* The worst of the 
matter is^ as Mr. Grant has so sagaciously discovered, 
that he cannot g-o to market with the indig-o, for that he 
has already sold it and spent the money. 

In fact, the Ryot cannot in ordinary seasons, " eat his 
cake and have it too.^^ This is what, either as a pretence 

* Mr. Larmour, the manager of some of the most extensive and 
valuable mdigo properties in Bengal, in his evidence before " the Indigo 
Committee, 18G0," describes the result to the Ryots in a good year: — 

" Mr. Sale.'] Q. Are we to understand that the Ryot is in debt to the 
factory, and to the native banker who makes advances on the rice crop, 
and frequently under the supervision of both parties at the same time? 

" A. Many Ryots are indebted both to the manhajun and the factory. 

*' Q. Is it not frequently the case that the Ryot is bound to deliver 
his surplus crop to the mahnjun at fixed price under the market rate? 

*' It is the custom for the Kyot to dehver all his rice crop to the maha- 
jun, who generally fixes his own price upon it, deducting fifty per cent, 
for the advance made. That is, if he has advanced one maund to the 
Ryot, he receives in return for that one, one maund and a half. 

^' The Baboo.] Q. You have stated that, after passing of Act XI. 
[the Temporary Summary Remedies Act, passed for six months, and 
now expired], Ryots, who never held advances before, came forward and 
received their advances willingly ; can you state what number of Ryots 
have thus wiUingly taken advances, and to cultivate what quantity of 
lands ? 

•' A. About eight or ten Ryots — I don't exactly recollect the number 
— offered to cultivate ten beegahs of land at an advance of two rupees 
per beegah. 

'* Q. Is the cultivation of indigo profitable or otherwise to the Ryots ? 

" A. That depends entirely upon the season. In the last season, at 
the Mulnauth factory the average return per beegah was 14 bundles 
per beegah. Upwards of 100 Ryots cut more than 20 bundles per 
beegah ; 237 Ryots cleared off their advances and debt to the factory, 
and received fazil, or excess payments. The return of 20 bundles 
per beegah pays a Ryot well, apart from tlie indigo-seed which he also 
gets from the stumps. [Mr. Larmour here filed a paper in Enghsh, 
referring to the books in original, which he also filed.] 

" The Baboo.] Q. What number of indigo Ryots is there in the Mul- 
nauth factory ? 

'* A. One thousand three hundred and seventy-eight. 

*'Q. You have stated that out of 13/8 Ryots, 237 had cleared their 
advances ; could you state how the accounts of the remaining Ryots 
stand ? 

" A. For the last eight years in Kishnaghur the indigo cultivation has 


for an ulterior pui'pose, or as an honest craze^ people like 
Mr. Grant^ and Mr. Potter of the London Trades' 
Unions^ are always crying- for. It is for want of in- 
struction probabl}^ 3 but it is very expensive to keep 
Indian Governors and London working--men so ignorant. 
The indig-o part of the Byot's farm is the part which 
yields him his Httle ready money. He g^ets this without 
interest. Don% however^ let it be supposed that the rice 
is g-rown out of the Ryot's own " cajntal.'^ He gets 
advances also upon his rice before he puts a plough into 
the ground ; but he gets these from the native money- 
lender at from 50 to 100 per cent., and he knows very 
well that if he does not keep time with this unrelenting 
creditor^ he will be sold up without mercy. As to the 
planter, all that he has to fear is a certain sort of unde- 
fined oblig^ation to sow some indigo for him next year^ 
whether he may like it or not. It is not wonderful, there- 
fore, that the Eyot should slip into arrears with his 
easiest creditor, and that the books of every factor}^ should 
shew thousands of columns of arrears, which Mr. Grant 
taunts the planters with being, together with their vats, 
their only capital. 

been very disastrous. The remainder of the Ryots did not clear off the 
balances and debt in full, and consquently had no excess to receive. 

" Q. Have these 237 Ryots entered into fresh engagements this year ? 

"A. Every Ryot in the Mulnauth concern, amounting to ll,0(iO, 
entered into new engagements, and fulfilled them. 

" Jfr. Fergussoti] Q. Have you had occasion to sue any single Ryot 
in the Mulnauth concern for breach of contract ? 

**A. In no single instance. 

" Q. Have the Ryots in the Baraset concern renewed their engage- 
ments, and sown indigo as usual, or had you to sue them there ? 

"A. The Ryots in the Baraset concern have this year engaged and 
sown their indigo to the extent of .5000 beegahs, half the former cultiva- 
tion of the concern. Last year the concern was closed. I have had no 
occasion to carry out any case against the Ryots of that concern under 
the new Act." 


Let us hasten to say —for presently Mr, Grant will 
very likely affirm that we are seeking* power to sell up every 
one of these Ryots — that we are not asking* for any sum- 
mary remedy as to these arrears. The worst thing an 
indig-o planter could do for his own interest would be to 
ruin a Eyot. All we are asking* is^ for lawful protection 
ag'ainst fraud^ as when a Ryot takes advances from more 
than one planter, or takes the planter's money and seed^ 
and does not sow the land. 

Let us admit, also, that if a Ryot were, as Mr. Grant, 
with that tremendous assurance of his, avers him to be, 
a capitalist, he very possibly mig-ht not just now sow 
indigo. There are a great many things which a man does, 
and which he would not do if he could live without doing 
them. Mr. Grant's punkawallah would not pull his 
punkah all the hot night through, if impecuniosity did 
not compel him to do it. These things are not confined to 
India. The same necessity is felt in England. John 
Barle3^corn the publican has just got into possession of a 
very handsome public-house. It required more capital 
than John Barleycorn had at his banker's, and the owners 
of the new house were Messrs. Double-ex the brewers. 
So John Barleycorn took '^ advances" from Messrs, 
Double-ex, and gives them a bond for repayment. Now 
when John Barleycorn begins to sell his beer he finds that 
he could drive a more profitable trade if he could have his 
beer from Messrs. Treble-ex rather than from Messrs. 
Double-ex. But then there is his bond and his '^ arrears." 
He knows very well that if one of the Messrs. Treble-ex^s 
drays were seen at his door, the Double- exes would call 
in their advances, and, when his bond was produced in an 
EngHsh court of law. Lord Palmerston or Sir G. Lewis 
would not come down to Westminster Hall and tell the 


judg-es how hard it is that the Double- exes should insist 
upon Barleycorn dealing* with those who had advanced him 
wherewith to g-o into business ; nor would the chief com- 
missioner of police volunteer his advice to publicans to 
buy their beer just where they pleased. The recalcitrant 
Barleycorn would infallibly be sold up^ and every one 
would say it served him rig-ht for his bad faith and his in- 

So with the bakers and the millers^ and so with the 
merchants and the bill-discounters^ and so with every 
class of debtors and creditors all over the world ; but 
especially and above all^ so with Mr. Grant's popp3- 
g-rowing^ Ryots, who could sell their opium for just 600 
per cent, more to other people than the price at which 
Mr. Grant compels them to sell it to him. 

But why does the Eyot rather reluctantly eng-ag-e him- 
self to sow one-twentieth part of his land with indig'o ? 
For very varied reasons. There is a prejudice ag-ainst 
the Double- ex beer, and there is a prejudice ag-ainst indig-o. 
It was said of Coleridg'e, that whenever an act assumed 
the form of a duty, it became impossible for him to per- 
form it : so of a Hindoo or a Mussulman it may be said, 
that whenever an act assumes the form of an oblig-ation^ 
he hates it ; but if it assume the form of an oblig-ation, 
the price of which has already been received, he abhors 
it. In trying- to break his ag-reements he has g-ot into 
many scrapes, and has fallen into many arrears j but 
having- still been unable to learn that honesty is the best 
policy, he hates an oblig*ation which he knows he shall 
be tem|)ted— havhig- spent the advance— to avoid, and 
which he knows also he will be held to, in default of law, 
by some means or other to perform. He would like to 
have all the benefits of the neig'hbouring^ factory, and 


avoid any return. He would like the medicine^ the free 
loans^ the protection^ the help when his rice crops fail^ 
and the advances , but when he has secured all this^ he 
Avould rather not ^row the indig-o ;^ especially if some 
Missionary or magistrate^ still more if the Sircar [Go- 

* These circumstances are stated in the Report on " The Conduct of 
Europeans in India," (p. 161), compiled from returns from the Civil 
servants in the Mofassil, supplied in answer to Lord William Bentinck's 
circular. The Report was made for the use of the Board of Control. 

•* The Ryot receives advances for the cultivation of indigo, and either 
neglects to plough his land, or, when he has ploughed it, refuses to sow 
it at the proper season with indigo : and perhaps sows instead, rice, 
barley, sugar, or some other crop, for his own use. 

•' Sometimes the seed received from the planter is parched before it is 
sown, to destroy its germinative power, and after sufficient time has been 
allowed to elapse for the growth of good seed, the land is resown by the 
Ryot with some other crop, and the failure of the indigo is attributed to 
the badness of the seed furnished by the planter. At other times the 
indigo seed is ploughed up by the Ryot, or the seed of other crops sown 
with or upon it. 

'• Advances are received in respect of land to which the Ryot has no 
title, or of which he is but a joint tenant. Land to which the title is 
doubtful is frequently offered to the planter with a view of interesting 
him in supporting the claim of the party from whom he obtained the 
land. And advances are constantly received from two planters for the 
same crop : in which case, when the indigo is fit to be cut a dispute 
arises between them respecting their respective rights to the crop. 

" The Zemindars, and sometimes the native officers of the court, with 
a view to extract bribes from the planter, employ their influence with 
the Ryots, to induce them to combine and refuse to cultivate the land 
for which they have received advances. For this purpose, bonds not to 
cultivate indigo are frequently taken ly the Zemindar from the Byots. 
In other cases they erect factories, and compel the Ryots to receive ad- 
vances from them, though already under agreement to cultivate the same 
land for other planters. Here, as before, the object in view frequently 
is to obtain money from the planters, and not to manufacture indigo. 

" Sometimes they lease villages to the factories, and refuse, after they 
have received the advance agreed lijion, to deliver them up. In other 
cases, though they deliver them up the villages, they instigate the Ryots 
to stop the planter's ploughs when he proceeds to till the land, and some- 
times they collect large bodies of men together, to prevent the planter 
from cultivating even that land which he has obtained from other 

" In one case a Zemindar and a planter seem to have raised a com- 


vernment] itself, should sug-g-est to him that he need not 
complete his contract unless he likes^ and should remind 
him that there is no law to make him. 

The land applicable to indig'o is that which is least 
valuable for rice cultivation. More than one-half of the 
indig-o crop in Lower Beng-al is sown upon new alluvial 
formed lands, or churS; on the banks of the larg-e rivers 
or beds of old rivers which are unfit for rice or an}^ other 
crop. Moreover^ indigo is a fertilizing- and not an ex- 
hausting- crop. What is the best land for rice ? The 
Eyot will tell 3^ou '' The rich strong- black loam." Nine- 

bination of 7000 men, who agreed not to sow indigo themselves, and to 
prevent other Ryots from sowing it, for a certain British factory. 

" When the season arrives for ploughing the land, the Ryots who have 
agreed to cultivate indigo for the factory neglect to plough, or the 
planter finds a body of men assembled to prevent him from ploughing 
that of which he has obtained leave for home cultivation. Sometimes 
the land, instead of being retained for indigo, is sown with rice or other 
crops for the Ryot's own use; still more frequently the land is properly 
prepared by the Ryots, but when the rains commence and the seed 
should be sown, some or all of the Ryots refuse or neglect to sow. ' The 
sowing of indigo admits of no delay : when the land is prepared for the 
reception of the seed, no time must be lost. Delay, that in all cases is 
dangerous, in this is ruinous : either the lands must be sown at once, or 
not at all.' The planter has made advances, not only to the owners or 
occupiers of the land, but frequently to the labourers whom he had 
expected to employ during the season of manufacture. His factory, 
with its establishment, have been kept up at great expense ; the law does 
not even profess to afford him assistance, except to recover his advances, 
and even these he can never hope to obtain, in consequence of the 
poverty of the Ryots. During the delay necessary to procure the assist- 
ance of the Court, the season would pass away, and leave the planter 
perhaps wholly ruined. ***** 

" Of Allyghur, the Commissioner of the Moradabad division says, 
' So far as my experience goes, and it is founded on a residence of six 
years, in a district (Allyghur) filled with indigo planters, I have found 
the lower classes of the natives better clothed, richer, and more indus- 
trious in the neighbourhood of the factories than those at a distance ; 
and at the same time I cannot bring to my recollection a single instance 
of a native having suffered cruelty or oppression from an indigo planter 
or his servants.* " 


tenths of this is bheel land^ which is land on which in- 
dig'o is never sown. The planter aims at having- a pro- 
portion of various descriptions of soil^ so that; whatever 
may be the weather^ he may make an averag-e^ and have 
a chance of a g-ood crop. It is not^ therefore^ from any 
fear of losing* his best rice land that the Ryot can object 
to sow indig-o. 

Indig-o iS; no doubt^ like opium^ a precarious crop ; 
and one or two bad seasons may disg-ust a whole country 
side. But the same accidents happen to rice * Do we 
not in Eng-land hear every now and then of failures of 
the rice crops^ and wide-spread famine in Beng-al ? How 
often is the rice entirely ruined by inundation ? and how 
often has it happened that the "aous" rice^ or that 
g-rown on hig-h land — the only land on which indig-o and 
rice will both grow— is a failure ? We have known Ryots 
for several consecutive years^ realize less than a rupee 
and a-half from their aous paddy. In those years of 
famine the little indig*o patch is the plant which saves 
the poor Ryot^ and the factory is his only friend f 

This fact is forcibly confessed in that article in the 
Calcutta Review for January, 1847, from which we have 
before quoted. 

^' We will contrast/' says the writer, '' the condition of 

* The Ryots frequently lose their rice crop from long drought, too 
much rain, or an early and sudden inundation ; when they are obliged 
to sell their cattle, or ask assistance from the planters. 

t Whenever a Jumma or small holding of land becomes vacant in any 
of the villages, there are numerous petitions from new Ryots for the 
lands, — who invariably agree to sow a certain extent of land with indigo 
— upon condition of getting that Juinma. 

Also, when a property is bought by a planter with the power of 
measuring and re-assessing the lands, — in arranging a moderate assess- 
ment with the E-yots, they agree to sow a certain extent of the lands 
with indigo,— as the planter rehnquishes his fair profit from the property, 
for the consideration of the indigo cultivation. 


'^ a Ryot who sows both indig-o and rice with that of one 
^^ who confines himself solely to the latter. When the 
'^ rains fall too rapidly, and the rice crop is literally 
'^ drowned^ nothing* can be more pitiable than the state of 
^^ the cultivator of rice alone. His daily bread is g'one, 
^^ and he must sell his bullocks^ and steal, starve^ or earn 
^^ a precanous subsistence by taking* service, or by handi- 
'' craft. He is deeply in debt to the mahajun, or money- 
^^ lender^ and this worth}^ invariably commences to exact 
" his dues, by laying* hold of his oxen and his cows. But 
^' suppose the Hyot^ out of eig*ht beeg-ahs to have g*iven 
^^ up two to indig-o. His rice crop is g'one, and the indig*o 
^^ produce is only middhng", but still the ver}'^ dependence 
^^ on the factory is a relief. The very thing- which in a 
^^ g*ood season^ and in his old independent state, was his 
'' g-reat curse, in the evil day becomes almost a blessing*. 
'^ He may borrow, too, from the planter^ and the latter 
'^ will lend from feeling's in which interest certainly has a 
^^ larg*e share, but from which benevolence and honesty of 
^^ purpose is not wholly excluded. Althoug-h it may be 
^^ arg'ued that to lend to the Ryots only secures the 
^^ planter's hold over him, that in a few rupees given in 
^^ the time of want is an earnest of his sowino- two or 
^^ more additional beeg*ahs in March or April ', yet we 
^^ would willing*ly believe that there are men whose con- 
" duct in such instances is regulated by the compassion^ 
^^ the sincerity, and the kindness of Christians." 

What consequence i^ hat the man's motives may be ?~- 
he saves these people from starving*. Of course a planter, 
as well as a Lieutenant-Governor, or a Lieutenant-Go- 
vernor's secretary, has his natural feeling-s when his fel- 
low-creatures are dying* about him ^ but we venture to 
hope that, in addition to ^^ the compassion, the sincerity, 


and the kindness of a Christian/' he finds his own mer- 
cantile return in what he does. If he does^ he can repeat 
the acts^ and can do them upon a larg-e scale; if he does 
not^ no motives can enable him to bear up long* against 
the loss^ or to repeat that loss as the occasions recur. 
This is a hypocritical whine borrowed from the planters' 
bitter foes. When, to avoid public execration, they who 
never move a finger to help the native in his dire dis- 
tresses, and to whom in their chairs of office the salt Eyot 
in his agony looks in vain for " the compassion, the sin- 
cerity^ and the kindness of the Christian/' are oblig-ed to 
admire the planters' acts : they indemnify themselves by 
depreciating" his motives. But^ granting the worst that 
can be said, what must be the value to the rural districts 
of India of a class of men whose " interested" motives are 
admitted by their enemies to produce these results ? 

All crops are uncertain in a tropical country, where 
vegetation depends on rains and rivers : but it is not 
because indigo sometimes fails that the Hyot prefers rice. 

Nor is it because rice has been more remunerative. Let 
us examine this matter. We are speaking now^ be it 
remembered^ of the state of things two years ago. 

Indigo is sown with little trouble, and weeded for less : 
Avhen ripe, it is cut and brought to the factory^ sometimes 
by the Ryot, and sometimes by the factory. The same 
piece of land will require double the attention if cultivated 
for padd}^ In the rice cultivation weeding is laborious 
and expensive ; nor is the expense over with the reaping : 
the paddy must be threshed, and in many cases, when 
ready for market, it has to be made over to the mahajun 
at the rate of one and a-half to one and three-quarter 
maunds for every maund advanced a few months pre- 
viously. It must be remembered^ also, that fresh good 



rice is returned, probably^ for musty stuff that has been 
rotting" in the goIaJi. There are few planters who have 
not had paddy, Hterally black, broug-ht to them by the 
Eyots, and their interference sought to secure the boon of 
being allowed to return only one and a quarter maund of 
g-ood, for each maund of bad paddy received four months 
before, the price of good grain at both periods being about 
the same. Take a piece of land with the cold weather 
crop just off it, and the expenses for growing both paddy 
and indigo fairly set down, are about as follows : — 

Expenses of Aous 


Experoses of Indigo. 

Ploughing . 
Harrowing . 
Beeda ditto. 

. Rs. 1 8 


,, 2 

Weeding . 
Cutting^ . 

. Rs. 



Weeding . 
Cutting* . 
Threshing, &c. . 

„ 1 4 
„ 12 
» 4 

Carriage^ . 




Rent . 

„ 12 
„ 1 

Total „ 



5 12 

Let US suppose a full crop of both, say six rupees worth 
of paddy, and reckoning twenty bundles of indigo at 
four per rupee, five rupees for the indigo : the former 
thus leaves a balance of four annas ] the latter, of two 
rupees. The account will stand thus : -- 

* We reckon the money value of the sheaves allowed to the reapers. 

■j- Seed for rice — 15 seers per biggah is sown ; but the Ryot pays for 
double to the Mahajun. 

X In Watson's and some other concerns "cutting" is paid by the 

§ In some factories — indeed, in most — the carriage is paid by the 

II Rents. —On the banks of the Ganges, the rent of a beegah of land 
is only 6 to 8 annas for tvjo crops ; for indigo, 4 annas. 


Aous Taddy. 

Value of crop . . Rs. 6 

Cost of production . ,, 5 12 

Profit „ 4 

Value of crop . . Rs. 5 
Cost of production .,,30 

Profit „ 2 

We refer here to ^' aous ^' paddy^ viz. that sown on hig-h 
land suitable to indigo. The " ammon '^ is far more pro- 
fitable, and is sown in hheels^ &c., where indig-o cannot 


The contract* which is sig-ned, or otherwise authenti- 
cated on the advance being* made, is of the simplest kind. 
It is either for two or five years. It provides penalties 
in case of non-fulfilment, and in most cases sets out the 
boundaries of the land on which the indig'o shall be g-rown. 
The contract is entered in the factory books, and below 
the entry is jotted the Ryot's account for every year — 
cash paid and plant delivered ; the seed being- charg-ed 
at an unvarying* sum, which is seldom more than one- 

* Mr. Fresident.l Q. For what period of years is your contract ? 

A. The contracts are generally for three years, but are renewed every 
year on a fresh stamp. 

Mr. Temple.'] Q. Are these contracts duly filled in at the time the 
engagements are entered into ? 

A. No. The contracts are not filled up on the day the engagement 
is made, in the instance of every Ryot. The advances of a factory are 
generally made in two or three days : it would be an impossibility to 
write up these contracts within that time, and it is only with the engage- 
ment of the head Ryots that the contracts are filled up. 

Q. But then do the contracts of the subordinate or smaller Ryots 
remain unwritten ? 

A. Yes, they generally do ; very few are able to write, and it is con- 
sidered a mere matter of form. JV^o person has ever dreamt of taking a 
Ryot into court to recover his balance. 

Q. Do the stamp papers for these contracts remain in the factory ? 

A. It has been an infatuation that the planters laboured under, that 
redress could be had against a Ryot in a civil court, and they have kept 
up appearances by renewing their engagements with the Ryots on stamp 
paper. — Mr. Larmour's Evidence before the Indigo Commissioners^ 


fourth of the current price. It is true that the account 
is often embarrassed with the amount of loans advanced 
in times of dire necessity, to pay the pressing- Zemindar's 
rent, or to purchase bullocks to work their rice lands, or 
to recover their bullocks when they have been seized. 
These are the large items which bring* the E,yot into 
debt with the factory ; and the planter has lent the 
money, not entirely out of Christian kindness it must be 
admitted, but to prevent the man being- ruined by re- 
course to the native money-lender, and thus rendered 
unable to perform his indig-o contracts. Imag-ine then 
the consequence of removing* out of the rural districts of 
Beng*al (where capital is so scarce, and even a rupee is 
so larg*e a sum), an annual two millions of money thus 
employed ! Yet this is what Mr. Grant is now calmly 
contemplating* as the result of his ag-itation ! What shall 
we say of the intellect or of the honesty of purpose of a 
man who can premeditate such an act as this, and ask 
the Eng-lish Government to believe that his object is the 
advantage of the natives ! 

We must follow out the relations of the planter and 
Ryot to the vat ; and this harvest home has been so very 
well described in an article in the Calcutta Review for 
March 1858, that we cannot do so well as to borrow the 
writer's language, even at the expense of reiterating* some 
things we have before said. When the indigo is ripe for 
cutting, it is cut and carried, sometimes by the Ryot, 
generally by the planter's servants. In the former case 
" the Ryot brings his plant to the factory 3 the mohurrir^ 
'^ or rather the mohurrirs, for it is the general custom to 
" have two, write down the number of sheaves as counted 
^^ before the Ryot — the number which go to the bundle, 
^^ and the number of bundles. If the Ryot is not satis- 


^^ fied with the mohurrir's estimate, the sheaves are mea- 
^^ sured with the chain. The name of the Ryot to whom 
'^ the plant helong-s^ and the name of the boat-manjee^ or 
^' hackery man who broug-ht it to the factor}^, are Hkewise 
'' written. Each Eyot has the date and number of bun- 
^^ dies entered on a separate paper^ which he retains : 
^^ this is called a haat chitty. The haat chitty is brought 
'^ whenever its owner brings plant^ and the entries are 
^^ duly made day by day, ag^reeing*^ of course^ with those 
^^ in the amddnni, the book in which all the plant is en- 
^^ tered^ and which is written in dupHcate. When the 
'^ measurement of the plant is finished, one book is taken 
^^ to the superintendent^ or^ if there is none at the factory, 
^' it is sent to that at which he resides, and the other 
'' remains in the sherishta. Any one who has seen the 
^^ confusion in a neel cola when two or three hundred 
'' Ryots are delivering' plant, will allow that the mohurrir 
^' cannot conveniently make false entries at that time. 
^' The haat chitty ^ and the amddnni are checks one on 
'^ the other ; the duplicate amddnni is a check on both ] 
" for the Ryot is quite as willing* to connive with the 
" mohurrir to cheat the planter, as the mohurrir may be 
^^ to cheat either one or the other. When the manufac- 
^^ turing* is finished, the entries are written in a book, 
^' which is to the amddnni what the ledger is to the daily 
^^ cash-book. There is a page for each Ryot, which 
^^ shews the dates on which he brought plant, and the 
^^ quantity. This being done, the Ryots are called in 
'^ to settle their accounts, and v/hich, haat chitties in 
^' hand, they do. This is the plan pursued, and it ap- 
^^ pears one calculated to protect the Ryot far more than 
^^ the planter.'' 

Every thing seems here to be done to give the culti- 


vator his due. Of course the natives will cheat, and 
bribe, and quarrel, and bring* false accusations ag-ainst 
each other. Man}^ judges have reported it as a g-eneral 
proposition, that all accusations made by the police are 
inventions, with no other end than extortion. The planter 
cannot say much more for his native servants than that 
they are better looked after than the police, and are not 
so shamelessly corrupt as the judg-es' omlah. We are 
not claiming for the planter that he is a beneficent deity : 
we only assert of him that he is an honest man, doing* 
his best in a corrupt state of society, and doing better 
than the Government does. 

What we have to add to this statement of the relations 
of the planters and the Ryots will be by way of admis- 
sions, and we will make them as frankly and unreservedly 
as if we were stating- the strongest facts in favour of the 
cause for which we are seeking a hearing. 

Among the institutions which the British settler found 
in force in the interior were many jurisdictions analogous 
to those feudal rights once common in Europe.* The 
Zemindar was the lord of the manor. He had the power 
to summon his tenants to his courts, just as our lords of 
the manor had the power to summon their copyhold or 
freehold tenants to their manor courts to perform suit and 
service.! He had armed retainers, whom he employed to 

* In an article in the Calcutta Review for June 1847, Mr. Setou 
Karr, who drew up the Indigo Report, 1860, but had not then the 
influence of Mr. Grant so strong upon him, says — 

" To the Zemindars is due the invention of the Ifittial system. We 
" can affirm with the fullest confidence that it was not the device of the 
" planter ; that, left to himself, and with the prospect of fair dealing 
" and speedy justice, he would not thus have taken up arms in broad 
" daylight." 

t This has been taken away by special act of the Legislature, directed 
against the ''interlopers," but most grievously felt by the Zemindars, 


^ard him fi'om robbers^ and to serve him in his quarrels^ 
or, under the name of lattials, or stick-men, to punish his 
Ryots. All these privileg-es he used ag*ainst the settler, 
to make his Ryots refuse to gTow indig'o or to make them 
grow it, according as the settler propitiated him or set 
him at defiance. He also used his lattials to destroy or 
cut the patches of indigo for which the settler had ad- 
vanced money. Of course the settler was not long in 
following- this custom. He also hired a set of lattials for 
his own protection, and to neutralize the lattials of the 
bludgeon-men, and in trials of stick-play the Europeans 
soon got the better. In Kishnaghur and in all the 
indigo districts all this is quite gone out of fashion since 
the planters have leased the Zemindars' feudal rights. 
Even thirteen years ago Mr. Seton Karr referred to it 
as ^^ A Tale of the Past." At the present moment he 
and Mr. Grant, in the " Minute" and in the " Report," 
only insinuate the descent of these historic irregularities. 
They talk of lattials in Jessore just as a demag-ogue in- 
veighing against monarchy might talk of ship-money in 

So, also, the planter holding manors (or Zemindaries), 
by ^^ putnee" or permanent lease had succeeded to the 
reputed right of summoning the R3^ot to pay his rent, 
and make up his indigo account 3 and it must be admitted 
that, whether the planter has or has not the lease of the 
manor, he had at one time come to usurp this right, and 
to summon the Ryots to the house to make up his ac- 

This is what Mr. Grant calls '^ kidnapping." It is an 

whom it has crippled in their power of collecting their (and the Govern- 
ment's) rents. Government, however, retains its powers of selling and 
buying in, the whole Zemindary upon an instant's delay. 

E 2 


old Native practice. It is just as if an Eiig-lish land- 
owner sent out and made his farmers come to his audit, 
with this exception^ that an Eng-lish farmer neither re- 
quires or would submit to any such compulsion^ and the 
Beno-ali is used to it from time immemorial. But let us 
suppose that there was in Eng-land no remedy by distress^ 
no County Court^ no Civil Assizes^ no other remedy 
but a Chancery suit to recover the rent or arrears of 
a thousand small tenants — in fact no law at all — should 
we not^ think you^ have lattials and ^^ kidnapping" in 
Eng-land ? 

These " kidnapping's/^ when rare instances do occur, 
are a disgrace^ not to the planters, but to Mr. Grant and 
his class. Is it not monstrous^ under a civiHzed Govern- 
ment^ that a vast industry and a g-reat class of capitalists 
should be so outlawed that they should be driven^ in ex- 
treme cases, to do for themselves what the Government 
of the country ought to do for them ? Is it not a scandal 
that the planter has not the facility which the meanest 
Eng-lish ^' tallyman'' has^ that of summoning- his debtor 
before an honest unsuspected rural judg^e, and making- 
him make up his accounts^ or perform his contract 1 If 
it was not for the fact that a planter is one white man 
dwelling among 200,000 natives, the wonder would be^ 
not that now and then, a planter, under the sting of 
some aggravating fraud, is found to right himself, but 
that the law of the Mofussil is not habitually a rule of 
violence. Such a system could only have been delibe- 
rately invented in order to produce violence, and to com- 
pass the traditional pohcy of the East- India Company 
and their ^^ pucka civiHans.'' Mr. Grant, when he manu- 
factures his sneers out of stories a quarter of a century 
old, and recollects what short work he makes with his 

^^ kidnappings/* 69 

own salt and opium Eyots^ must wonder in his secret 
soul how the planters could have withstood the pressure 
he and his friends have put upon them for years 
long- past. 

However^ to account for an evil is not to justify it. 
There is no country where any violence is so much to be 
deprecated as in India^ for the execution must be dele- 
g-ated to natives^ who will be certain to conduct it in the 
worst manner. With a trustworthy police^ independent 
judg-es^ and a simple law, nothing* of the sort ever would 
occur. Such cases are, indeed, exceeding-ly rare. Mr. 
Grant is oblig-ed to recur to his imag-ination, or his Indian 
traditions, Avhen he wants a modern instance. But if the 
number were a thousand times g-reater^ the remedy is ia 
the hands of Mr. Grant. He has only to estabhsh effi- 
cient small- contract Courts in India, and to allow justice 
to take her course unterrified and unchecked, and the 
Ryot would have immediate remedy ag-ainst the planter, 
and the planter ag-ainst the Ryot. There is not the 
least reason why, if public disturbers, like this Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal, were kept from intermeddhng*, or 
were never trusted with public stations, and if the bless- 
ing- of cheap and speedy justice were distributed in India, 
as it is in Eng-land, — there is no reason, we say, why an 
indig-o plantation should not be as happy and peaceful as 
a model English parish, with a resident landlord and an 
attentive clerg-yman.* 

* Of course this assertion supposes that the peace of the country is 
kept, and equal protection is given by Government to all classes. We 
are not pretending that the antagonism of race will lie dormant in the 
case of indigo, or cotton, or tea, or silk, any more than in the case of 
Zillah Judges. 

. How long would the civilians be safe in the Mofussil if some superior 
power could say to the Zemindars and Ryots — " don't obey the autho- 
rities, we will protect you ?" How long would the Missionaries 


Such have been^ in times immediately antecedent to the 
accession of the present Lieutenant-Governor of Beng'al^ 
the deahng's betv/een the capitahst and the native labourer 
in Beng-al. When the mutinies broke out^ the g'ood re- 
lations of the Ryots and indig'o planters were very mani- 
fest. One of the conspicuous facts of the g-reat mutiny 
was the defence by Mr. Venables^ the indigo planter^ of 
the district of Azimg-hur^ after the Civil servants had all 
run away.* It was the g'ood understanding- kept up by 
the indig-o planters with the natives at Baraset which 
enabled Mr. Eden to hold his ground there^ giving him 
intelligence of a conspiracy to murder him^ and enabling 
him later to indulge in the luxury of an exemplary in- 
gratitude^ by exciting a social jaquerie among the indigo 
planters' debtors. It is a fact worth a thousand of Mr. 
Grant's inuendoes^ or his Secretary, Mr. Seton Karr's^ 
astute insinuations^ that during the time when the Com- 
pany's native judges were trying and sentencing Queen^s 
officers and Company's servants^ no indigo planter was 

remain in India if they were not backed and protected by Bri- 
tish bayonets ? The planters being now deserted by those who 
hold the bayonets at their command, are, as a matter of course, thrown 
into the power of a hostile race, who hate civilian, missionary, and 
planter in an equal degree, or perhaps the missionary the most and the 
planter the least. The mutiny gives conclusive evidence of the hatred 
borne by natives to all Europeans or indeed Christians — surely it is a 
very suicidal policy for one set of Enghshmen to ruin another in a 
foreign country, and even the thinking portion of the natives must 
laugh at the house divided against itself, and be full of hope that their 
time is coming to gain the ascendancy, when they see Mr. Grant at his 

* Very few of the Tirhoot planters did leave the district, and very 
few were even warned to leave. 

"When the Tirhoot planters were warned by the civilians to leave the 
district, they made over their factories to their native head-men, and on 
their return, they found the work had gone on steadily during their 
absence. This is another fact to shew the relation between planter and 
Byot, when the civilians do not interfere. 


murdered^ or even harmed. This fact has sunk deep into 
the minds of the British people, and even into the minds of 
the present generation of Civil servants. The fact realized 
all that Metcalfe and Bentinck had foretold, and there 
are now plenty of civilians to admit, even in their official 
reports, that if British settlers had been encourag-ed in 
India there would have been no rebellion.* Every thing- 
is subdued to the new reign of common sense^ and the 
postponement of class jealousies to the imperial good^ 
prceter atrocem animum Catonis. Grant, and his little 
surrounding of Civil lattials, are as they ever were ; or 
even as J. Jebb and J. Pattison were, when expostulating 
with George Canning against allowing Englishmen to go 
to India. 

So much for the normal relation of the planter and the 

* Wherever there were British settlers in any number, viz. : Sarun, 
Cbamparun, Tirhoot, and Lower Bengal, there was no rebellion. 




, A FEW words as to opium. Mr. Grant forces us to 
allude to it^ in order to demonstrate that his conduct to 
us is not an honest error^ or a delusion that he is bene- 
fiting- the Eyot when he ruins his employers. The most 
suspicious reader of this address will scarcely believe in 
any pretences to philanthropic motives which Mr. Grant 
may put forth, when he sees the character of the opium 
labour which Mr. Grant in his official capacity enforces^ 
and compares it with that which Mr. Grant has inter- 
fered to destroy. 

We do not labour the subject, because we are quite 
sensible to the fact^ that if indig-o could be proved to be 
a pernicious cultivation^ we should not justify its culture 
by proving" that opium is iiiore pernicious. 

But we are charging* conduct against Mr. Grant and 
those immediate subordinates whose acts he controls and 
rewards, which^ in our judgment, possibly prejudiced in 
such a matter, can only be explained by a deliberate in- 
tention to ruin every independent British interest in 
India, and to consummate the old traditionary policy of 
extruding all interlopers from India. 

We mention this word opium, then, not to justify the 
culture of indigo, for no one dreams that a harmless dye, 
employing labour, clearing the jungle, and spreading an- 
nually miUions of capital over the rural districts of Ben- 



gill, needs any justification ; but in order to shew the 
impossibility that a man can be honest when he pretends 
that he can see " forced labour" in the indigo factory, 
while he is himself the controller and director of the Go- 
vernment opium works. To the man who, with the 
beam in his own eye, soug-ht to pluck out the mote in his 
brother's eye, the apostrophe was, " Thou hypocrite !'' 

A few words, therefore, about opium. 

In the first place, no person within the Beng-al terri- 
tories is allowed to grow the poppy, except on Govern- 
ment account. 

Annual eng-agements are entered into by the cultiva- 
tors, under a system of pecuniary advances to sow a 
certain quantity of land with the poppy ; and the whole 
produce, in the form of opium, is delivered to the Govern- 
ment at a fixed rate. 

Opium requires the richest land. No crop in India 
requires so much care and labour as the cultivation of the 
poppy. The g-round has to be ploug-hed six or eight 
times, harrowed, well-manured, and watered. It was 
(Colebrooke in his Husbandry of Bengal states) an un- 
profitable crop for the Ryots, who were, however, tempted 
to engage in it ^^ only in consequence of the advances 
made by the Government agents." The poppy is a de- 
licate plant, peculiarly Hable to injury from insects^ wind, 
hail, or unseasonable rain. ^^ The produce'' (Colebrooke 
says) ^^ runs in extremes : while one cultivator is disap- 
^^ pointed, another reaps immense gain : one season does 
^^ not pay the labour of culture — another, peculiarly for- 
^^ tunate, enriches all the cultivators." 

The contracts for the cultivation are entered into with 
the Ryots in August or September, when the Ryots re- 
ceive their advance from the Government of four rupees 


per beeg-ah. The sowing's commence in November. The 
crop is collected in March or April^ when the account 
with the Ryot is finally settled^ on each man's produce 
being" delivered and weig-hed. 

The fixed price g-iven to the Ryot is 3^ Gd, or 1 rupee 
12 annas for every pound of manufactured opium deli- 
vered to the Government ag-ent : at least^ the above was, 
for many years, the fixed price 3 but a year ago the cul- 
tivation fell off so much, that Government had to make 
an advance to the Ryot of a few half-pence per pound on 
the fixed rate. 

When opium sells at 900 rupees per chest, it gives the 
Government equal to . . . lis Od per pound. 

Deduct from this paid to the Ryot, Ss 6d 

Leaving" for the Government . 75 6d per pound. 

But for some time past opium has been selling* at 
nearer 1800 rupees per chest, or double the above price, 
which gives to the Government, say 22s Od per pound. 

Deduct from this paid to the Ryot, 3^ 6d 

Leaving" for the Government, 186^ 6d per pound, 

or 600 per cent^ upon the cost price of the opium. 

No interest or commission is charg-ed on the advances 
made to the Ryots. The account of one season must be 
settled before the commencement of the next, and no out- 
standing" balance is allowed to stand over. 

If the cultivator neglect to bring sufiicient produce to 
cover his advance, the balance is at once recovered by 
legal meanSy by a summary process applicable to opium 
cases alone. 

As to the manner in which the opium Ryots are com- 
pelled to accept the advances, we may cite, for the public. 


opinion on the subject^ the official letter of Mr. Farqu- 
harson^ the opium ag'ent of Behar. He reports that^ 

"^ 23. The newspapers were at one time full of stories 
of the compulsory and oppressive nature of the opium 
cultivation. Gentlemen travelling" dak heard from their 
bearers stories of money being' thrown^ as opium advances^ 
into E,3^ots' houses^ and the Ryots thereby bound to cul- 
tivate countless fields of poppy at a ruinous loss to them- 
selves^ and that on refusal or remonstrance^ they were 
seized and carried off to the opium cutcherries^ and con- 
fined and beaten till their recusance was overcome." 

Of course Mr. Farquharson insists that the travellers 
had been '' imposed upon/' and Mr. Grant doubtless is 
incredulous as to these stories. Yet there are many very 
credible Europeans who can prove the facts just as the 
newspapers stated them. Mr. Grant seems to have read 
and believed these statements^ substituting '^ indig-o " for 
'' opium." 

Mr. Farquharson applied to the Eev. L. F. Kalberer 
to corroborate his report as to his view that the opium 
Ryots are not^ as stated, g-round to the earth by fiscal 
oppression and by countless hosts of Government spies, 
^he reverend gentleman answered the appeal^ but rather 
faintly^ and from his favourable testimony we are able to 
extract the following rather damnatory points in the 
evidence of a witness called to exculpate. He says — we 
take the admissions and omit the reverend gentleman's 
exculpatory evidence — • 

'^ There may be spies in the Abkaree Department in 
large towns. I have heard of such a things but am not 
certain of the facts^ that the Ryots should not smuggle it ] 
if there are^ notwithstanding it is smuggled, which enables 
the poorer class to eat it. 


'^ I may here be allowed to subjoin some common con- 
versations which we often had with the Eyots^ as they 
often have sat with us for hours^ and naturally religious 
conversations are first^ but others are also introduced^ for 
instance : — 

f^ Why do you sow opium ? — Because it enables me 
to pay my land rent and do other business with the 
money as wa g'et advance^ which is very convenient. 

'^ Do you sow it willingly ? — Because the Government 
wishes us to do so. 

" Are you compelled to sow it? — Yes. 

^^ By whom?— B}^ the Zemindar^ and sometimes by 
the ZiUahdar» 

" Why ? — He gets his land rent easily, and is profit- 
able to him. 

^^ But can you not give it up when you like ? — Yes, 
but I do not like to give it up, because the advances are 
very convenient, and we have not to pay interest of that 

" Are you compelled to sow opium ? — Yes. 

Others again — 

" If you were not, would 3^ou not sow ? — No. 

^^ Last February we were at Gya, one of our cartmen^s 
brother became our watchman 3 often these men praised 
their Zemindar very much for his kindness and care of 
his Eyots, — a very rare thing. Some years ago he or- 
dered all his Eyots of about twenty villages to cease 
opium cultivation ; they obeyed his order .'^ 

Such is the evidence obtained by an oj)ium agent seek- 
ing for testimony in favour of his masters. Is it not 
even stronger than any evidence that Mr. Grant has 
been able to obtain by a Commission seeking evidence 
against the indigo planter ? Mr. Grant's own evidence 

SALT. 77 

in favour of his opium is more damnatory to himself 
than his hostile and thoroug-hly contradicted evidence 
against indig-o is inimical to the system of indig-o cultiva- 
tion. Yet he professes to proclaim the country ag*ainst 
the indig-o manufacturer in the interest of the native? 
We ask ag-ain, is it possible that this can be an honest 
delusion ? 

While we are upon this matter of forced purchase by 
Government under a system of summary punishments, we 
oug^ht also to say something* upon 


In Beng-al the manufacture of salt is carried on^ on 
account of the Government by the system of pecuniary 
advances ; the parties advanced to being* bound to deliver^ 
at a fixed price^ all the salt manufactured. The salt in 
Beng-al is obtained by boiling- the sea-water. The manu- 
facturers are called Molung-ees : about 100,000 of them 
are eng-ag-ed on the Sunderbunds near Calcutta. 

The averag-e cost of production is 80 rujjees per 100 
maunds; or something- under one farthing- per pound^ 
while the Government sells it at an ^verag-e of one penny 
per pound. 

The native salt ag-ents were accused of being- great 
oppressors of the Molung-ees^ who were cheated in the 
weig-ht delivered : and being- reported to be short of the de- 
livery contracted for^ the native ag-ent made the conceal- 
ment of this a farther g-round of extortion. The native 
agent next makes use of the unfortunate Molung-ee as the 
medium of seUing- the concealed salt to the smug-g-lers. 

Interest was charged to him upon the advance. Once 


on the wrong- side, lie seldom got ag-ain on the right one : 
he hecame a bondsman for life when once indebted ; and 
^very Molung-ee so situated was made to believe that his 
children's children were bound for his debt to the Govern- 
ment. The native agents were responsible for keeping" 
a sharp look out upon these Molungees ; but many of 
them managed, notwithstanding, to make their escape^ 
indebted to the Government. The custom was for the 
native agent to screen himself by reporting to Govern- 
ment that all those who ran away had been carried 
off by tigers. 

There is not quite the same oppression now, the native 
agents being better looked after ; but, notwithstanding 
this the Molungees, or salt manufacturers^ are looked upon 
as the poorest class of labourers in all Bengal, much 
worse off than the Eyots under the most tyrannical 
indig'o planter of those old times when the Company 
managed to keep all out of the Mofussil but the most 
reckless adventurers who had fled from shipboard. 

Of late years opium figures at about five millions, and 
salt at about two millions sterling, in the revenue of the 
Indian Government. 

This matter of the Government Ryot and the planters' 
Ryot has recently been very well treated by the Calcutta 
Englishman J in dealing with the Indigo Report^ 1860. 
This newspaper says — 

" One of the charges brought against the planters is 
their neglect of observing the change taking place around 
them, the rise in value of all produce, whilst they did not 
pay the Ryots for the produce in proportion. The Indigo 
Commission report on this subject, and state it as a pri- 
mary cause of the dislike of the Ryot to the cultivation. 


We looked into the papers before us for any recognition 
on the part of the Government of these same sig-ns of the 
times^ and to discover if they had done justice to their 
Ryots by giving- them an advance in proportion to the 
rise in price of produce. We know that Government 
very tardily raised the price of opium to the Ryots in 
Tirhoot^ but we wished more particularly to see what had 
been done in the same country where the indigo Ryots 
had revolted against the low rates paid them by the 
planters. The Government then have not raised the rates 
paid to their Molungees, or salt Hyots^ one fraction he- 
yond what they paid Jive years ago — rise in price of rice 
notwithstanding. The value of land has risen^ of labour 
has risen^ and of indigo plant has risen_, but no rise has 
taken place to the Molungee/' 

^^ At Hidgelle the amount paid by Government to the 
Molungee in 1850 was six annas [ninepence] per maund 
(of eighty-four Ibs.)^ and the same rate continues up to 
1860^ seven annas being* paid to one division and six an- 
nas in the other. At Tumlook we have the same thing : 
in 1850 the price paid is seven annas^ and from 1857 a 
small rise by quarters of an anna yearl}^ up to 1860^ when 
the price remained at eight annas per maund. If we are 
to consider this as an advance of price of about fourteen 
per cent._, still it is nothing to the advance the planters 
have made in the same period of time. There is nothing 
more clearly shews the injustice of the Bengal Govern- 
ment to the planters than the statements here given of 
their conduct towards their own Ryots. A perwanna 
issued in the salt districts^ stating that the Molungees 
were not bound to manufacture salt unless they pleased, 
and that they could only be prosecuted in the Civil 



Courts^ would raise a disturbance quite equal to that ; 
which has occurred in Beng-al^ if not greater.'^* j 


* To avoid this disagreeable comparison, and, let us hope, in order to \ 

save these poor creatures from actual starvation, after which they could i 

produce no salt, Mr. Grant, it is said, is now about to raise the rates of ; 

the salt Ryots. We would even " willingly believe" that the Lieutenant- ' 
Governor had been influenced " by the compassion, the sincerity, and the 

kindness of a Christian," if he had not expended his Christian virtue ! 

upon exciting idleness among the indigo Ryots, while his own salt Ryots I 

were starving. ] 




In 1859, after the extinction of the rebellion, and per- 
haps owing- to the Eng-lish capital therein expended^ there 
was a g'eneral rise throug*hout Beng'al of the prices of 
labour and rice. 

What happens in England when corn g'oes down to a 
very low rate ? All the small leaseholders g-et suddenly 
dissatisfied. It is no long-er the little, normal matters of 
dispute, such as letting- the g-ates and homesteads g-et out 
of repair, selling- off hay, and bring-ing- on no manure, 
growing" more than the two reg-ular successive straw 
crops. The Eng-lish landowner has his little reg-ular diffi- 
culties of this sort, just like the Indian planter in his quiet 
times. But when corn g-ets very low, the discontents of 
these httle farmers of arable farms g*et serious. They 
talk, perhaps wdthout much meaning-, of throwing- up their 
leases j and they sometimes let the rent run in arrear. 
Above all, they cast a covetous eye upon the meadow- 
land and the pasture-land down by the river, when they 
mark the contrast between the hig-h price of meat and 
the low price of corn. 

This was just the case with the Ryots in 1859. There 
had been, as Mr. Larmour shewed the Calcutta Commis- 
sion the other day, several years of disastrous failure in 
the indig-o crops, while the rice crops had been thriving- • 
and the Ryots had got into arrears with the planter, and 


did not like the crop they were under contract to culti- 
vate. It was a critical condition of affairs, and especi- 
ally under a Government which has no available law of 

In the ordinary course of thing's, however^ the difficulty 
must have soon blown over. There would have been a 
great deal of talk^ and^ after some delay^ the planters 
would have seen^ as they have seen upon five former occa- 
sions^ that some concession must be made : and it would 
have been made. Our Eng-hsh plan in such case is to 
return a per centag-e for one year. That would not do in 
India^ where all is paid in advance^ even to the chickens 
which aire to come when the sitting- hen has hatched 
them^* and where nothing- that is once given can be taken 
back. The planter would have advanced the price a little ; 
he would have ag'reed to carr}^ the plant to the factory : 
one or two averag-e seasons would have broug-ht the Ryots 
up even with the factory^ as we have already seen hap- 
pened to Mr. Larmour's Ryots^ and matters would have 
jog-g-ed on ag-ain in their usual way. 

" My Ryots/' (said Mr. Larmour^) ^^ have always 
^^ worked with me freely and cheerfully^ and unless^ when 
f^ misled or instig*ated ag-ainst me^ as in the present sea- 
" son^ they have alwa3^s been g-lad to meet me when I 
^^ visited their villag-es, and to point out with pride their 
^^ indig-o cultivation." 

Unhappily^ however^ there was at Baraset one of those 
very energetic civilians in whose e^^es the planter, but 
especially the planter's cutcherry, is an abomination. The 
planter, in his arbitration court, has more than all the crimes 
laid to his charge which Shy lock alleged against Antonio. 

* Mr. Larmour's Evidence before Indigo Commission, ISCO. 


.Not only does he lend money without usury^ but he does 
justice between the llyots in their own quarrels^ without 
taking fees or consuming starnjis, and by his illeg-al and 
voluntary court of arbitration^ he diminishes the import- 
ance and the supremacy of such civilians as Mr. Eden. 
Now was the time, to send a shot rig-ht between wind and 
water into the whole class of such interlopers. 

Mr. Eden at once took advantag-e of this happy oppor- 
tunity^ and^ as magistrate of Baraset^ he^ on the 17th 
Aug-ust^ 1859. wrote a letter to his native deputy-mag'is- 
trate^ '^ for his information and g"uidance.^^ He called to 
his attention that "the ll^^ot is at liberty to sow any crop 
he likes/' and that " where contracts or promises may 
be admitted^ there may still be many irresistible pleas 
to avoid the consequences the planters insist upon." 

Imagine the effect of a mag^istrate volunteering this 
false and dishonest counsel to an excited and discontented 
population^ already trying* to force the planters out of 
their contracts. Was any more execrable advice ever 
g-iven ? Will the reader of these pag-es believe that a 
magistrate, a Christian man^ and English g-entleman^ 
could publicly inform a population of pag'ans that al- 
thoug'h their contracts or promises mig'ht be undeniable^ 
yet they were not bound by their promise or contract, 
but were at liberty to sow any crop they liked ? We 
laug'h to scorn Mr. Eden's subterfug-e, as to whether the 
contracts had or had not a clause of rig-ht of entry. This 
was what he intended the Eyots to understand, what he 
knew the R3^ots would understand, and what the Eyots 
did understand— namely, that the Government wished the 
indigo contracts to be thrown up and the indigo manu- 
facture abohshed. 

The native deputy-magistrate naturally turned this 



letter into a proclamation^ and posted it all over the dis- 
trict of Baraset.* 

We should seek in vain for any parallel case in this 
country. If some frenzy had seized the British farmers 

* This is the letter:— 

" To Baboo Hemchunder Kur, 

" Depy. Magistrate Kalarooah Sub-Division, 

*' Sir, — As the cultivation of indigo is carried on to a considerable 
extent in your sub-division, I beg to forward you, for your information 
and guidance, extracts from a letter. No. 4516, dated 21st July 1859, 
from the Secretary to the Government of Bengal to the Commissioner 
of the Nuddea Division. 

" You will perceive that the course laid down for the police in indigo 
disputes is to protect the Ryot in the possession of his lands, on which 
he is at liberty to sow any crop he likes, without any interference on the 
part of the planter or any one else. The planter is not at liberty, under 
pretext of the Ryot having promised to sow indigo for him, to enter 
forcibly upon the land of the Ryot. Such promises can only be produced 
against the Ryot in the Civil Court, and the magisterial authority have 
nothing to do with them, for there must be two parties to a promise, and 
it is possible that the Ryots, whose promises or contracts are admitted, 
may still have many irresistible pleas to avoid the consequence the 
planter insists upon." 

This is the proclamation :— 

'* Translation. 

" To the Darogah of Thannah Kalarooah. Take notice. — A letter 
from the Magistrate of Baraset, dated the 17th August, 1859, having 
been received, accompanied by an extract from an English letter from 
the Secretary to the Government of Bengal, to the address of the Com- 
missioner of the Nuddea Division, dated 21st July, 1859, No. 4516, to 
the following purport, that in cases of disputes relating to indigo Ryots 
they shall retain possession of their own lands, and shall sow in them 
what crops they please, and the pohee will be careful that no indigo 
planter nor any one else be able to interfere in the matter, and indigo 
planters shall not be able forcibly to cause indigo to be sown on the 
lands of those Ryots on the ground that the Ryots consented to the 
sowing, &c., of indigo. If Ryots have so consented, the indigo planter 
may bring an action against them in the Civil Court. The Criminal 
Court has no concern in these matters, because, notwithstanding such 
contractSy or such consent withheld or given. Ryots may urge unan- 
swerable excuses against the sowing of indigo. A copy of perwannah 
is therefore issued, and you are requested in future to act accordingly. — 
Dated 20th August, 1859.'' 


to grow no more straw crops until protection had been 
restored, and a Conservative ministry — we beg* pardon of 
that gTeat party for so injurious a supposition — were to 
issue a proclamation^ setting* forth that the farmers would 
be protected by the whole force of the police in carrying" 
out their project^ and reminding the mag-istrates that there 
Avas no remedy to make them sow except a suit in Chan- 
cery for specific performance of their ag-reements, which 
of course was, as ag-ainst thousands of faprmers, inopera- 
tive ; — if such a proclamation as this had been put forth, 
at a moment when the people were excited by causes 
arising" from the fluctuation of prices, might it not even 
in Eng'land have produced a very frig^htful disaster ? and 
can there be any doubt that when the nation returned to 
its senses the madmen who had so misused their power 
would be impeached ? But even this violent supposition 
can g-ive no idea of the consequences of such a document 
as we have just set forth, disseminated in a country ac- 
customed to despotic institutions: among* a race habituated 
to look up to the Government as the irresistible and un- 
appeasable tyrant before whom even the white settlers are 
but dust, and at whose breath licenses are recalled, 
planters disappear fi*om their places, and districts of re- 
claimed jungie go back to bulrushes. The subtle Asiatic 
mind is always ready to jump at a meaning- beyond what 
is expressed in the rough lang-uag'e of the crass Western, 
But if the Beng-ali had scanned it never so closely, what 
could he have made out of this proclamation, except that 
the '^ Sircar" had determined to turn the Europeans out 
of the Mofussil, and were desirous that no more indig-o 
should be sown ? Hedg*e it around with what nice dis- 
tinctions you may, if you come down to an excited class 
of cultivators under agreements to sow, and volunteer to 


them a promise that they shall sow what they like^ and 
that^ as to their ag-reements, they can only be enforced in 
the Civil Courts^ and that many irresistible pleas ma}^ set 
them aside even when admitted — what can a native under- 
stand from this, except that you w4sh to put an end to 
indig'o J and that he is not only emancipated from his 
ag'reementS; but that it will offend the Government, and do 
no ^ood to any one, even if he should carr}^ them out.^' 

* Mr. Larmour's evidence upon this subject is as follows ; — 
Mr. Sefon Karr.'] Q. You are aware that a dishke to the cultivation 
of indigo has been generally manifested in some districts this spring, and 
that in some concerns the Ryots distinctly refuse to sow in spite of per- 
suasion, and with the consequences of the summary law (passed for six 
months, and now expired) before them : will you give the Commission 
your opinion as to the causes of this dislike and mutiny? 

A. The present spirit of the Ryots, especially in the district of Kish- 
naghur, has been caused, in the first instance, by a perwannah issued by 
the Magistrate of Baraset, telling the Ryots of that concern that they 
were at liberty to sow indigo or not, and if the planter attempted to 
enforce it, he must have recourse to the Civil Court. The effect of such 
perwannah could only have been construed into the meaning that it was 
the Magistrate's wish that the Ryots should not sow indigo, and the 
effect of this perwannah was that the Ryots not only refused to sow 
indigo, but they did not pay their rents. This perwannah was again 
followed up by the Magistrate of Baraset sending extracts of a letter 
from the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal to Mr. Grote, Commissioner 
of the Nuddea division, which extracts were translated into Bengali, and 
a perwannah sent round to the thannahs of the suh-division of Kullarooa, 
telling the Ryots again that they were at liberty to sow indigo, or not, 
as it suited them. These pe^^wannahs had the ejfect of rousing all the 
Myois throughout the Kishnaghur district y and inducing them to attempt 
to break their engagements. These per wannahs were followed up by a 
letter from the Secretary to Government of Bengal to the Commissioner 
of the Nuddea division, finding fault with the conduct of the Magistrate 
and Deputy Magistrate of Nuddea, in cases in which indigo planters 
were concerned, and which led the natives generally to believe that the 
Jjieutenant- Governor of Bengal was strongly prejudiced against indigo 
and indigo planting. The Ryots, labouring under the belief that they 
would receive the support of Government in not fulfilling their engage- 
ments, beame very daring, and attacked and maltreated Europeans 
when riding about the country. A petition was presented through the 
Commissioner of Nuddea by myself, dated 4th February last, begging 
for the immediate interference of Government to counteract the irapres- 


Tell any class of men that they may pay their debts or 
not as they please^ and what would be the consequence ? 
Is it possible that we have to arg'ue this before an im- 
partial public^ and that firebrands who have^ for wanton- 
ness^ or vanity^ or esprit de corps, put such tremendous 
interests at peril^ should be retained in posts of authority 
by a rational people ? At the cost of how many millions 
do the people of Engiand think they keep this Mr. Eden 
in office ? How many rebellions^ and the loss of how 
many millions of trade^ shall we cheerfully underg-o for 
the pleasure of having Mr. J. P. Grant's favorite in power 
in Beng'al? 

No sooner had these perwannahs issued^ than^ g-radually 
and surely, the word passed through the plains, that^ in the 
words of Mr. Larmour^ ^^ Government was determined to 
crush all European interest in the country." The conse- 
quences were not doubtful. It is not only the Bengali 
who will kick the falling. The natives laughed at their 
arrears^ as they were much in the habit of doings but they 
also laughed at their agreements for the coming season. 
The feeling began to grow. Europeans^ as they rode 
about^ were insulted, and a little more delay^ and Mr. 
Eden's proclamation would be followed out by a murder 
or two. A petition to the Government met with no at- 
tention whatever. There was a jaquerie rising. Mr. 
Eden had gaily raised it^ but Government probably never 
opened the despatches which announced it. It was a very 
light matter for Mr. Eden— a mere rustic rising, quite 
harmless to Mr. Eden^ with his fortified gaol and his 

sion that the Ryots had received from the reports that had been circu- 
lated, and the perwannahs that had been issued. iVb notice whatever 
was taken of mi/ representation, and when a notification was issued to 
disabuse the Ryots' minds, it came too late, and had no good effect." 


88 ME. eden's jaquerie. j 


armed guard ; but very unpleasant to planters dwell- 
ing alone in open houses^ and with a population about ; 
them impressed with the belief that Government wanted to | 
g-et rid of the interlopers once for all^ and that their fac- ! 
tories might be had for the sacking. More wonderful ] 
even than the safety of the planters during the mutinies \ 
is the fact that the Kyots resisted this temptation as | 
they did. \ 

This is the sort of excitable people^ ready to believe that 
even a dog in high office must be inspired, whom Mr. j 
Eden, at a critical moment, let loose upon the indigo : 
planters of Bengal. That nothing should be wanting to | 
keep up the behef of the people, fast and furious came j 
missives to the same purpose. There were letters from the I 
Secretary of Government, in the Eden vein. The storm i 
was beginning to howl. Magistrates and Civil servants 1 
in the neighbourhood, men who knew the districts and the j 
magnitude of the impending peril, were censured, or re- | 
moved, because they dared to report against Mr. Eden's j 
proceedings. Sir F. Halliday had, unhappily, at that ' 
moment been succeeded by Mr. J. P. Grant, as Lieute- 
nant-Governor of Bengal. : 

Mr. Eden's perwannahs were issued on the 20th of ] 

August 1859, and had been immediately made the object i 

of loud remonstrance. , 

The Commissioner, Mr. Grote, an officer of great ex- 
perience and judgment, saw at once the danger of these j 
proclamations ; and being Mr. Eden's immediate superior, ■ 
he condemned his conduct and reversed his decisions. j 
Mr. Eden appealed to the Lieutenant-Governor of ; 

The Lieutenant-Governor took time enough for deli- 
beration, and on the 7th April, 1860, Mr. J. P. Grant ] 


condescended to say that he was of opinion that Mr. 
Eden had g'iven a satisfactory explanation. 

A few days previous to this last date, Mr. Grant, 
jealous of the laurels of his subordinate, had published, 
as a Government document, a letter from himself to Mr. 
Sconce, containing- this sentence : — 

'^ I am myself of opinion that the indigo cultivators" 
(meaning" the Eyots) '^ have and long* have had g-reat and 
increasing* g-round of just complaint against the whole 
system of indigo cultivation." 

The planters have nothing to do with Mr. Grant^s opi- 
nion. But whatever may be a man's prejudices, whether 
he be opium manufacturer or not, no honest man could 
read the papers in Mr. Grant's own office, or even the 
small part we have quoted, nor could he even hold his ears 
open to notorious facts, and say, whatever may be " the 
grounds of complaint against the whole system of indigo 
cultivation," that those ^^ grounds of complaint" are now 
" upon the increase." Every man, however, has a right 
to his opinion, sensate, or insensate. What we denounce 
as an atrocious act, tending directly to confusion and 
bloodshed, is the publication of this '^ opinion," without in- 
quiry and without jurisdiction, at such a moment as this, 
when the whole trade, and the capital of that trade, and 
perhaps, also, the lives of the British settlers, and the 
peace of the country, hung upon a thread. 

What, we ask the people of England, who will certainly 
have to pay for all wars which their officials may wan- 
tonly provoke — what could be the object of a man who, 
with his salt Byots starving on one side of him, and his 
opium Byots driven to their forced labour on the other 
side, turns to the indigo Ryots, with whom he has no 
official connexion whatever, and advises them to oppose 


^^ the whole system of indig-o culture ?" Can we assign 
it to any other motive than a desig'n to extirpate the in- 
dig-o planter from India ? 

The planters then went up to the Leg-islative Council^ 
and stated the urg-ency of the dang-er ; and the Council 
recognised that urg-ency. The planters asked a very 
simple boon. They only desired a temporary measure 
g-iving* a summary remedy to enforce existing- indigo con- 
tracts. It was not wanted to put Ryots in prison^ and 
it was to a very slight deg-ree put in force j but it was 
wanted as an authentic declaration of the Government of 
the country against those two g-reat official agitators^ Mr. 
Eden and Mr. Grant. It was wanted as a counter pro- 
clamation to the perwannahs of Baraset. It was wanted 
as a disavowal of Mr. Grant's proscription of the indig-o- 
culture^ and of the Hon. Ashley Eden's ^^ satisfactorily 
explained'' perwannahs. 

For the poison was brewing, and from that time to 
this it has gone on spreading and infecting the whole 
population of Bengal. Almost every day since his first 
sweeping denunciation of the indigo manufacture, Mr. 
Grant has been able to publish some new manifestation 
of discontent and disorder in the Mofussil. The strange 
thing is, that the man actually seems to think that these 
crimes, which are as much his own as if he committed 
them with his own hands, are rather feathers in his cap. 
He has nursed up a rebellion, and he is now twitting the 
planters with the dangers they run, after he has hallooed 
the natives upon them. It is quite true that, under the 
presumed protection of Mr. Grant, the Ryots will not 
work out their advances, and are looting the factories, 
and ill-treating the planters ; in some instances threaten- 
ing their lives, and very generally refusing to pay to Mr. 

MR. grant's triumphs. &1 

Grant's enemies even their rent.* The last phase of 
Mr. Grant's jaquerie is that the Eyots have got to the 
point of refusing" to pay rents to native Zemindars as 
well as planters. 

This is a pleasant spirit to have conjured up just as 

* See the official Report of Mr. Reid, the Commissioner for Rajshahye 
division. It must sound to Mr. Grant like a song of victory. 

" It is to the next sowing season, now imminent, that the most earn- 
est attention of the authorities must now he directed. The Ryots of 
most of the concerns in Pubna have expressed their determination not 
to sow any more indigo, and where the planter is also Zemindar, they 
have now proceeded, m some paj'ts, to attempt to avoid the punctual 
payment of their rents by offering to deposit them with the collector. 
Their avoived reason is to avoid having to pay unauthorised cesses, but 
the real reason, I believe, is, that they may be enabled to break off all 
connection whatsoever with the factory. 

" The magistrate reports that there is a very strong combination 
amongst the Ryots to break off their connection with indigo, and that 
one Mohesli Chunder Bundopodhya, an inhabitant of the Nuddea dis- 
trict, is the prime mover in it. The Ryots are much excited, and, 
although perhaps not intentionally seeking to break the peace, a breach 
of it may, I concur with the magistrate in thinking, b^ brought about 
at any moment by an accidental collision. Every endeavour must be 
made to prevent this occurring, and measures have been taken to bind 
down Mohesh Chunder Bundopodhya who, there seems strong grounds 
to suppose, will incite a rupture. 

" Mr. Hampton, of Salgamodia, has already been hound down (///) 
together with his factory Naib. Mr. Hampton is the manager of Mr. 
Kenny's factories, the excitement in which is far greater than elsewhere. 
He assured me that it was his intention to abstain most carefully from 
doing any thing which might lead to a rupture. He expressed a fear, 
at the same time that, not only would the factories he closed, hut also 
that he would he unable to collect his rents, and that his estates would 
he hrought to the hammerJ** 

The consummation of this last expectation would make Mr. Grant's 
work very complete. If Mr. Grant can stop the payment of rents, the 
game is his own. If the planter caimot gather his rents he cannot pay 
the Government, and there is no difficulty of civil forms about their 
remedies. They sell the whole property at once for what it will fetch : 
the old plan was to sell it at about one-hundredth part of its value, and 
buy it up for the Company. Mr. Grant may intend to use this tradi- 
tional device, and to sell up the planters, as his predecessors sold up 
the old princes of India. 

92 MR. gbant's triumphs. 

the Government is ^oing into these districts to collect 
Income Tax ! 

Yet the Lieut.- Governor actually luxuriates in this. 
Here is a letter just published by the Government in 
Calcutta. It is a picture of the interior. The Lieut. - 
Governor here shews us how the Bengali pranks, when 
Mr. Grant has relieved him from all his obligations and 
all his duties. The letter is from Mr. E. Hoberts, of 
Commercolly, to the assistant magistrate of that station. 
It details the experience of an exceedingly respectable 
planter during these disturbances ', but the odd thing is 
that Mr. Grant should publish it. 

^^ In the month of July last/' says Mr. Hoberts, ^' an 
influential Jotedar of Mirzapore village, named Harran 
Joadar, forcibly took away some ^ paddy' belonging to 
one Baramdy Sheik of Durrumparah, who complained 
to me. I advised him to institute a case against Joadar 
in the Fouzdarree Court at Commercolly, which he did. 
I gave the man what assistance I could, and desired my 
Mooktear to look after his rights in Court. After the 
complaint was lodged, Harratf Joadar came to me at 
Benepore, and requested me to force Baramdy to ^ rajee- 
nama' the case. I refused, and the next day the work 
of Benepore factory was very nearly stopped by the in- 
fluence of Harran, who induced the Eyots not to cut 
indigo. Seeing this, and rather than that Messrs. Wm. 
Moran and Company should lose their fine crop of in- 
digo, I so far yielded to the wishes of Joadar, that I 
withdrew my support from Baramdy. Very soon after- 
wards, the latter was intimidated by the former into 
withdrawing the suit. 

^^ Seeing' the success of Harran Joadar, one Habiz- 
ooUah Kazee of Kachakole village, who had long had his 



eye on a jumma belong-ing to one OofatooUah^ requested 
me to take it forcibly from its rightful owner^ and to g-ive 
it to him (Habizoollah). I refused, and again my Bene- 
pore factory was on the point of being closed by the 
machinations of Harran Joadar and Habizoollah. My 
fair and liberal dealings, however, with the Ryots, and 
the exertions of some of my head servants, kept the 
Ryots to their engagements for some time longer, until 
three men from Arzool village, Petumber Ghose, Obatah 
Hazra, and Sreeram Ghose, appeared on the scene. 
These men were at enmity with me because I had gained 
an important cause against them in the Civil Court. 
They had brought a false claim against this concern for 
some valuable property, which case Mr. Seton Karr dis- 
missed. To revenge themselves upon me, or to force me 
to abandon some of the property they claimed, they took 
advantage of the insurrection in Kishnaghur, which was 
inflaming men's minds everywhere, and put themselves 
at the head of a combination against me. They made 
common cause with Harran Joadar, Denoo Kazee, and 
others (whom I can mention if necessary), collected many 
hundred of Ryots together, and harangued them on the 
subject of the indigo disturbances. I need not mention 
the particulars of all the arguments they used, but their 
talk, their persuasions, and their threats, were listened 
to, and the Ryots were on the point of revolt, when the 
seizure of two of the ringleaders for the present stopped 
further mischief. 

^^ The bad seed, however, had been sown, and the 
i'iends of the three ringleaders were not idle. Plots 
were being planned 3 and, almost immediately after Pe- 
tumber and Sreeram Ghose were released from Commer- 
£olly on security, the country became in a blaze. On 

94 MI?, grant's triumphs. 

the 3rd or 4th instant I was prevented from cuttmg- my 
indig'o in the villag*es where the Ghoses had influence. 
My indig-o servants were driven from their work, or kept 
in durance. My rent cutcherry was looted, my servants 
staying in the cutcherry were also hound and carried qff^ 
and for the 'present I am completely out of possession of 
my talook property, 

^' As I have fortunately g*ot throug-h my manufac- 
turing* without much loss, I should be content to let 
matters take their course^ and allow them to come round 
in their own g-ood time^ for personally I am not now 
much concerned in what the people in their madness are 
doing". If they do not sow indig-o^ I have no wish that 
they do so 3 and as for their not paying* me their rents, 
I am willing' to trust to what the law can do for me. 
But I do not think it consistent with my duties as a 
member of society, as an Eng-lish subject, to be silent 
under circumstances which my Mofussil experience and 
my local knowledg*e tell me may lead to g-reat disasters. 
The disaffection is spreading- fast. Many Ryots came 
to me this morning-, saying-, that last nig-ht agents of 
Petumber Ghose and Sreeram Ghose had been persuad- 
ing- them and threatening- them to join in the conspiracy. 

" That I have above represented the true state of 
affairs I g-ive you my word as a g-entleman. I have 
considered it my duty to do so ; and if you think my 
communications are worth receiving-, I will continue to 
inform you of what may come under my notice." 

Even Mr. Grant will not say, because he cannot say 
without immediate contradiction, that Mr. Eoberts had 
by tyrannical treatment given any pretence for these 
kidnapping-s, and looting's, and combinations. In this 
letter, which Mr. Grant has published as an official 


paper^ to shew the planters what he has been able to 
accomplish for their ruin^ Mr. Roberts beg-s Mr. Harris, 
the assistant- mag'istrate, to inquire and report upon the 
truth of the statement he makes. He says — 

" Before informing* the higher authorities of certain 
facts that have come to my notice, I wish to mention 
some of them to you, that you may make inquiries as 
to the truth of them, and report upon them should you 
think it necessary to do so. In addition to what I may 
state, I will most g'ladly answer any questions that may 
be put to me by you. 

" When I took charge of these concerns in October 
last, I was most particular in ascertaining" personally 
from the Ryots whether they had any causes of com- 
plaint. What grievances they had, or pretended to have, 
I redressed fully. I settled their rent complaints to 
their satisfaction, paid them higher rates for their ploughs 
when they used them for my Neezabad cultivation, in- 
creased considerably the price for their indigo plant, for 
the cutting', boating, and carting of their indigo, and, in 
short, left them no grounds whatever to be dissatisfied 
with their business connection with this concern. They 
were well satisfied, and worked cheerfully and readily at 
every thing' connected with their indigo operations. I 
dwell particularly upon this part of my letter, and heg 
your attention to it. It is a most important point to be 
considered, for until the cause of the present state of the 
country be known and acknowledged, the true remedy 
cannot be applied. That the cause, in this concern, does 
not arise from dislike to indigo I have above asserted, 
and an important proof of the truth of my assertion is, 
that from October to within the last few days no com- 
plaint was ever made against me or my servants by any 

96 MR. grant's triumphs. 

indigo Eyot. When it is considered how close my lands 
are to Magoorah^ Commercolly^ Khoksa^ &c._, and that 
no complaints were made^ I hold that this circumstance 
itself is a prima facie proof that the Ryots had nothing* 
to complain of. It is well known^ that for the last twelve 
years this concern has had no power to force cultivation^ 
and that indigo w^as sown solely upon the good-will of 
the Eyots. The concern had no power to prevent Ryots 
from complainings and still with sub-divisions^ and stations 
within hail of my villages^ the records of the Courts shew 
nothing against me. The enmity now suddenly dis- 
played against this concern is^ therefore^ altogether with- 
out cause." 

Such is the state immediately brought about by Mr. 
J. P. Grant in a peaceful province^ after only a few 
months misgovernment. 




We have seen that Mr. Grant had now brought the 
indig-o districts to the verge of a rebellion against all laws 
of property of every description^ and that the Supreme 
Council had been compelled to interfere by a temporary 

This Act provided that Ryots^ who had received advances 
upon their agreements to cultivate indigo during the cur- 
rent season of I860, should fulfil those agreements : that a 
Ryot not fulfilling his agreement should forfeit five times 
the amount advanced and five times the value of the 
seed ; and that Ryots preventing others by force or inti- 
midation from sowing indigo, or destro3ang the crop, 
should be punished by fine and imprisonment. 

There was every reason to —what shall we say ? hope 
or fear ? — that this Act w^ould restore order, and undo all 
that had been done. The Ryots were returning to the 
conclusion that the Government were not so much in 
earnest in the enterprise of driving away the planters ; 
and that the arrears due to the factories for advances and 
loans to pay rent and buy bullocks were not to be wiped 
oiF. There was a doubt whether Mr. Grant and Mr. 
Eden, in their cave of Abdullah, would be found a safe 
refuge for every fraudulent debtor after all. The Ryots 
began to return to the interrupted negociations for a new 
arrangement of prices. They said, " If the Government 
does not wish us not to sow of course we must sow." Grum- 



Wing" at the Government for deceiving* them b}^ a false pro- 
mise of the division among* them of the eig'ht milHons of 
indig-o propert}^^ they were preparing to sow their indig-o 
lands as usual. 

Mr. Grant was for a moment checkmated. The " (jens 
inimica mlM^ seemed to be safe ; and for a moment he did 
not see the way to conjure up a new storm. He soon, 
however, recovered his presence of mind, and he violently 
restored the former confusion, by abrog-ating* the law and 
intimidating" or removing* the magistrates. We cannot 
dive into Mr. Grant's mind ; we can only judge the 
motives of men by their acts ; and his acts were those 
of a man whose projects had been baffled, and whose 
victims were escaping. Our difficulty is, that the English 
public will find it almost impossible to believe, that in the 
present age any head of a department could do ^^ hat Mr. 
Grant now did, or that even an Indian officer could dare 
to interfere with the Act of Council, and with the course 
of justice. We do not complain that in choosing the ma- 
gistrates who were to perform the judicial functions under 
the Act, Mr. Grant chose men of his own way of think- 
ing, so far as he could find them. But having chosen 
the magistrates, we had a right to expect that he should 
content himself by sending them out with the Act in their 
hands to do their duty. Instead of this he sent them 
forth with a special instruction and a very ominous threat. 
His instruction is a warning not to put the Act in force. 
He recounts to them the hardships which they have power 
to inflict upon the Kyot in that they can now decree 
^^ specific performance" of the contract ; and he specially 
directs them to administer the Act upon ^^ equitable 
principles.^' Mr. Grant's own inconceivable ignorance of 
the rudiments of any civilized judicature appears incon- 
testably from this. He calls the duties of these officials 


— which were to punish statutable offence by fine or im- 
prisonment—" the trial of equity suits/^* 

Imag-ine a young- g-entleman of the Civil Service told 
to administer an Act of Parliament upon equitable prin- 
ciples ! With average intellig-ence and honesty of inten- 
tion^ which they nearly all shewed themselves to possess, 
these young* men mig-ht have seized the plain meaning* 
of a plain Act of legislature ; but how were they, or how 
could Mr. Grant read this Act by the application of 
those " principles of equity," which still puzzle the sages 
of Westminster Hall ? And what on earth have the 
'' principles of equity'^ to do with a plain enactment, which 
says that a man who has had his wages shall do his work, 
and that if one man prevents his comrade from doing his 
work he shall be punished for his interference 1 

Of course Mr. Grant meant by " principles of equity," 
his own known desires ) and lest the magistracy should 
be slow to comprehend, he added this threat if " These 
^^ powers and the opportunity of acting upon them must not 
^^ he retained for a day in the hands of any officer who may 
'^ shew himself not competent to exercise them in such a man- 
" ner as to do full and ample justice to all par ties J^ Every 
magistrate could guess what this meant, and no one was in 
ignorance of what Mr. Grant meant when he talked of 

* See par. 23 of Mr. Grant's Minute, in answer to the Planters* 
Petition against him. 

f The planters, in their Petition, allude to this as a threat, and Mr. 
Grant, in his reply, says — "This is a misrepresentation." It is not 
usual in political controversy thus curtly to give the lie. Since the Civil 
Service are, according to the Report of the House of Commons Coloni- 
zation Committee, " the nobility of India," we might suggest to Mr. 
Grant that — noblesse ohlige. There is nothing for it but to return the 
contradiction and submit the proof. We have now quoted the passage 
of his letter, and we shall shew how severely the "threat" was ful- 
filled. AVe ask the English public to judge who has been guilty of 
" misrepresentation," — this rather unmannerly minister or his remoU' 
strating victims. 



^^ substantial justice/' as disting-uished from leg'al justice, 
between a Eyot and a planter. 

But lest there should still be any chance of this Act 
being- allowed to be put in force^ Mr. Grant, finding* that 
the Act allowed no appeal in these cases^ supplied one of 
his own authority. He sa3^s^ in par. 6 of his circular 
letter—" As the legislature allows no appeal from the de- 
cisions of officers vested with powers under this Act^ it 
becomes doubly incumbent on commissioners to keep them- 
selves constantly informed of the manner in which these 
officers discharg-e the very difficult responsible duty now 
imposed upon them^ and of the principles hy which they 
are guided in their decisions J' 

This was tolerably strong*. It was a violent and illegal 
subordination of the judicial officers of the country to the 
revenue officer of the district. But even this would not 
do. Most of the officers read the Act in its natural sense, 
and put it in force against ringleaders and intimidators. 
Mr. Grant now had to go a step further. He came out 
with a new law of evidence. Mr. Herschel^ one of the 
officers, had, he found, been admitting the planters' 
books and the oath of a native servant of the factory 
as evidence of receipt of the advances. Probably 
Mr. Herschel had somehow become acquainted with 
the fact that this is the every-day proof of a debt 
in the English Courts. Mr. Grant, in a letter from 
the Secretary of Government to the Commissioner of 
Nuddea^ reprimands him roundly^ and Mr. Herschel is so 
amenable to this advice^ that he soon afterwards gives a 
decision entirely in accordance with all Mr. Grant's views. 
Mr. Grant is so pleased with it^ that he has it printed and 
sejit round the district for imitation. It was against 
all law and against all justice. Introduced into Eng- 
land^ it would upset society. It was founded upon the 


wholesale rejection or disbelief of the books and docu- 
ments kept according" to the common practice of all indig-o 
factories, and, indeed, of all traders of every class. 

The Lieutenant-Governor now proceeded to fulfil his 
threat not to trust the administration of this Act for a day 
in the hands of any man who did not decide according" to, 
not to what is law, but to what is, according" to Mr. 
Grant's views, substantial justice between a Ryot and a 
planter. He promoted Mr. Herschel over the heads of 
his seniors ', he removed men who opened their ears to 
evidence on the planters' side 3 he confirmed every one 
who with a tolerably certain consistency decided one way, 
and ag-ainst a planter ; and he moved all the oldest civi- 
lians out of the country. 

Having- thus ordered their six months Indig-o Con- 
tracts* Act to be read by the li^ht of the principles of 
equity — whether as derived from the Institutes of Justi- 
nian, or from the Equity Text-books, Mr. Grant does not 
say — and having" dismissed or removed those officers who 
did not answer the whip ; having*, farther, made a g-reat 
alteration in the law of evidence, by discountenancing" the 
only evidence of his credits which the planter could be 
expected to possess ; Mr. Grant now took occasion to ^ive 
a signal triumph to the Ryots, who had been seduced by 
his proclamations ; for, reversing" the judg"ments of the 
mag'istrates, he let the convicted offenders off their fines 
and out of prison. 

Now, to a certain extent this was unjustly honourable. 
Having incited these people to break their contracts, it 
was a matter of personal honour with Mr. Grant, so long" 
as he was allowed to retain power, to abuse it to protect 
these people from the consequences of acting upon his 
advice, and that of his co-operating underlings. But he 
carried this too far : there was no need to extend this 

102 MR. grant's interpretation 

entire impunity to cases where the offence was intimidat- 
ing" other Eyots who wished to sow^ or ploughing up land 
which they had sown. 

Mr. Grant had now contrived to extract from this Act^ 
intended by the Supreme Council for the preservation of 
the planters^ means to accelerate their ruin. The Council 
had granted special powers of enforcing the contracts of 
one season. Mr. Grant had contrived^ by tampering with 
the course of justice, to render it nearly impotent for that 
purpose^ and had also contrived to give the natives the 
notion that this Act abrogated all agreements so far as 
they extended beyond the current year. "What was in- 
tended as a boon^ became^ in Mr. Grant's hands, a scourge. 
What was intended to neutralize the effect of Mr. Eden's 
perwannahs^ became^ under Mr. Grant's explanations^ an 
absolute ratification of them^ so far as all the contracts 
for three years are concerned. " It must be stated/' says 
Mr. Grant^ " that it is the desire of the Government that 
those Ryots who have received cash advances* upon their 
agreement to cultivate indigo during the current season 
shall honestly fulfil that agreement." A tolerably obvious 
suggestion to the Bengali mind that it was the desire of the 
Government that the Eyot should not ^^ honestly fulfil his 
agreement" beyond the current season ^ althoug'h for this 
sug'gestion Mr. Grant had no more authority from the 
Supreme Council than he would have had to desire one of 

* The Act was one for the summary fulfilment of contracts. The 
insertion of the words "cash advances'* was most unjustifiable and 
injurious. It was meant, and the Act was worked according to such 
meaning, that unless a Ryot had actually touched "cash*' during the 
current season, he was not liable under the law. A Ryot, and this is a 
very common case, may have received five times the amount of his 
usual advance the previous year by way of loan for a marriage, or for 
purchase of cattle, the sum being carried to account, to be liquidated 
in three or four years. Not having taken ** cash" this year, he was 
free of his contract ! 


Ameer Mullick's g'ang' of dacoits to steal Mr. Larmour's 

The planters now saw ruin staring- them in the face. 
The Englishman who had been placed in supreme power 
over Beng-al^ to protect all classes^ had outlawed his coun- 
trymen^ and had excited the natives ag'ainst them. The 
planters saw that it was in vain to expostulate with this 
man. His tender mercies were cruelties. Never^ at their 
prayer^ did he profess to move in their favour^ or to put out 
a proclamation with the pretended object of calming* ex- 
citementj but by some strange fatality it was found to 
have a directly opposite effect. The planters now pre- 
sented a petition ag'ainst Mr. Grant. 

The petitioners in that sober and measured languag-e^ 
which contrasts conspicuously with the vag-ue accusations, 
and the contemptuous contradictions of Mr. Grant^ state 
the circumstances out of which these unhappy dissensions 
arose ', call attention to the admitted ig-norance of Mr. 
Grant upon the subject of indigo culture ;t complain of 
the acts of Mr. Eden ; but especially appeal against the 
despotic acts — nay, worse than despotic acts^ for even a 
despot has generally an instinct in favour of the purity of 
justice^ when he himself is not a party —by which Mr. 

* The planters, in their petition against Mr. Grrant, make it one of 
their complaints, '* that in several districts contracts have been entered 
into for three years and upwards, and in the absence of any legislative 
enactment to the contrary, such contracts are in every way binding, and. 
many planters have made their calculations for the several seasons on 
the knowledge of these contracts ; but His Honour, without taking this 
fact into consideration, or indeed considering for one instant the serioua 
effect on all cultivators of indigo of sach a proceeding, lately published 
a proclamation, the immediate effect of which was to cause the Ryots in 
many districts, who were previously perfectly quiet, and especially in 
Messrs. Watson and Co.'s factories, to combine against their em- 

t Mr. Grant having once fairly admitted " that he had never had any 
experience in the indigo districts, and that he was very ignorant on the 
subject," has since desired to recall this inconvenient, although most 
true admission. 

104 planters' petition against MR. GRANT 

Grant turned aside the operation of the " Indigo Con- 
tracts Act/' 

Perhaps it will be better that the reader should have 
before him the lang-uage of the petition in this important 
matter. It complains — 

" That, considering the powers which His Honour has, as to the re- 
moval of magistrates, it was, as your Petitioners submit, uncalled for — 
unless the Honourable Lieutenant-Governor could not trust the ma- 
gisterial officers of the district — to hold out, as he did in the letter 
No. 1, a threat of removal if any magistrate interpreted the Act contrary 
to His Honour's views. 

" That the Lieutenant-Governor, in laying down rules for the inter- 
pretation of the Act, exceeded, as your Petitioners submit, his powers, 
and trespassed upon the province of the Legislative Council, and of the 
Judicial Officers of the Government, because, where a question as to the 
meaning of an Act arose ; a judicial tribunal, where both sides could be 
heard, was the proper forum to interpret it. 

*' That your Petitioners beg to draw to the earnest consideration of 
your Excellency in Council, that the Lieutenant-Q-overnor has, since that 
Act was passed, interfered with the working of it in such a way as to 
make it wholly useless for the purpose which the Legislative Council 
had in view ; and your Petitioners have only to refer to the records of the 
Government of Bengal containing the papers relative to indigo planting, 
which are published by authority, to shew that His Honour had exer- 
cised an improper and most indiscreet interference with sentences passed 
by the magistrates. 

*' That soon after the passing of the Act, a Mooktear was tried by 
Mr. Betts for instigating Ryots to break their engagements, and a 
number of Ryots were sentenced for ploughing up indigo that had been 

" That both of these offences had become very common, and it was 
necessary, for the sake of example, to put them down at once ; but 
notwithstanding this, and the express provision by the Legislative 
Council that there should be no appeal, the Lieutenant-Governor, on the 
1 9th April, 1860, ordered the Commissioner to review these proceedings^ 
as appears by the letter hereto annexed, and marked No. 3. 

" That hy adopting such a course, the prosecutors had not even the 
chancdy which, if there had been an appeal, they would have had, of 
shewing that the convictions were proper ; and the Lieutenant-Governor 
soon afterwards ordered the release of the Mooktear and the Ryots, 
which did more harm than your Excellency can imagine, 

*' That, in order to shew what the wish of His Honour was, this pro- 
ceeding has been followed up by his directing the release of many other 
Ryots imprisoned duly according to law, and the removal from the 
indigo districts of the magistrates, Messrs. Betts, Mackenzie, M'Nielly 
and Taylor, and the substitution for them, in cases coming under the 
new Act, of some of the Principal Sudder Ameens of other districts. 


*' That the effect of His Honour's interference has, amongst other 
things, been to create an impression, not only in the minds of the ma- 
gistrates, hut also of the planters and ByotSy that any decisions in 
favour of the planters would meet with the disapproval of the Govern- 
ment of Bengal ; and your Petitioners would beg leave to draw the 
attention of your Excellency in Council to the evidence, amongst others, 
of Mr. Furlong and Mr. Taylor, given before the Indigo Commissioners 
(the evidence on oath of men of the most unimpeachable character), to 
shew the effect of these acts of His Honour, and the absurdity of con- 
tinuing to institute suits under the new Act. 

" That in a recent case, in which a decision has been given by Mr. 
Herschel, magistrate of Kishnaghur, which your Petitioners consider to 
be entirely contrary to the evidence, and most unjust to the planter 
concerned. His Honour has, upon a special report of the case to him, 
ordered copies of it to be distributed among the officials before whom 
cases under Act XI. of 1860 are tried, with an intimation that Mr. 
Herschel's decision is to be taken as a rule to guide them in all similar 
cases. This your Petitioners look upon as a most unusual and unau- 
thorized interference with the ordinary course of law, and the proper 
independence of the judicial authorities, and especially unfair and in- 
jurious to your Petitioners, inasmuch as the evidence produced was 
chiefly that of books and documents, kept according to the common 
practice of all indigo factories, which are thereby, and in this particular 
case, unjustly condemned wholesale, as not to be received as good 
evidence of claims against Ryots ; and, being the only corroborative 
evidence planters have to produce, such claims are practically rendered 
impossible of proof. 

*' That your Petitioners beg to draw particular attention to the evi- 
dence of Mr. Taylor, a man of the highest honour and reputation, given 
before the Commissioners, by which it appears, that while the decision 
of cases under Act XI. was left to the gentlemen acting as magistrates in 
the district, every case was decided in his favour, every case which has, 
since their removal, been brought by him before the Principal Sudder 
Ameen, although supported by the same class of evidence as in the 
previous cases, has been dismissed; a fact that, as your Petitioners 
submit, shews the effect of the interference which they now complaia of." 

After making" these very precise charges the planters 
prayed very modestly — 

^^ Your Petitioners^ therefore^ humbly pray^ your Ex- 
^^ cellency in Council to take into consideration this Peti- 
^^ tion^ and to pass such orders as may oblige His Honour 
'^ the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal to refrain from 
" pursuing a course of conduct which cannot but be 
" ruinous to the indigo planters in Bengal^ and to point 
'' out to His Honour the impropriety of interfering with 


^^ the due course of the administration of the law by the 
^^ reg'ularly appointed judicial officers, as laid down by 
" the Legislative Council of India, and which interference 
^^ is, as your Petitioners submit, both illeg-al and uncon- 
^^ stitutional, and especially indiscreet in the case of a 
^^ dispute between capital and labour ; and that your Ex- 
" cellency may pass such further orders as may^ under 
^^ the above circumstances^ seem proper." 

Such are the accusations not only made, but substan- 
tiated against this hig-h officer. To bring- them home to 
an Eng-lish mind we must imag-ine that any Home Se- 
cretary for the time being-, had first wantonly interfered in 
a question of prices between some classes of employers 
and employed ; that he had excited the labourers to leave 
their jobs unperformed ; that when the Parliament had 
passed a new law to meet the junctm^e, the Home Secre- 
tary had chosen special mag-istrates to work the law, had 
threatened them with dismissal if they did not interpret 
it according- to his notorious partiality -, that he had cir- 
culated a form of decision among- them 3 that he had pro- 
moted those who obeyed his commands as to how they 
should decide 3 and that he had suspended and removed 
others who had conscientiously disobeyed him. This is 
what Mr. Grant has done in Beng-al. Thus far he ad- 
mits the facts. He does not dispute them. All he does 
is vindictively to abuse the men whom he dismissed. 

However, this petition drew from Mr. Grant a Minute 
of seventeen folio pages. 

The reader who has any recollection of the letters which 
we have copied from Mr. Grant's own government papers, 
and which have described the repudiation of contracts, 
the looting of factories, and the refusal of rents, may be 
able to measure the robustness of Mr. Grant's confidence 
in the credulity of the English public when he finds that 

MR. grant's apology. 107 

Mr. Grant's reply to the charge, that he has thrown the 
indig-o districts into confusion, is a bold assertion that 
" those districts are not in confusion.'' He adds — ^^ the 
indig-o districts^ and Kishnaghur especially^ in every 
g-eneral sense are perfectly tranquil." The '' particular'^ 
sense^ we presume^ is the planters' sense. Or is it soli- 
tiidinemfacit, i^^t^cem appellat? Is it the tranquillity of 
which Mr. E-oberts has spoken ? To such audacity as 
this the decencies of lang-uag-e offer no form of reply. 
All it is possible to say is, that it is publicly and notoriously 
not true. " A timely display of force/' he says, " saved 
the indig-o factories.'' It seems, then, according- to his 
own shewing-, to be the '^ tranquillity" which depends upon 
the presence of an armed force " saving-" the Europeans 
from murder and pillag-e. So far from seeing- any thing* 
to regret in this, it is just what Mr. Grant intimates 
satisfies all his wishes. There may be a necessity for '^ a 
timely display of force/' but let the planters be reassured. 
Mr. Grant tells them with a pleasant sarcasm, the bur- 
nished point of which they can admire while they are 
listening- for the shouts of the insurg-ent Eyots, that, 
^^practically the life, property, rig-hts, and personal 
liberty, even of the humblest cultivator, were never before 
more secure than they now are in those districts." We 
do not know whether the fact detracts at all from the 
cleverness of this serio-comic assurance, but it is remark- 
able that precisely the same words mig-ht have been ad- 
dressed by Nana Sahib, and with perfect truth, to the 
victims at Cawnpore. 

The reader will see, that when these poor planters come 
to the Government with ruined prospects, with their in- 
dig-o plantations trampled out, with their credits — which 
Mr. Grant says are, with their vats, all their capital— 


confiscated, some with their factories ^^ looted/' and all 
with their lives in jeopardy, they find Mr. Grant in a fine 
taunting- mood, and in most exuberant spirits. He con- 
g-ratulates them that ^^ since the abduction of Seetal 
Turufdar— whose death under circumstances which ap- 
pear to make the whole affair amount to murder — he had 
not heard of a single case of lawless violence in Nuddea.'' 
Of course he did not mean to say that he intended to take 
trials for murder out of the reg-ular judg-es' hands, and to 
find upon the spot that Seetal Turufdar (of whom no 
planter knew any more than he did of the abduction of 
young* Mortara and the murder of the child at Boad) 
was abducted, and was wifully murdered, and that he 
then and there found all the planters guilty of the crime. 
He did not mean this, but he wanted to say something 
smart, and to throw a stone at those insolent planters 
who had presumed to bring their plebeian charges against 
his high mightiness. If he had not been a civihan and 
his accusers had been, he would probably have referred 
to some notorious case of dirty venality in some dead-and- 
gone member of the Civil service ; but as it is, he men- 
tions the name of a murdered native, and suggests that, 
as they were planters, of course they must know some- 
thing about it ; just as, when a little Christian boy was 
missed about passover time, all the Christians used to in- 
sist that the Jews knew all about it, and had undoubtedly 
taken him away to sacrifice him. 

After this specimen of what we cannot refrain from 
calling ill breeding, Mr. Grant slips naturally into a 
string of unmitigated — what shall we call them ? — they 
are not truths— for thousands of respectable men on their 
oaths will disprove every proposition as it comes out. 
We must fall back upon Mr. Grant's admitted ignorance, 

MR. grant's apol6gy. 109 

and call them —mistakes. He says — ^^ Even in matters 
relating- to the present commercial disag-reement^ law and 
justice prevail." We have shewn pretty conclusively 
how conspicuously untrue this is, Ag-ain^ ^^ The persons 
and property of planters are everywhere inviolate.'^ 
What! are a man^s credits no part of his property? 
Are the reports of the Civil servants who describe the 
withholding" of rents not worthy of belief^ even when Mr. 
Grant himself publishes them ? Has he not himself told 
us that the factories were only saved by a timely display 
of force ? But see how trenchantly Mr. Grant wades 
throug-h the standing" facts. He does not hesitate to say^ 
^^ Whilst on the one hand planters do not carry off^ by 
unlawful force^ indig"o plant in the lawful possession of 
other people j on the other hand^ if they advanced a 
single copper pice for any indigo plant^ to which they 
have a claim under a contract^ but of which they have a 
diflSculty in obtaining" delivery^ they have now the means 
of establishing" the fact^ and obtaining" possession leg"ally, 
in three or four days." After what we have shewn, the 
curious reader must smile as he recog-nises this careful 
string of prevarications. No one knows better than Mr. 
Grant that this phrase " lawful possession of other people'^ 
means only a robbery under Mr. Grant's protection. 
True, the planter cannot get possession of the indigo 
which he has bought, because Mr. Grant will not allow 
the magistrates to do justice, and carry out the law. 
Mr. Grant insults the planter by shewing him his indigo 
in his debtors' hands ; and tantalizes him by telhng him 
that this is become '^ lawful possession." The next, how- 
ever, is still stronger : — ^^ Where no contracts and ad- 
vances are established, we have reports of planters and 
their European assistants going about themselves amongst 

110 MR. grant's apology. 

the Ryots^ and actually paying for the plant^ to the 
owner's content, in cash on the field." Now we ask Mr. 
Grant upon his honour— not whether he has such reports, 
for he may, as we well know, have any reports he pleases 
to order, but — will he say that he believes there is in all 
Bengal a piece of indigo ready for cutting- upon which 
no advances have been paid to the Eyot ? He does not 
believe it. He knows that such a thing is unheard of 
and impossible. If it be a fact that planters have been 
this season buying ready-grown indigo, the only possible 
inference is this — that under Mr. Grant's protection, the 
Ryot is selling to strangers the indigo which he has 
raised at the cost of the planter ; while those to whom it 
morally, and even legally belongs, look on without re- 

This is not a defence. It is a triumphant avowal of 
the oppression he has been practising, and the ruin he 
has been inflicting. It is a song of triumph, a war-whoop 
over his victims. It seems to say, '^ What have you got 
from the Supreme Council ?" " Make the most of your 
Act.'' ^^ Establish your advances if you can.'' There is 
a taunting sneer in this answer which may pass unde- 
tected by our home Ministers and our home pubHc, but 
which is well understood in India. Possibly, during 
those six months in which the ^^ Indigo Contracts Act" 
was in force, any planter who could '^ establish" an ad- 
vance might obtain his indigo. But it must have been 
estabhshed in face of the power of Mr. Grant. Well 
may Mr. Grant chuckle over the difficulty of such an 
achievement. Small chance was there of a planter '' esta- 
blishing" his title to 13,000 plots of indigo against the 
opposition of a Lieutenant-Governor, who interfered with 
the course of justice, ordered the judges to disregard 


the evidence of the planters' hooks, removed some judges 
when they decided in favour of the planters, and so tho- 
roughly frightened the others, that at last every judge 
felt that it was equivalent to dismissal, to allow himself 
to be convinced by any evidence that a planter had made 
an advance. Small hope was there in continuing to 
manufacture indigo in face of an absolute Governor, 
who let Ryots convicted of making depredations upon a 
planter, out of prison, but fiercely pounced upon every 
planter's servant who attempted to defend his master's 
property. Small chance was there of prevaihng against 
a Governor whose examples were pardons for crimes 
against morality and order, and severe punishments for 
every act which was a moral right, but a legal wrong. 
Mr. Grant may well tauntingly congratulate the planters 
with the doubtful advantage of the Summary Act while 
he was by ; but it required a degree of hatred, which, in 
its triumph had cast away all prudence, to glory in the 
fact that by means of his interference with the course of 
justice, the Ryot was enabled to carry away his plunder 
under the eye of the planter, and to sell it in public 

This is the whole gist of Mr. Grant's answer to spe- 
cific charges. He does not attempt to deny that he dis- 
missed the magistrates, or issued the pattern decision, or re- 
versed the sentences, or set the Commissioners to overlook 
the magistrates. He assumes that the elder and more expe- 
rienced magistrates, whom he recalled or suspended, were 
deciding erroneously, and that the decision of Mr. Her- 
schel, a very young officer,* who, after a strong hint from 

* These youthful appointments have their advantages and their disad- 
vantages. Under a fair Governor they work well ; but under a tyrannical 
and unjust Governor; youth more easily takes the mould of the superior. 

112 MR. grant's APOLOGY. 

Mr. Grant^ disbelieved the planters' books^ was a model 
decision^ and deserved to be circulated for imitation. He 
denies^ with an effrontery which makes us wonder whe- 
ther Mr. Grant applies his notions of '^ equitable princi- 
ples'' of interpretation^ to morals as well as to law^ that 
he " ever so much as expressed an opinion regarding* the 
interpretation of the Act/' or he " ever in any single 
instance interpreted the Act.''* He justifies the removal 

Mr. MacNair, in his evidence before the Colonization Committee, 1858, 
seems to be influenced by what he had recently seen. 

"2000. Chairman.'] Will you proceed with your statement? — The 
exclusive system of the Civil Service is also very objectionable. Of late 
years so many of the more experienced and able gentlemen of that 
service have been taken away for new and advanced employment, and 
been absent from the country, that a great many mere youths, a few 
months from college, with little knowledge of the language, and with no 
experience or business habits, are placed in charge of large districts. It 
cannot be expected that they could have any control over their court 
servants or over the police, consequently the business is entirely in the 
hands of the native omlah, who soon know their power, and use it for 
their own advantage. I have known court omlahs with the small 
salary often to twelve rupees per month, accumulating large sums in a 
few years, and purchasing landed property, and building pukka houses. 
There are no doubt many very able men in the service, who take an in- 
terest in their work, and give general satisfaction. The most able men 
are generally made collectors, as I suppose Government think it most 
important to collect the revenues. The inexperienced youths are made 
magistrates ; and the higher judicial appointments are filled by people 
whose energies are expended, and who are anxious to take the earliest 
opportunity of retiring from the service, which they can do upon a hand- 
some pension, after an actual service of twenty-two years. If these 
appointments were open to competition in India, many well-qualified 
people would be found able to fill them ; and it would also be a great 
inducement for English settlers to qualify themselves for those appoint- 
ments where they would get advancement from their own merits and 
exertions. At present the uncovenanted deputy-magistrates and deputy- 
collectors of experience and long-standing get about the same allowance 
as the young civilians get when they receive their appointments. I 
think it would be very advantageous to put the covenanted and unco- 
venanted services upon the same footing as it is in this country, and open 
the Civil Service entirely." — Evidence of Mr. G. MacJVair, Coloniza- 
tion Committee , 1858. 

* Mr. Grant should have a longer memory. In par. 7 of his Circular 
he says, *' But it must also be explained that the order extends 07ily to 


of Mr. BettS; because he had^ in favour of a planter^ given 
effect to a contract which bore a date earlier than that on 
which the stamp was sold. In the vivid imagination of Mr. 
Grant; a mere clerical error becomes a g-rave charg-e of for- 
g-ery against a planter ; in the mind of Mr. Grant the fault 
of not sharing this extravagant error is a sufficient cause 
for removing a judge.* Mr. Grant admits (par. 36)^ that 

tlie current season ; and it is the intention of Government, before the 
period of taking advances for next season arrives to," &c. &c. Now 
this is not only an interpretation, but it is a very false and a very fatal 
interpretation. It induced the Ryots erroneously to believe that the Act 
annulled all contracts beyond the current season ; and it is an interpreta- 
tion which is at this moment paralyzing the trade of the indigo manu- 

* The planters were naturally very much incensed at a charge of 
forgery publicly brought by a Lieut. -Governor, without even a shadow 
of reason, and in order to defend his own misconduct, against one of 
their body. The story of this caluminous assertion is so extraordinary 
that we refrain from stating it ourselves, and prefer to quote the ac- 
count of it given by the Times' Calcutta Correspondent, in the Times of 
the 22nd November, 1860 : — 

"Calcutta, Oct. 18th. 

" I enclose herewith the reply given by the Indigo Planters' Associa- 
tion to the charges brought against the entire body of planters by Mr. 
Grant, to which I have before referred. I cannot send at the same 
time the documents alluded to in this reply, because they have all been 
sent up to the Governor-General. I am able, nevertheless, to assure 
you that they fully and entirely bear out every allegation contained in 
this document. The two points which, in his famous Minute, he 
urged most strongly against the planters were, — first, their enhsting 
the younger magistrates on their behalf, and so acting upon them as to 
induce them to give decisions in their favour, and even in one instance 
to sentence the legal adviser of the ryots to imprisonment merely for 
doing his duty towards his clients ; secondly, their obtaining decrees 
by means of forged agreements, illustrating his argument by citing a 
case in which a decree was given on a written agreement purporting to 
have been made in 1856, though executed on stamped paper which, 
on investigation, was proved to have been sold in 1859. On these two 
charges, which Mr. Grant treated as cases fully proved, requiring 
no further examination, he rang the changes until, to his own satisfac- 
tion, he proved the planters guilty of every description of oppression. 
It now appears that both these charges were utterly false. This is no 
mere assertion on my part ; it is proved by the strongest evidence ; in 
the first case, by the records of the Court in which the case was tried ; 



before his interference the Civil Mag-istrates usually 
found that the planters adduced sufficient proof of their 
having" made advances^ whereas since that time "the 
same sort of claims have been^ for the most part^ rejected 
upon the question of fact f and he thus grants the truth 
of the planters' complaint^ that under the carefully packed 
staff of mag-istrates which Mr. Grant at last placed in 
office/Hhe absurdity of continuing* to institute suits under 
the new Act/' becomes altog-ether manifest. 

Surely this is enough. We should be quite satisfied 
to rest the case upon the admissions contained in Mr. 
Grant's apolog-y. Of course it is open to any one who 
interferes with the course of justice to alleg-e that he did 
so from a g-ood motive. All the creatures of the Stuart 
king's could say as much. Mr. Grant really seems in- 
capable of understanding' that it is a crime to defeat the 
free course of justice. He seems to think^ that if he can 
induce people to believe that his motives were g-ood^ the 
charg-e of tampering with the administration of the law 
is answered. He has not even got so far into the rudi- 
ments of natural justice as to know, that the Governor 

in the second, by the agreement itself, which is a true hond fide docu- 
ment, and which has been sent up to the Governor-General for his 
inspection. The letter was only submitted to-day to the Government 
and therefore I can give you no idea as to the reception it will meet 
with. This, however, is certain — that people oat of doors entertain a 
strong hope that Lord Canning's eyes will be opened to the real merits 
of the ''system" which has been put in practice against the planters. 
I may add, with reference to this case, that it was with the greatest 
difficulty that the planters could obtain sight of the document which 
Mr. Grant asserted to have been forged, but which has since proved to 
be genuine. For nearly three weeks the secretary of the Planters' 
Association exerted himself to procure it, and it was only when the 
authorities were driven either to give it or refuse it absolutely, that the 
request was complied with. The cases I have referred to present by 
no means exaggerated instances of the system which has been employed 
during the current year to drive the planter out of the country." 


who tampers with the judg'ment-seat becomes at once the 
greatest criminal in the court he violates. What Lieut.- 
Governor Grant's object was^ we cannot conclude^ except 
from the results he has obtained. He has g-one nig-h to 
destroy one of the most important industries which it was 
his sworn duty to protect. 

Still less is it necessary to follow Mr. Grant into topics 
extraneous to the deliberate charge we have made against 
him, or to rectify his mis-statements when he has re- 
course to the stale and threadbare device of varying this 
charge, while he pretends to repeat it.* Nor need we 
discuss with Mr. Grant those two ^^ opinions amongst 

* We charge him with publishing to the Ryots a false and most 
mischievous account of the Summary Act of 1 860, and he thus mis-states 
the charge: — 

" It it is meant that the Executive Government, whilst leaving to the 
Legislature the outward show and pretence of fair intention, should have 
quietly allowed the law to be understood in the Mofussil, and acted 
upon, as though it had been a law to force Ryots, being Her Majesty's 
free subjects, to cultivate indigo, whether they wished to do so or not, at 
prices fixed by the purchaser, though they might be under no obligation 
to do so, and though they might never have received a farthing of con- 
sideration — such an Act, in short, as no Legislature would have dared to 
put into plain words — His Excellency in Council will not expect me to 
notice the complaint." — Minute^ par. 19. 

Again. — We accuse him of y:iterferingwiththe course of justice, threaten- 
ing and removing officers of justice who do not carry out his partial 
views, and circulating pattern decisions, which are contrary both to law 
and to natural justice. The innocent man rephes in this fashion : — 

** I have always thought, and I continue to think, the law will be self- 
acting and complete in the natural course of things, under a legitimate, 
vigorous, and truly impartial magisterial action ; which, leaving disputes 
in Civil cases to be settled by the constituted Civil tribunals, abstaining 
from all support of either party not warranted by the law, and, founding 
itself wholly on the law, will give that equal protection from unlawful vio- 
lence to both parties, in practice, which the law, in theory, has always 
intended. I accept all responsibilities for holding this opinion, and 
for acting upon it, so far as the occasion required, whenever the neces- 
sity of so doing has been forced by circumstances upon me," — Minute, 
par. 15 and 16. Alas! as Madame Parnelle says of Tartufa — "La 
vertu dans le monde est toujours poursuivie." 


116 ME. grant's apology. 

disinterested persons^ whether any special law against 
the Ryots was justifiable under the circumstances or 
not.'' His duty was^ not to balance opinions whether 
the law was ^^ justifiable^" but to obey it^ just as it was ; 
not to send out judges to decide as he mig-ht wish^ but to 
send out judg'es to decide. We dechne to enter upon 
any such extraneous topics. If we go beyond facts ca- 
pable of proof, we g'et into floods of feeble rhetoric, point- 
less sarcasm^ and spiteful retorts^ which seem to aim at 
bitterness^ but achieve only an unmannerly incivility. 
We have no taste for a contest of this kind. What we 
very deeply feel^ however^ while reading- this apolog-y^ is, 
that Mr, Grant does not seem to be capable of that im- 
partial habit of mind which would enable him to compre- 
hend that even planters may have rig-hts ; and what we 
are sometimes compelled to doubt is^ whether upon this 
subject Mr. Grant^ when under the influence of his pre- 
judices^ has sufficient clearness of intellect even to under- 
stand the tendency of an arg'ument.* 

* Thus, when we had proved that Mr. Grant suspended or removed 
the officers who shewed an incHnation to hold the scales even, and that he 
had refused to remove a gentleman who was ignoring all the " paper 
evidence " of the planters, Mr. Grant answers us with the following in- 
coherent absurdity: — 

•' It will not be contended that unqualified officers should be removed 
when the complaint comes from one side, but should not be removed 
when it comes from the other side. Yet unless this principle be con- 
tended for, the complaint by the Association of the removal of Mr. Belts 
is as little to be justified as their complaint of the removal of the three 
other gentlemen named, who have not been removed." — Minute, par. 33. 





While the indigo districts had been thus coaxed into 
a state of general repudiation of their debts and contracts ; 
while the Summary Act of the Supreme Council was being 
thus detorted by the Lieut. -Governor of Bengal^ and while 
the Ryots were complaining of the treachery of Govern- 
ment in first exciting them to repudiate, and then pass- 
ing an Act to compel them to perform, Mr. Grant at- 
tempted to keep up the courage of the Ryots and calm 
the outcries of the planters, by promising a commission of 
inquiry which should set all things to rights. 

He kept his promise in this wise : — 

He constituted a commission of ^ve members — two 
civilians, a Missionary, a native employed in an inferior 
office under Government, and a merchant. 

The composition of this body shews at once what Mr. 
Grant's intention was in creating it. There could be no 
reason why the Missionary body should have a seat at 
this board, except that one or two German missionaries 
have, unhappily, upon several occasions, lent their aid to 
give currency to the thrice-refuted calumnies invented 
against the planters.* There could be no good reason 

* There is a very false notion abroad that the Missionary body have 
testified against the planters. Nothing can be more unfounded. The 
testimony of all the English Missionaries is uniformly in consonance 


why a native of high standing* and intellig*ence should not 
be chosen^ except that he mig'ht happen to share the sen- 

with that of the Governors General, magistrates and natives we have 
already cited. Some German Missionaries have indeed upon one occa- 
sion committed themselves to some monstrous statements, but those 
who know India will understand what they mean. We will subjoin a 
few extracts from the statements of the Missionary body upon this 

Let us take first the evidence of Mr. Underbill, the Secretary of the 
Baptist Missionary Society, who had been on special mission in India. 
In his examination before the Colonization Committee, 1859, this gen- 
tleman states : — 

*'477H. Mr. Kinnaird.l "What bearing might the increase of Euro- 
pean landholders have upon the welfare of the Ryots ? — On the whole, 
I have no doubt that it would be highly beneficial ; it appears to me 
that the tendency of all European occupation is to improve both the 
productions of the land and the condition of those who labour upon 
the land ; one might be sure that this is the case, from the general con- 
tentment of the servants of the different English Zemindars." 

And again : — 

'M771. Mr. Kinnaird.'] Has there not been much controversy be- 
tween the indigo planters and the Missionaries, arising out of these cir- 
cumstances ? — There was a great deal just previously to my leaving for 
England, arising from the statement of a German Missionary in Kish- 
naghur, that the indigo planting system was a system of great oppres- 
sion and extortion on the Ryot ; but the conclusion to which I came, 
after a great deal of thought and conversation with parties interested in 
the matter, was what I have already stated, that almost universally 
those oppressions and extortions originate in the state of the country, in 
the state of the administration of the law, in the character of the 
police, and in difiiculties which the indigo planter might well plead in 
bar of any condemnation that might be brought upon conduct that 
otherwise we must very strongly condemn." 

Once more, this gentleman, who may be taken to represent the whole 
Baptist body upon this matter, says : — 

" 4709. Will you generally state the results of your observation on 
the residence of Europeans in the country ? — There can be no doubt 
whatever that the residence of Europeans in the interior is highly bene- 
ficial in a material sense by the introduction of new products and new 
modes of producing articles of commerce ; a great improvement is 
already seen in the rise of wages through almost the whole of those 
parts of Bengal where Europeans reside. Then you may see the in- 
fluence of Europeans always when you come within a few miles of the 
places where they dwell ; the country is better cultivated, the roads are 
in better order, and the aspect of the land itself bears the impress of 
European skill and European capital having been expended upon it, so 


timents of such men as Dvvarkanauth Tagore and Eam- 
mohun Roy.* That there should be one merchant was a 

that you can very readily tell whether you are approaching any settle- 
ment, or factory, or farm inhabited by Europeans. Then, in a social 
sense, I think also the presence of Europeans is highly beneficial. In 
former days many Europeans lived very improper lives in India : that 
day is gone by ; I am very glad to say that that has almost entirely 
ceased, and that the Europeans now living in the Mofussil are not ad- 
dicted to the immoral habits which were very common 30, 40, or 50 
years ago. Then, I think also that the influence of Europeans is ex- 
ceedingly beneficial, from the diffusion of the ideas of truth and justice 
which they invariably maintain ; whatever a European may be in other 
respects, his word is always taken by natives, and, with very rare ex- 
ceptions, they always confide in a European's judgment, and upon his 
general equity they constantly rely ; they seem to think that a Euro- 
pean will always do them justice if he can, if his own special and pecu- 
liar interests do not clash with what the native may seem to think 

We would refer also to the letter from Dr. Duff, that eminent Pres- 
byterian divine, which has been printed in the Appendix to the Indigo 
Report, 1860. 

Mr. Marshman stated to the Colonization Committee : — 

" 9586. I have known, as I have mentioned to the Committee, indigo 
planters who were regarded as the fathers of the Ryots around them ; 
men like Mr. Furlong, and half a dozen other gentlemen I could name, 
who spared no expense and no labour in order to benefit the Ryots 
around them." 

It would be easy to multiply proof of what we have advanced, and it 
would also be easy to adduce passages wherein Missionaries have de- 
plored the bad state of the law which leads to occasional disputes, and 
sometimes to violent quarrels ; but upon the whole, the English Mis- 
sionaries are very truthful and impartial in their account of the indigo 
manufacturer, not of course as perfect creatures, but as upon the whole 
a great blessing to India. With the Germans we desire to have no 
connection, either amicable or hostile, and we must be allowed to pass 
their absurd misstatements without notice. 

* In page 176 of the papers relating to the conduct of Europeans in 
India, the opinions of these two eminent natives are thus recorded : — 

" Dwarkanauth Tagore said — ' With reference to the subject more 
immediately before the meeting, I beg to state that I have several 
Zemindaries in various districts, and that I have found that the cultiva- 
tion of indigo, and the residence of Europeans, have considerably bene- 
fited the community at large ; the Zemindars becoming wealthy and 
prosperous ; the Ryots materially improved in their condition, and 
possessing many mure comforts than the generality of my countrymen 
where indigo cultivation and manufacture are not carried o«; the value 


matter of course. Perhaps we are not unreasonable in 
thinking- that there might have been also one practical 
indig-o planter. We do not dispute either the propriety 
of having' two civilians on the commission^ nor could a 
more intellig-ent or uprig-ht civilian have been found than 
Mr. Temple^ who was Secretary to Mr. Wilson^ and was 
chosen and trusted by that shrewd and careful minister, 
as the most liberal and widely-informed member of that 

We cannot; however^ pass over the appointment of Mr. 

of land in the vicinity to be considerably enhanced, and cultivation 
rapidly progressing. I do not make these statements merely from 
hearsay, hut from 'personal observation and experience^ as I have visited 
the places referred to repeatedly y and, in consequence, am well acquainted 
with the character and manners of the indigo planters. There may be a 
few exceptions, as regards the general conduct of indigo planters, but 
they are extremely limited, and, comparatively speaking, of the most 
trifling importance. I may be permitted to mention an instance in 
support of this statement. Some years ago, when indigo was not so 
generally manufactured, one of my estates, where there was no cultiva- 
tion of indigo, did not yield a sufficient income to pay the Government 
assessment : but within a few years, by the introduction of indigo, there 
is now not a beegah on the estate untilled, and it gives me a handsome 
profit. Several of my relations and friends, whose affairs I am well 
acquainted with, have in like manner improved their property, and are 
receiving a large income from their estates." 

*' Rammohun Roy used the following language : — * From personal 
experience I am impressed with the conviction, that the greater our 
intercourse with European gentlemen, the greater will be our improve- 
ment in literary, social, and political aff'airs ; a fact which can be easily 
proved, by comparing the condition of those of my countrymen who 
have enjoyed this advantage, with that of those who unfortunately have 
not that opportunity ; and a fact which I could, to the best of my belief, 
declare on solemn oath before any assembly. I fully agree with Dwar- 
kanauth Tagore in the purport of the resolution just read. As to the 
indigo planters, I beg to observe, that I have travelled throucjh several 
districts in Bengal and Behar, and I found the natives residing in the 
neighbourhood of indigo plantations evidently better clothed and better 
conditioned than those who lived at a distance from such stations. There 
may be some partial injury done by the indigo planters; but on the 
whole, they have performed more good to the generality of the natives of 
this country than any other class of Europeans ^ whether in or out of the 



Seton Karr. This g-entleman was known to be a partisan. 
From the year 1847^ when he wrote a rather clever article 
upon indigo in the Calcutta Review ^ he had gradually 
risen under the patronage of Mr. Grant^ and had strength- 
ened into a famous planter-hater. He was now^ of 
course, a satellite of Mr. Grant. Further than this, while 
he was 3^et sitting as President of the Commission, and 
while the Eeport was yet undra^vn, Mr. Seton Karr was 
appointed Secretary to Mr. Grant. As President of the 
Commission his animus appears in every examination ; he 
drew the Eepoi*t, which incorrectly assumes the character 
of the Report of the Commission ] and, even after it was 
signed, he made several offensive additions to it. 

We submit that this appointment of Mr. Seton Karr, 
under these circumstances, and at this crisis, was a viola- 
tion even of the decencies of official hypocrisy. It was 
no more in fact than Mr. Grant had done before in work- 
ing, or rather in destroying, the Summary Act. But 
still it was a contempt of appearances. Mr. Grant is not 
in a position to ask us to assume, as a matter of course, 
that he and his Secretary are heroes of superhuman 
virtue, and that the ordinary objects of official life can be 
dangled before their eyes without any effect. 

The result was very much what might have been anti- 
cipated : Mr. Seton Karr, the Missionary,* and the 

* Of course Mr. Seton Karr's Report is a series of compromises. Mr, 
Sale, we will hope, insisted upon one line, out of the forty-eight folio 
pages, in mention of the opium cultivation as having features identical 
with the indigo cultivation ; he also obtained a paragraph absolving the 
Missionaries in which, as we have already stated, we heartily concur, so 
far as the English as contradistinguished from the German Missionaries 
are intended. But we should very much like to have some competent 
investigation into the conduct of the foreigners. In Mr. Furlong's evi- 
dence before the Commission, the following passage occurs : '* Mr. 
Bomwetsch, of Santipore, has openly preached a crusade against indigo 


Baboo^ agreed to a report ; Mr. Temple sig'ned the report 
with a protest ag-ainst all the really important parts of 
it 3* Mr. Ferg-uson protested ag-ainst the whole report ;t 
and Mr. Temple and Mr. Ferg^usson joined in a report of 
fifty-three parag^raphs. 

This latter report^ being* the report of Mr. Wilson's 
Secretary and of the experienced merchant^ mast be con- 
sidered the report emanating* from the brains of the com- 

The report of the Lieut.-Governor's Secretary, of the 
concurring" Baboo and of the Eev. Mr. Sale may be read 
as Mr. Grant's last manifesto ag-ainst the planters. 

It may be thoug-ht proper, however, that we should 
make a few observations upon the Lieut.-Governor's 

To pursue it through its 190 paragraphs, and to cor- 

planting and planters, and fomented a bad feeling on the part of the 
Ryots towards the planters in every way in his power. I am aware that 
Mr. Bomwetsch has denied having done so, but that gentleman's memory 
must be rather treacherous." But Mr. Seton Karr, however, has managed 
to make Mr. Sale's absolving paragraph, as damnatory as a Scotch verdict 
of " not proven" to the whole body. He says — 

" 130. In our opinion it is extremely unreasonable to attribute the 
sudden failure of an unsound system, which had grown up silently for 
years, to the officials or Missionaries who told the people^ that they 
were free agents. If it could be said with truth that greased cartridges 
were only the proximate cause of a rebellion which had been silently 
gathering for years, it may be said with even more truth that loritten or 
spoken words, widely circulated, and only pointing out to the JRyotwhat 
was perfectly correct in all essentials, namely, that it was optional with 
them to take advances or to refuse them —to sow indigo or not to sow it — 
were only the proximate cause of the extensive refusal to cultivate during 
this season." 

* Paragraphs 69 and 70. These paragraphs are the portions which 
contain the summary of the relations between the planters and the 

t "I further dissent from the language and tone of the Report, even 
as to those points the truth of which I do not dispute, for the reason that 
the language and tone tend to give a colouring and to lead to conclusions 
not proved from the facts." 


Tect its errors by proofs^ would^ of course, be impractic- 
able ; not on account of the difficulty of the writing-^ but 
on account of the g-rievous severity of the reading*. We 
must content ourselves with skipping- from blunder to 
blunder with cursory comment^ with cropping* off an occa- 
sional tall audacity^ and with pointing*^ from time to time, 
to some salient manifestation of ignorance. 

The first point which strikes a reader accustomed to 
such documents is the contrast which this paper presents 
to others that have proceeded from similar quarters not 
later than five years ag-o. If a civilian planter-hater, 
with a Governor behind him^ preferment in front^ and a 
Baboo in his company^ had^ five years ag*o^ undertaken 
to concoct an arraig-nment ag"ainst the British settlers in 
the Mofussil^ we should unquestionably have had a full 
repetition of all the calumnies which have been disproved 
and reproduced any time these last thirty years ; which 
Governor-Generals and the most eminent natives have 
always denounced as slanders^ after strict official and 
personal inquiry^ but which have always reappeared with 
an infamous immortality from some German Missionary, 
or from some discontented policeman, or from some effete 
and querulous civilian^ or from some boy - magistrate 
shaping- his reports in such form as may make them 
acceptable in high quarters. Publicity^ however, may 
we hope also, Christian principle ? have literally forced 
Mr. Grant^s commissioners to withdraw from this old 
ground, and to content themselves with putting real facts 
in the most obnoxious point of view, " giving a colour- 
ing," as one of the protesting commissioners says, " by 
language and tone, and leading to conclusions not proved 
by the facts." 

All this was not for want of careful inquiry. The 


commissioners went back for thirty years. Every one 
who had a story to tell^ or who even could say he had 
heard of such stories, was entreated to come forward. 
The Missionary and the Baboo were doubtless astonished 
to find that there was not even a vestige of foundation 
to be discovered for those charg-es of murder, rape^ and 
arson^ which other members of their classes have been 
so g'libly repeating" for the last fifty years^ and which 
have passed rapidly, not only over India, but also over 
Eng-land, to use the words of this report, " in written or 
spoken words widely circulated.'' 

After a thirty years' search after these ^^ rapes/' the 
commission is oblig-ed to report — for the evidence was 
taken in public — as follows : — 

" As to the outrag-es on women, which, more than any 
other act, mig-ht offend the prejudice and arouse the vin- 
dictiveness of a people notoriously sensitive as to the 
honour of their families, we are happy to declare that 
our most rig-id inquiries could bring" to lig-ht only one 
case of the kind. And when we came to examine into 
its foundation, as seriously affecting- the character of one 
planter, and, throug-h him, the body of planters in a 
whole district, or as affording any clue to the excitement 
of the past season, we discovered that there were reason- 
able g-rounds for supposing-, that no outrag-e on the per- 
son of the woman had ever taken place.'^ 

This is a curious parag-raph. That outrag-es on women 
should offend the prejudice (!) of the natives is an odd 
way of speaking- of such a crime. But that the com- 
mission's '^ most rigid inquiries could bring to light only 
x>ne case of the hind " (in thirty years), in which one case 
'^ no outrage on the 'person of the woman had ever taken 
place " is certainly an example of ing-enuity in making* 


put a case of rape which could scarcely be rivalled by a 
prosecuting counsel in Ireland when Ireland enjoyed her 
own ancient pre-eminence in this class of accusations. 

Of deaths arising' from affrays there were proved to be 
forty-nine in thirty years, or three in two years, in a 
population of 20,000,000, these not being confined to 
indigo, but spreading over all causes of dispute in the 
Mofiissil, and no planter ever having* been implicated in 
any one of them. 

As to '^ knocking down houses," the commission had 
been told by gentlemen that they " had seen places where 
houses had been," but '' unless they could fathom the 
origin of all desertions, they could not take upon them- 
selves to pronounce that houses had been wantonly 
knocked down by the planters." We recommend the 
President and his two assenting- commissioners to take a 
tour in England and Wales, and make the same remark 
upon Caernarvon Castle, or the mound of Old Sarum, or 
the deserted old farm-houses in the fens, whence the far- 
mers have moved up to the wolds, or upon those houses 
at the corner of Stamford Street, Blackfriars, or upon 
any deserted mud cottages (for such are the ^^ home- 
steads " here spoken of), which they may see in their 

* Here is a history of the principal case relied upon by the President, 
and the Missionary, and the Baboo. In occurs in the evidence of Mr. 
Larmour : — 

Mr. Fergusson.'] Q. Ameer MuUick, of Khanpore, was examined by 
this commission on the 2nd June. Have you read his evidence of your 
people having knocked down and plundered his house, and do you wish 
to give any explanation thereof? 

A. Shortly after assuming the management of the Katgarrah concern, 
numerous petitions were presented to me at Mulnauth, from the Ryots 
of Barrakapore village, complaining to the effect that Ameer MuUick 
had collected a number of dacoits [thieves] and settled them adjoining 
his own house. Two of these petitions appeared to be exceedingly 


We wonder whether^ if a commission of indig-o planters^^ 
and tea planters^ and cotton growers^ and silk filature 
owners^ had been appointed to inquire into the conduct 
of the Civil Service and the condition of the salt Eyots^ 
"the poorest labourers in all Beng-al/' and the opium 
Eyots^ they could have conscientiously reported such a 
total absence of crime as this commission has been com- 
pelled to confess^ and what they would have said about 
the salt Eyots "accounted for as carried off by tig-ers.'* 

truthful, and stated that Ameer Mullick*s gang had hitherto committed 
robberies at a distance, but of late they robbed the houses of the Ryots 
in Barrakapore : these petitions were forwarded by me to the magistrate 
of Nuddea, with the request that he would institute an inquiry into 
what was stated in these petitions. He ordered the police to make a 
local investigation, and at the time they went to Barrakapore to carry 
out this investigation, a robbery had been committed at Kotechandpore, 
in Zillah Jessore, the police of Jessore tracing the property to Barraka- 
pore, where twelve of the gang were seized : four of them were convicted 
and sentenced to five years' imprisonment by the late Judge of Jessore, 
now JPresident of the present commission. From the time of the 
seizure of this gang, Ameer MuUick absconded from Barrakapore, and 
did not return there again, except on the sly. My people had nothing 
to do whatever with the destruction of his house : it being left uninha- 
bited, it very soon went to wreck and ruin, and I believe there was not 
a Ryot in the village, owing to what they had suffered from him and 
his gang, but were glad to pull at the straw and bamboos belonging to 
his house. 

Mr. Seton KarrJ] Q. Was any report made to the magistrate, the 
commissioner, or other authority, to the effect that one of the sons 
of Ameer MuUick harboured these criminals, though evidence was not 
forthcoming against him ? 

A. I remember the fact of Jalla Mullick, son of Ameer Mullick, being 
an outlaw, and the police after him for several months after the robbery 
at Kotechandpore. 

Mr. Sale.'] Q. What are we to understand by Jalla Mullick being an 
outlaw ? 

A. That the police of Jessore and Kishnaghur were in search of him 
all over the country. 

Q. You spoke of the Ryots as wishinajto have a pull at the bamboos 
of Ameer Mullick' s house ; did he not live in a pukka house ? 

A. No ; the house in which he resided I have always understood to 
be a cutcha [mud] house, having two small pukka [brick] rooms on 
each side of the entrance to his compound. 


Quite sure we are^ that if they could have done this truly 
they would not have done it so gTudging-ly. Alas ! they 
would have had evidence of a very different character to 
record to that which we here find, gathered ahke 
from the " nobility" and from the refuse of India^ and^ 
in many instances, unfairly epitomized. 

Mr. Seton Karr would seem to be labouring* under an 
impression, that, in point of fact, his report must be a 
failure, and that it could not but be a g-reat disappoint- 
ment to Mr. Grant to find that, after calling- him forth 
to curse his enemies, behold, he was g-oing* very near to 
bless them. However, we shall see presently, that al- 
though his premises failed him, this accident made no 
great difference in his conclusions. 

Take the instance of paragraph 81, where Mr. Seton 
Karr quietly assumes a proposition contradicted by the 
evidence before him,* and draws a conclusion which is 

* Mr. Larmour had been asked whether indigo was a remunerative 
crop. Mr. Larmour produced his books, and gave the following 
answer : — 

A. That depends entirely on the season. In the last season, at tho 
Mulnauth factory, the average return per beegah paid to the E-yots 
was 14 bundles per beegah. Upwards of 100 Ryots cut more than 20 
bundles per beegah; 237 Ryots cleared off their advances and debt to 
the factory, and received /a^^iZ, or excess-payments. The return of 20 
bundles per beegah pays a Ryot well, apart from the indigo seed which 
he also gets from the stumps. [Mr. Larmour here filed a paper in 
EngUsh, referring to the books in original, which he also filed.] 

Even in their own report they say — " It is urged that it has still been 
found comparatively easy to satisfy the Ryot, and to keep him con- 
tented and faithful to his engagements, by the giant of what have been 
termed collateral advantages ; and that even with the above disad- 
vantages several Ryots, working honestly and faithfully, have cleared 
their advances, and received large payments in excess. This last aver- 
ment is quite truer Do the Commissioners then mean to confine their 
sympathy and protection to those Ryots who do not " work honestly 
and faithfully," and therefore do not make a profit. It is but too 
manifest that they do, but it would have been more manly to have 
stated the f^ct. 


in the teeth of the testimony of a cloud of witnesses. 
Civilians and planters, and the two most eminent natives 
of modern days, are for once consistent in flat contradic- 
tion to Mr. Seton Karr. The evidence of the natives 
upon this question was derived from personal experience^ 
and was quoted by us a few pag-es back, and the matter 
is the g-ist of the matter upon which Mr. Seton Karr 
had passed so many days, and had taken so much evi- 
dence. Here is the paragraph : — 

^^ Conflicting- statements have been made as to whether 
^^ there is or there is not a perceptible difference in the 
" condition of the Ryots who g-row indig-o, compared 
" with those who do not g-row it. Seeing" that it is not 
^^ to be contravened that the majority of Hyots derive no 
^' projitj hut a loss, from indig-o, and that many Ryots 
^^ in the g-reater part of Hoog-hly and Baraset^ as well as 
^^ those on Mr. MorelFs estate in Backerg-ung-e and in 
^' other parts of that district, have grown rich and 
^^ wealthy, without this kind of cultivation, we do not 
^' discover any particular difference to he perceptible in 
'\favour of Ryots who are cultivators of indigo. ^^ 

This is as if Mr. Seton Karr had said, " Brewing* can- 
not be a profitable trade ; because the late Mr. Roths- 
child made a larg-e fortune, and he was never known to 
brew a butt of beer in his life.'' 

But who will the people of England beheve ? Ram- 
mohun Roy and Dwarkanauth Tagore, and the magis- 
trate of Dacca, and the Governor-General, Lord William 
Bentinck, and Sir Charles Metcalfe, whose testimony we 
have already cited^* and the commissioner of Morabadad 
(Mr. Boldero), who says,t '^ So far as my experience 

* Ante p. 18. 

t "Conduct of Europeans in India," p. 181. 


goes, and it is founded on a residence of six years in a 
district filled with indig'o planters^ I have found the 
lower classes of the natives better clothed^ richer^ and 
more industrious^ in the neighbourhood of the factories^ 
than those at a distance from them f and Mr. Mills^ the 
magistrate of Pubnah^ who says^ " It must be observed^ 
that the condition of the Eyots has been greatly improved 
since the introduction of indigo in the Mofussil ;'" and 
the witnesses who gave evidence to the same effect before 
the Committee of the House of Lords which sat on the 
affairs of the East India Company in 1830 3 and Mr. 
Harris^ who had been an indigo planter in India^ and 
who stated that " their (the Eyots') better condition in 
the districts where indigo was chiefly cultivated, enabled 
them to keep a greater number of bullocks for their 
ploughs, and the ground was better cultivated as they 
improved in means f will the people of England believe, 
we ask, this body of unbiassed testimony, or will they 
believe Mr. Grant's Secretary, reporting in contradiction 
to the evidence before him ? 

But let us proceed to other accusations. The President 
of this commission says — 

^^ Another inequality is this : the planter, on a fair cal- 
^^ culation, looks to a return of two seers of dye from ten 
"bundles of plant, which is the fair average of one 
" beegah. Two seers would sell for ten rupees, when in- 
" digo is selling at 200 rupees a maund. But the return 
" from the same ten bundles to the Eyot could not be 
" more than two rupees and eight annas, at four bundles 
" the rupee. 

"Thus the planter would look f^ derive from the contract 
" about four times the profit which could ever fall to the 

" Eyot." 



What does any commercial man think of a trade being* 
subjected to the intermeddling- of such people as these ? 
The data assumed are false in fact^ as the evidence before 
them shewed, for nothing is more variable than the yield 
of dye from the same bulk of plant. But if they were 
true, as they are false, what shall we say of a commission 
which makes calculations based upon the assumption that 
the raw material and the manufactured article are the same 
profit-bearing* article ? What would the Liverpool cotton 
merchant and the Manchester manufacturer say if the 
Board of Trade were to send down some wiseacre to them, 
who should attempt to convince the Liverpool merchant 
that he was an ill-used man, because he was selHng- cotton 
for sixpence a pound, which the Manchester manufacturer 
sold for twenty shillings a pound, or 4000 per cent. 
^' profit,'^ when worked up into book-muslins ? What 
would the Manchester manufacturer say if this g*reat po- 
litical economist should attempt to convince him that he 
was a scoundrel for not allowing* more of the cost of the 
manufactured article to the seller of the raw material ? 
What would they do?— they would unite to shut up 
such a brainless meddler in some neig-hbouring* lunatic 

This really would seem to be penned by the same hand 
which insists that the planter has no capital but his vats 
and his credits, and that the Byot who sows with another 
man's seed, who is paid beforehand for his labour, and 
who has bought his bullocks with the factory mone}^, is 
the capitalist who in ^' capitar' exceeds all others in the 

* " I must notice another misdescription in the memorial. The 
commercial dispute in question is designated a dispute between capital 
and labour." — Mr. Grant's Minute, Poor Mr. Grant actually does 
not know that when the terms " capital and labour " are thus used. 

MR. grant's ignorance OF POLITICAL ECONOMY. 131 

Surely^ after this exhibition of crass and insensate ig-- 
norance^ no one would follow us in any further examina- 
tion of Mr. Seton Karr's notions of prices and profits. 
The Ryot sells leaves and the indigo factor sells indig-o. 
If he would apply his measure of profits to the opium 
Ryot^ who yields ready- manufactured opium^ and not 
poppieS; at Ss 6d a pound^ which Mr. Grant sells ag-ain 
at 20^ a pound^ or to the salt Ryot^ who yields ready- 
manufactured salt at seven annas^ or tenpence halfpenny 
a maundy of 84 pounds^ which Government sells ag-ain at 
three rupees twelve annas^ or 7^ (jd per maundy there 
might be something* practical in his deductions. 

Let us go at once^ then^ to the " recommendations" of 
these three gentlemen. 

First, let us put aside a string of recommendations, 
either unnecessary or worthless, addressed to the planters ; 
for althoug'h no class is more attentive to good counsel 
from friendly and well-informed men, the planters do not 
hope to obtain such counsel from the numerical majority 
of this commission. The paragraphs which are offered 
^^ by way of suggestion and advice" from men who are 
the mere nominees of those who have been the authors of 
our ruin, and who are bitter enemies, we reject as an im- 

The suofo-estions of the President of this commission 
are : — 

1st. That the position of honorary magistrate should 
never be conferred upon an indigo planter. 

The indigo planters never desired this position. It 

people of any information on such subjects take for granted that labour 
has its necessarily adhering qualities of capital, and is thus far, as much 
capital as money itself. Capital is nothing but hoarded labour. We 
have not space here to teach Mr. Grant the distinctions between fixed 
and floating capital. 



was forced upon them by the Government, then in its 
ag-onj; and will be attempted to be forced upon them 
again when the income tax comes to be levied. What 
the planters have complained of was the insulting* man- 
ner in which these commissions were all withdrawn, with- 
out one case of misconduct proved, and with the deg-ra- 
dation thus inflicted in the eyes of the Eyots. The 
planter had more power in his own court of arbitration, 
deciding" the disputes of his neig-hbours, and freely obe} ed 
by them, than he had by reason of any mag'isterial au- 

2dly. The President recommends that sub-divisions 
should be still more multiplied, vouching* the g-ood effect 
of this measure in Baraset under Mr. Eden ! 

Let us here interject a few lines about this Mr. Eden. 
It is not given to us to commence our task with — 

" Musa mihi causas memora/' 

but it is necessary in order to set our case before the 
public that we should state the fact that the whole of 
this state of confusion in the social and commercial rela- 
tions of Beng-al began in the first instance with acts of 
unprovoked hostility by the Honourable Ashley Eden ; 
who had been at an earlier period of his career upon 
excellent terms with the planters within his district. 

If any of our readers would desire to see a specimen 
of the spirit which actuates this g-entleman, we submit 
to him some extracts from Mr. Eden's evidence g-iven 
before the Commissioners and which we have printed in 
the Appendix to this pamphlet. When we read the 
savag'e-like disappointment that he could not try in a 
Native Court the European, who, with the sympathy of 
the b3^standers, was acquitted by the Supreme Court of 


Calcutta^ we think of this man's history and we think of 
the probabihty of his yet having* a white man's fate in 
his hands, and we literally shudder. To the reader of 
Mr. Eden's evidence we beg- to explain, that when Mr. 
Eden says '^ If the Native Courts are g-ood enoug-h for 
Natives, they are g-ood enough for Europeans," he by 
no means means that they are good enough for Mr. Eden. 
If this were proposed, he would soon find out that a Native 
Court mig-ht be an impartial Court as towards natives, 
but a very fatal Court as towards Europeans, whether 
planter or civilian. 

3dly. It is recommended that the police should receive 
hig-her wages ; the evidence being* that the higher their 
wages, the greater men they are, and the greater bribes 
they expect. But as the Commissioners complacently 
say, '' A reform of corruption so long* discussed and so 
fully laid bare must be — '' What? Immediate? — No! 
Earnestly and promptly accomplished ? — No ! " Must 
be — a work of time /" 

4thly. With reference to a g-reat g-round of complaint 
brought by '' large and influential Zemindars,'' of an Act 
which withdraws from them the power of compelling- the 
attendance of their tenants for the adjustment of their rents, 
or for any other purpose,* the Commissioners recommend, 
not that the right should be restored, but that '' the work- 
ing of the Act" — that is, the working* of the absence of 
a right — " should be very carefully watched !" 

5thly. The Commissioners see no use in any Special 
Indigo Commissioner to act as moderator between plan- 
ters and Ryots. 

Mr. Temple places great stress upon the necessity of 

* This is what the Commissioners call " kidnapping '* when the old 
feudal right was exercised by British leaseholders of manors. 


such an officer ; and so should we if the nomination were 
not in the hands of such a man as Mr. J. P. Grant. As 
his instrument^ a special commissioner would be a curse 
both to planter and to Eyot. 

6thly. The Commissioners are of opinion that the in- 
terests of the planter do not imperatively demand any 
special protection. That is to say^ that the planter has 
no rig-ht to ask for a summary process for enforcing* his 
contracts^ or recovering- his crops^ which are g-rown with 
his money. 

This is throwing- away the loosely-worn mask. At last 
we have found a little knot of people^ numbering- among- 
them the Secretary to the Government of Beng-al^ who set 
their faces avowedly ag-ainst cheap and summary justice^ 
and advise the maintenance of long-; expensive and ruinous 
suits. Mr. Grant has since indorsed this recommendation 
of his Secretary^ and has referred the indig-o manufac- 
turers to the ordinary Civil Courts. 

The Eng-lish reader can have no adequate idea what a 
reference to the Civil Courts of India means. It sounds 
like an oiFer of justice on this side of the world 3 it carries 
the full smart of a mocking- insult on the other side. 
When Mr. Seton Karr and Mr. John Peter Grant tell 
the indig-o manufacturers that they have no right to cheap 
and speedy justice, and that the Civil Courts are g'ood 
enough for them^ as they are for other people^ we must 
ask the Eng-lish public to listen for a few seconds to testi- 
mony of what the Civil Courts in India really are, — 

Some time ag-o attention in England was awakened in 
a spasmodic manner to the grotesque iniquity of the In- 
dian judicial system — a natural result of a system formed 
by lawmakers and judges without legal education^ and 
making laws and precedents by rule of thumb. Mr. 


Campbell for the north^ and Mr. Norton for the south of 
India^ laid bare the mystery ; and it was so funny that 
the mirth of the public stifled its indignation. As Mr. 
Seton Karr says that '' the corruption of the police has 
been so long- discussed and so fully laid bare that its re- 
form must be a work of time/^ so he and Mr. Grant pro- 
bably think that the abuses of the Civil Courts have now 
been proved to be so intolerable^ that it is in every way 
desirable that the Ryots and the planters should bear 
them. That^ at any rate^ has been their declared inten- 
tion, although that intention seems now likely to be 
baulked. Be it remembered, however, that it is under 
these men's heels our fortunes are now crunching* • and 
the mere fact that we have hopes of being- saved from 
some of the tender mercies they had in store for us, by no 
means diminishes the urg-ency of our cry to be delivered 
altogether from their power. 

The Civil Courts, to which Mr. Grant insists that the 
most trifling indigo causes ought to be confined, afford a 
perpetuity of litigation ', and, until Mr. Grant established 
a rule by which the judgments range all on one side, they 
provided also the greatest possible uncertainty of event, 
from the technicalities of the procedure. 

For a question of 40s there may be in Bengal five 
appeals, and perhaps five times five trials. 

This will not be believed, and we must really ask the 
indulgence of a hearing for two or three actual cases, as 
cited by Mr. Norton from the authorised Eeports. 

Mr. Norton cites his cases for the purpose, among 
other objects, of attacking the competency of the civilians 
to act as judges. Such is not our purpose. We cite 
them to shew that judges are not removed in India 
merely on account of judicial incompetency. We would 


rather take our chance of such judges as may fall to our 
lot^ than have the very worst weeded out for our use^ and 
instructed to decide against us. Mr. Norton says — 

^^ I proceed at once to the Eeports, premising only that 
since their publication these disclosures have frequently 
become the topic of conversation and wonder among re- 
flecting men^ who are scarcely to be put aside by the re- 
mark which usually greets any one who ventures to bring 
sn more than ordinarily atrocious judgment to the notice 
of any of the ' Service ' — ^ Oh^ but that judge is mad !' 
or ^He is an idiot !' or ^ He drinks !' although politeness 
forbids one to put the question which naturally suggests 
itself^ ' Why is such a man permitted to remain on the 
Bench ?'^^ 

^'47 of 1851, vol. 3, p. 135.~Case No. 47 of 1851. 

An appeal from the decision of Mr. _,* C. Judge of 

Guntoor (formerly Judge of the Sudder). This was a 
suit for the recovery of a piece of ground of the value of 
40 rupees (£4.) It was tried over three times \ and at 
the date of the Eeport was sent back by the Sudder for a 
fourth trial, from which it is to be remembered there might 
possibly be a further appeal. The Courts below had 
omitted to record points (in accordance with the Regula- 
tion) for the parties to prove; and both the District 
MoonsifF and the Civil Judge had neglected to notice the 
plea urged hy the Defendants that they had been in pos- 
session for 40 years" 

'' No. 56 of 1851, vol. 8, p. 155.--No. 56 of 1851 


* Mr. Norton gives the names. We omit them to avoid gi?ing pain 
to any of the gentlemen whose decisions are cited. 


amusing'. It is an appeal from a decision of Mr. ^ 

C. Judg-e of Salem, 

"The Plaintiff sued for 125 rupees, money advanced to Defendant 
under a contract for the supply of oil. Defendant pleaded that he had 
been always ready and willing to fulfil his contract, but had been pre- 
vented by the Plaintiff. 

**The Moonsiff who originally tried the case disbelieved the Plaintiff's 
evidence, and gave the Defendant a verdict. 

"The Plaintiff appealed to the C. Judge, who reversed the Moonsiff's 

" The Defendant appealed to the Sudder, who remanded the suit ; 
making the following observations : — * The Court of Sudder Adawlut 

* observe that the C. Judge has evidently mistaken the object for which 

* the suit was brought. It was instituted for the recovery of 125 rupees, 

* advanced by the Plaintiff to the Defendant ; and not, as would seem to 

* be the impression of the C. Judge, for a quantity of oil !* 

" No. 4 of 1847, p. 36, vol. 1, is a short but instruc- 
tive case. 

" The suit was originally brought for a piece of ground of the value 
of 15 rupees {£\. \()s) and a houseof the valueof 40 rupees (364.), and 
for an * injunction to have a wall built.' This case was tvitdi five 
times; and the Sudder, * as at present constituted,' over-ruled their 

*^No. 25 of 1847, p. 46, vol. 1. -This was a Special 

Appeal from the decision of Mr. (afterwards a Judg-e 

of the Sudder Court). 

" It was tried six times, although the Court of Sudder are at last 

* clearly of opinion that this suit is harred hy the Statute of Limita- 
tions: ! I ! 

'^ And the case is further instructive because the lower 
Courts g-ave a verdict for the plaintiff, who sued as heir 
against a personal representative, without enquiring 
whether he was heir^ or if defendant had possessed himself 
of assets!! ! 

" No. 2 of 1849, p. 105, vol. 1.— This is a shocking- 

case. It is from the decision of Mr. , Actg-. Asst. 

Judg-e of the Adawlut Court of Malabar. The amount 


in dispute was small: the amount of litig^ation frightful. 
It appears to have extended over a period from 1825 to 
1849. It was tried over Jive times ^ besides a considerable 
amount of petitioning- ; and after all it turns out to be 
barred by the Statute of Limitations. 

"^ No. 20 of 1848, p. 119, vol. 1.— This is a Special Ap- 
peal from a decision of Mr. , C. Judge of Rajah- 


*' Plaintiff's estate had been put up and sold by the Government for 
arrears of Kist ; a proceeding which, according to the law, satisfies the 
Government claim. And the Proprietor is expressly empowered, by 
Sec. 18 of Reg. 28 of 1802, in such an event to sue his tenants for any 
arrears of rent due by them. The Plaintiff brought his action to recover 
the sum of Rupees 45-12-10 (£4. 10*) the amount of rent due to him 
by the Defendant, his tenant. The Sub-Judge gave him a verdict, 
which the Civil Judge reversed on appeal. The Plaintiff thereupon 
appealed to the Sudder, who naturally reversed the decree of the Civil 

'' Special Appeal Petition^ No. 19 of 1850; p. 6, vol. 2. 
— This was a suit for the recovery of rent. Defendant 
pleaded that he had not occupied the premises. Both 
the lower Courts adjudged him to pay the rent without 
deciding that issue or taking any evidence upon it. The 
Sudder remands it for a third triaV^ 

" No. 13 of 1849; vol. 2, p. 78.— This is a Special 

Appeal from a decision of Mr. ; C. Judge of Tri- 


** It was brought for the recovery of a piece of ground of the value 
of 3 Rupees (6s). It has been tried three times, and remanded for a 
fourth trial. The Defendants had been in * undisturbed possession of 

* the land for a lengthened period.' The Plaintiff proved his purchase 
from a third party ; but the ' title of that party to the land not being 

* satisfactorily established,' the C. Judge reversed the decree of the 
Sudder Ameen in Plaintiff's favour ; but the investigation was carried 
on in such a way that the Sudder declared it * impossible from the 


* evidence before them to arrive at any just or satisfactory conclusion as 
' to which party the land under litigation rightfully belongs/ 

" So here are four trials about a piece of land of the 
value of six shilling's." 

" No. 88 of 1850, vol. 2, p. 89.— A Special Appeal 

against the decision of Mr. _, C. Judg-e of Cud- 


" This is a case for the recovery of Rupees 12-10 damages, in conse- 
quence of an interference of Defendants with the exercise of certain 
privileges of Plaintiff's deceased father. The case has occupied from 
1845 to 1850. It has been already tried three times, and is now to 
begin again." 

" No. 63 of 1848; vol. 2, p. 94.— This is a Special 

Appeal from a decision of Mr. , Acting* C. Judg-e 

of Trichinopoly. When this suit was instituted does not 
appear, further than that it was before 1842. It was a 
simple question of fact. It has been tried eight times" 

Bad enough that such stupidity as is here recorded 
should remain upon the judgment-seat^ but these 
faults do not incur deprivation of authority. Judicial 
officers may commit these blunders and remain. It is 
only if they dare to put in force an Act of Council^ 
or abide by the laws of evidence^ or do right between 
man and man in a way which Mr. Grant dislikes^ that 
they become obnoxious to the absolute power of removal 
exercised by the Governor. We agree with Mr. Norton 
that the judges of whom he complains are not desirable 
upon the bench ) for ignorance works injustice as well as 
subserviency or partiality ; but we should be sorry to see 
even these judges removed by a secret and irresponsible 
mandate, without public accusation^ or public inquiry^ or 


a possibility of public explanation or defence^ as the judi- 
cial officers in the Mofussil were by Mr. Grant. 

The direct object of our quotations^ however^ was to 
sheW; not the ignorance of the civilian judg^es^ but the 
sort of Courts to which Mr. Grant and Mr. Seton Karr 
solemnly decided that all indig-o cases should be con- 
fined. The reader will have observed that nearly all these 
cases, for trifling- sums_, have been tried from three to eight 
times; and, moreover, that they had been in litigation for 
many years.* 

The facts we have proved are so monstrous, that we 
cannot still help fearing, that, although they are so noto- 
rious in India, conceded by every one there, and resting- 
upon the published records of the Courts, the English 
public will think we are overstating our case, and say 
that such things cannot be. All we can say is, here are 
our proofs — the authorised Eeports of the Courts them- 
selves. Now these are the Courts to which Mr. Grant 
and his Secretary, when the question was brought before 
them for an expression of opinion, deliberately determined 
that the jurisdiction over contracts for growing indigo 
ought to be confined. We ask, is it not more cruel to 
leave such a man in powe over us, even than to leave 
upon the bench the blundering judges who make the 
Courts of India a farce ? 

We confine our statement to our own indigo contracts 
because indigo is our business, and because the number 

* It will be answered that some reform in the procedure has recently 
taken place. The answer is ridiculous. The reform is like the reform 
in Chancery ; a good thing as far as it goes, but that is all. You may 
still have five appeals, and a dozen trials, and twenty years of litigation 
about a beegah of indigo stalks. 



of our contracts is so gTeat ; and also because the know- 
ledg-e that the Civil Courts afford no practical remedy 
increases our risks^ and renders it impossible to give the 
cultivator so much for his produce, as we could give him 
if we were buying* a security instead of a hope. But 
the argument is not less strong in favour of a summary 
law of contract for all classes^ natives as well as Eng- 

Evidence is scattered about in reams^ proving to all 

* It is to such courts that at this moment, when indigo contracts and 
rents are aUke repudiated, planters and Zemindars are referred by Mr. 
Grant. In the district of Kishnagur, with 1,500,000 inhabitants, there 
are upwards of 100,000 parties holding indigo contracts, and about 
300,000 who pay, or should pay, rent. Deducting holidays, there are 
not 200 working days of six hours in the year. Suppose every case to 
occupy two hours, though frequently one takes as many days, GOO years 
would be required to hear the complaints, and three times that time to 
decide the appeals. Then the expense of suing on a contract to recover 
10 to 16 rupees would be about as under : — 

Stamp for Mooktearnamah 

„ for petition with affixes, if short, say 
if long, 3r. to 5r. 

„ for tendering witnesses, say four at 8 annas 

„ for reply to defendant's pleas . 

„ for peons fees for giving notice to defendant 
Cost of summoning witnesses, at 1 2 annas . 

Vakeels' fees • 

Mohurrir for writing, etc 

To this add :— 
Expense of sending a servant to the Court to 

produce books, say ..... 
Diet money to witnesses, at 1 rupee 
Sundry expenses for sending to station during 

3 or 4 months, while suit is pending . 
Court Mohurrir, for writing evidence, say 

8 annas each witness ... 





























— 10 8 

Rs. 24 4 


who can hear that the practical denial of legal redress 
raises the rate of interest in the Mofussil* to more than 
£100, per cent, per annum among* those native dealers 
with w^hom every native deals ; that even this rate will 
not cover the risk ; and that the want of capital conse- 
quent upon insecurity keeps the farmer poor and wretched. 
All this has been proved ; for it seems this self-evident 
necessary law of political economy required to he proved 
before this Commission. But all in vain. Mr. Seton 
Karr^ representing the Lieutenant-Governor's classical 
animosity to the British settler ; the Baboo^ representing* 
the short-sighted love of shirks and evasions of the class 

* See the evidence of Mr. MacNair before the Colonization Com- 
mittee, 1858, upon this point. 

** 2001. Mr. Willoughhy.'] Do you mean the advance of funds? — 
Yes, to native cultivators. In India, where the system of advance pre- 
vails to such an extent, where the native cultivators are generally so 
poor, they cannot provide seed for their lands, or engage to deliver any 
produce, without previously obtaining a considerable advance, generally 
equal to the value of- the produce, a good law of contract is much re- 
quired for all classes, JEnglish and natives. Government found it 
necessary to have stringent laws of contract for their own opium ad- 
vances; and if they would extend that law to all parties, Europeans and 
natives, it would save a great deal of litigation and cases of affrays. The 
present law of complaining before the Civil Courts is so expensive and 
tedious, it is, in fact, an encouragement to ill-disposed people to break 
their contracts ; it is a very common thing for small natives who save 
or have a little money, to lend it or make advances to natives upon 
their crops ; most of tJiem are ruined from not heing able to recover 
their advances, which is the sole cause why so very exorbitant rates are 
taken by native dealers. These high rates bear hard upon the poor 
cultivators, and is the principal cause of their poverty. It seems to be 
a popular proposition of Government to put all their subjects upon the 
same footing, and under the same laws ; but they claim to heep their 
own servants of every grade ^ from the highest to the lowest, exempt 
from these laws, and also have different laws of contract for their own 
opium and salt advances.'" "What would Mr. Karr and Mr. Grant say 
if it were proposed to take away their summary jurisdiction over the 
Government salt and opium Ryots ? They would say, and would say 
truly, that it was a proposition to destroy an annual seven millions of 
public revenue. _ 


of Ryots ', and the Missionary, representing- we know 
not what, determine that there shall be no cheap and 
speedy law of contracts in India, lest the planters should 
g-et justice, and that all India shall have long* expensive 
suits, lest the British settler should grow up to over- 
shadow the civilian. 

Mr. Temple must have laughed much at his colleagues' 
notions of capital and labour, and at their ideas of the 
mode of judging* the profit upon manufactured articles, 
by g'etting- at the price of the raw material, and also at 
their imperviousness to the fact that the interest of money 
bears some relation to the security of the loan ^ but he 
must have laughed still more heartily at the clumsy notion 
of ruining' a gTeat interest b}^ drowning* them in law costs. 
Mr. Temple knows, that if the planters were so reckless 
and so wicked as to do against others what is done ag-ainst 
them, they might, at the last desperate moment, clog* all 
the courts of Beng-al, and spread all over the land the 
devastation of that infamous law which is, and ever has 
been, the admitted reproach and opprobrium of our rule 
in India. 

We were at first struck with wonder that there should 
be three men in India who could sig-n such a document 
as this y but we understand it all when we recog-nise in the 
last parag-raphs polite recapitulations of Mr. Grant's own 
phrases, fresh from his Minute, and we remember that 
Mr. Seton Karr drew the Report, and that in all pro- 
bability the Baboo and the Missionary knew little of the 
technicalities of this question, and cared not to dispute 
with a judge upon the efficiency of his own courts. 

This is all. This is all which Mr. Karr and his two 


coadjutors recommend. No injunctions ag-ainst perwan- 
nahs. No recommendations to Governors not to inter- 
meddle between buyers and sellers. No disapproval of 
proclamations to cultivators absolving* them from their 
contracts. No sug-g-estion to State officers to let com- 
merce and trade alone. They recommend only more 
magistrates^ whom Mr. Grant shall appoint and remove 5 
more pay to Mr. Grant's corrupt police 5 and more suits^ 
which shall be interminable^ or over which Mr. Grant 
shall have absolute dominion. Is not this a Report worthy 
of the wisdom and the impartiality of the source whence 
it proceeds ! 

Let us now turn for a moment to the separate Report 
made by Mr. Temple and Mr. Ferg-usson. 

We cannot of course^ expect from Mr. Temple^ all civi- 
lian as he is^ more than that his class instincts should be 
controlled by his g-eneral g-ood sense and by his hig-her 
intelliofence. We must not seek from him admissions of 
that traditionary jealousy which the Civil Service have 
always entertained for a class of whom Dwarkanauth 
Tag'ore could publicly say, that they were more valuable 
to India than the Civil Service. No civilian would just 
now admit this. We must be content to mark the hostile 
instincts of the Civil Service in the public records of their 
offices, in the acts of their Government, in the whole con- 
stitution of Indian society, in the public crimes whereof 
we now impeach Mr. J. P. Grant, and in the ruin of 
^^ the mainstay and chief hope of stability of British 
power in the East." We must not expect Mr. Temple to 
tell us, that while the British House of Commons have 
been sitting' in anxious dehberation to devise means of 


scattering" over the rural districts of India^ Europeans, 
whose skilly energy^ and capital, may brace tog-ether in 
industrious force that relaxed and feeble population,* the 
fanatical members of the Civil Service have been endea- 
vouring* to accomplish an exactly opposite task. Just as 
Mr. Temple is more clever and more keen than his col- 
leagues, so is he more skilful to avoid placing* the weak- 
nesses of his caste in a conspicuous light. 

The way at this moment to quiet India is to bring a 
great criminal to justice. Shocking as it ma}^ be to the 
notions of civilians, who think it little less than impiety 
to lay a hand upon a member of the White Brahmin caste, 
there is no other remedy even for state crimes but punish- 
ment. In England, if a Minister had interfered with the 
course of justice as Mr. J. P. Grant has done, dismissing 
magistrates according* to his will, and with the avowed in- 
tention of obtaining a certain class of decisions ; circulat- 
ing pattern decisions to magistrates whose bread hung 
upon his breath, that Minister would have been punished. 
There is no other real remedy for the ruin which is now 
rising in India. For the crimes of stirring up debtors 
against their creditors, and of violently detorting the 
course of justice, are not crimes whose consequences can 
be neutralized by a mere law. You cannot prevent rob- 
beries or murders by enacting that henceforth there shall 
be no robberies and no murders — they are crimes which 
must be put down by punishment. It is not to be endured, 
that in a country where all men are supposed to have equal 
rights, a Minister should do these things, and should then 

* '* The Ryot works three hours a day upon an average." — Mr. 
Larmour's Evidence. 


point to the disruption of that social order which it was 
his duty to maintain^ and to say, '^ I thought it right to 
do this.*' The only remedy for such crimes is inquiry, 
impeachment, and punishment. 

Nothing of this shall we find in Mr. Temple's Report. 
Mr. Temple thinks that the corruption of the police is '' at 
the root of the matter." This is to a certain extent true : 
but now the police are not 07ily corrupt. They know now 
which side they may safely abuse. The police take their 
tone from their masters. When the Lieutenant-Governor 
stamps his bias so unquestionably upon the judge, there 
can be little surprise that it should be seen in operation a 
stage lower down. It has been deposed by Mr. Dalrym- 
ple, that bodies of police do vary according to the char- 
acter of the magistrate, and that there are actually some 
active magistrates who have brought their police to such 
perfection, that it is scarcely possible to bribe them. If a 
judge may coerce his constabulary to honesty, or at least 
to caution, how prompt will they be to lend their assistance 
against any class he ma}^ be thought to dislike. 

Nevertheless, as a general proposition, it is true that 
the corruption of the Government police is a great diffi- 
culty — a difficulty to which, when are superadded, the 
whole power of the Government exerted to produce a 
strike, a despotic minister shuffling the judges and opening- 
the gaols, and the total negation of all civil remedy for 
the enforcement of contracts, the contest becomes hopeless 

Mr. Temple does not, however, leave us with a barren 
recommendation to change the nature of our own native 
servants and of the Government pohce. He stands by 

MR. temple's answer TO MR. SETON KARR. 147 

his order as he can ; but he slips away from the side of 
Mr. Seton Karr when that g-entleman adopts too literally 
the notion of Mr. Grant, his principal, proposing- to try 
the property in bundles of indigo plant by ^^ equity suits." 
Mr. Temple reports, as we have already said^ in favour 
of a Summary Process Act.* 

* It is important that the reader should have before him the principal 
arguments with which Mr. Temple and Mr. Fergusson combat the 
proposition of Mr. Seton Karr to leave the planters remediless to their 
fate: — 

*' The precarious nature of the crop in Lower Bengal, the critical emer- 
gencies which arise in the cultivation of indigo, have been shewn in the 
Report. Similar emergencies may arise even in the manufacture. Thus 
it is possible, and does actually happen, that the planter is involved in 
sudden difBculties through no fault of his own. His Ryots may have 
taken advances, and then refuse to sow; or they may delay to sow within 
a few hours, during which alone the sowing for a season's crop will be 
possible. There is hardly any other product, the culture of which is 
liable to such a crisis as this. Then in the midst of the manufacturing 
season the hired labourer may absent himself, or, contrary to agreement, 
strike for higher wages. The Ryot (especially if as suggested he received 
a considerable payment, whether a crop is cut or not) may refuse to 
exert himself in the case of inundation or destructive accidents. Now it 
appears to us that wherever the conduct of any business is from its nature 
critical; wherever breach of contract would, if not immediateli/ redressed, 
cause irre'parable loss or inconvenience to the opposite party ; the policy 
of the law has been to render such breach of contract liable^ criminal 
penalties. Such has been the principle followed in the case of domestic 
servants, of workmen, of railway labourers, and, as we understand, in the 
case of coffee planters ; and recently this appears to have been the 
principle which guided the Legislature in passing the Snmmary and 
Temporary Act for indigo cultivation during the season of 1860. If 
the principle has been correctly described above, then we submit that it 
applies in the cultivation and manufacture of indigo cultivation as much 
as to any case whatever. Indeed, we believe that in none of the cases 
in which the principle has been sanctioned, is the business more critical, 
or the inconvenience more immediate, or the loss more difficult of repa- 
ration, than in the case of indigo cultivation. 

" We would therefore recommend that the Act of XI. of i860, render- 
ing breaches of contract to cultivate indigo criminally punishable by the 
magistrate, might be made permanent, with certain modifications. And 
we viTould extend it to breaches of contract to manufacture indigo, so 
that a Ryot who has engaged to cultivate, or a labourer who has 

K 2 


Mr. Temple also recommends a reg'istration of indig-o 
contracts. This would be a very convenient course^ if 
the planters could have any confidence in the g-overnors 

engaged to manufacture, may be by law compelled summarily to fulfil 
his engagement. 

" It may be asked why should such criminal penalties be enacted to 
enforce contracts to cultivate indigo, -when there is no such law for con- 
tracts to cultivate any other crop. To this we would reply, that, in the 
first place, with no other crop is the culture affected by such emergencies 
as with indigo. Rice or jute, or other products, do not, like indigo, need 
to be sown on the instant, after a particular shower. Such products are 
sown in the rainy season, and the sowings may be completed to-day, or 
to-morrow, or the next day, or the day after that. But with indigo the 
sowing must be completed within a few hours, or it may prove a failure. 
So it often happens with it in cutting. Much of the plant is grown on 
the river side. Frequently the river may be rising just as the plant is 
being cut. If there be the least delay, the crop may be damaged or de- 
stroyed by inundation. 

*' In the next place, with indigo the cultivation has to be arranged 
for, and the manufacture to be managed by the same capitalists. This 
is not the case with other produce generally. With an article like rice, 
the village banker may advance some money to the Ryot on the security 
of the crop, and the lender may take a part of the crop in payment ; but 
beyond the repayment of the loan he has no interest in the crop. If the 
Ryot fail to sow or to raise a crop, the banker will nevertheless sue the 
Ryot and recover his own vvith interest. But the indigo planter advances 
cash, not to trade in money and the interest thereof, but to ensure the 
dehvery of a certain quantity of plant. It is in the plant that the planters' 
hopes centre. It is for this that he invests capital in building factories 
and maintains expensive establishments. If therefore, there be a failure 
of the plant, the planter loses not only the sums he has advanced (which 
may be of comparatively lesser consequence), but the season's profit, for 
the sake of which so much capital has been sunk, so much current 
expense incurred. If such a loss occur, it will be of httle use to the 
planter to sue the Ryot for the recovery of advances. Such recovery 
would not cover more than a fraction of the damage sustained. It is 
evident, therefore, that the liabilities incurred by the indigo planter, and 
the stake held by him in the culture are not to be compared with the 
limited risk run by those who lend money to cultivators of land. We 
therefore confidently submit, that in this very respect the production of 
indigo is, in the nature of things, widely different from the case of any 
other product in Lower Bengal. 

" Further, it may be said, if a law of this nature be enacted for indigo 
contracts, it may be equally required for silk contracts, and perhaps 
other similar contracts. Doubtless this is true. And if the just pro- 
tection of the silk interest, or other interest similarly circumstanced with 


placed over them. But when discussing' this very subject^ 
Mr. Seton Karr insisted that the only plan consistent 
with the dignity of the service would be^ that the planter 

indigo, should require a special contract law, such lawful assistance 
might, we think, with good policy, be conceded. 

" Lastly, although the practice of advances by indigo planters to 
Ryots is not a desirable one, and might with advantage be discontinued, 
still we apprehend that as, hy the custom of the country, nothing can be 
done without cash advances, these will have to be continued. Then, if 
the planters should (as we hope they will) consent to grant the amount 
of advances to the Ryot absolutely, whether the crop yield that value or 
not, whereby the risk now borne by the Ryot will be transferred to the 
planter ; then we observe that an ill-disposed Ryot will have a certain 
degree of temptation to neglect his cultivation, being assured beforehand 
of a fixed payment. Now this inevitable disadvantage, in a scheme that 
is otherwise excellent, will be removed by a special law such as we re- 
commend. If a Ryot shall try to abuse the advantage conceded to him, 
the planter will have a real means of redress. And the consciousness of 
this would, we believe, render planters more ready to make to the Ryot 
those concessions which are so desirable. 

" For all these reasons we recommend that a law like that of xAct XI. 
of 1860, be enacted for indigo contracts. We anticipate, that, under 
the better system which must now be introduced, such a law will seldom 
have to be actually enforced, and that numerous cases like those which 
occurred in Kishnaghur district and which were much to be regretted, 
would not occur in future. The moral effect of such an enactment would 
suffice, in ordinary times, to induce Byots to fulfil their engagements, 
and would give confidence to the planting interest, at a time when severe 
sacrifices are demanded of it. 

•' When a similar law was enacted in 1835, it did, we believe, work 
well, and was approved by the Government of the time. It was after- 
wards repealed, because it was thought to operate prejudicially to the 
Ryot. But with the improvements which we hope to see effected, the 
Ryot will be in a good and independent position ; and there will be no 
fear of the law pressing more hardly upon him that it does upon do- 
mestic servants, artificers and labourers. 

** But if a law on the principle of Act XI. of 1860 be enacted, we do 
not think that the taking of a cash advance, which is, by the present 
law, the test of a contract having been made, would suit as a primary 
condition in a permanent law. Such a provision would tend to rencler 
permanent the vicious system of advances which now pervades every 
description of work, and every kind of transaction, whether it be the 
Government manufacture of opium and salt, the making of indigo, and 
indeed, every thing else. The condition should be a regular contract to 
cultivate, or a contract to manufacture. And measures should be taken 
to ensure the\contract being regular and hondfide^ — Meport. 


and all his Ryots should journey off to the mag-istrate at 
a distance. Of course^ as was explained to him, not a 
Ryot would g-o^ and there would be no valid contracts. 
Or^ probably, if the planter were to be earnest in at- 
tempting- to entice his Ryots to g'o and have his contract 
registered, he would be charged by Mr. Grant with '^ kid- 
napping-^' them. 

Mr. Temple also deals with another matter, which, 
seeing" that Mr. Grant has so expounded the Act as to 
convey to the Ryots the impression that all their contracts 
are void, may well occasion some future trouble. 

After stating- his views as to reg-istered contracts 

^^ We would then make the breach of a registered con- 
" tract to cultivate indigo punishable by a ma^strate, but 
" not any other contract except a registered one. It would 
^^ be very desirable to make the terms of such contracts 
'^ explicit, so as to include the whole process of cultivating-, 
" from the ploug-hing- to the cutting- and delivery at the 
^^ factory. We do not think that reg'istration of ag-ree- 
^^ ments on the part of coolies to manufacture indig-o 
^^ would be necessary. We would, however, have breaches 
^^ of such ag-reements punished by a mag-istrate, in the 
" same manner as breaches of contract on the part of 
'^ workmen or domestic servants." 

Mr. Temple adds — 

^^ While recommending- a law prescribing- criminal pe- 
^^ nalties for the breach of registered contracts to culti- 
^^ vate indig-o ; and while also admitting- the great improve- 
" ment made in the ordinary Civil procedure ] we antici- 
" pate that there will probably arise cases, or classes of 

MR. temple's recommendations. 151 

^' caseS; for which some special measures will be desirable. 
" There are, we believe^ in many indig"o concerns, con- 
" tracts made by Ryots previously to the present year, 
'' to cultivate indig'o for various periods or terms of years 
" not 3^et expired. Such contracts will probably be found 
^^ to have been made by the Ryots according* to the un- 
'' derstanding", at the time existing-, of the relations be- 
" tween the planter and the Ryot. In the present state 
^^ of feeling- among- the people, it appears not impossible 
^^ that some of these contracts mig-ht be disputed or repu- 
'^ diated by the Ryot. Without attempting to form any 
^^ opinion on the validity or otherwise of such contracts, a 
" matter which must depend upon the merit of cases, we 
^' still think that the occurrence of such disputes should 
'' be watched. If in any district a considerable number 
^^ of these contracts should be disputed, it would be very 
'^ desirable to depute some competent and selected officers 
'^ to try promptly on the spot any suits that mig-ht be 
^^broug'ht, and to carry out their decisions with effect. 
" The course to be pursued, however, should be well con- 
'^ sidered, because the settlement of one case at the out- 
^^ set mig-ht g-overn the decision of a g-reat number of 
'^ other cases." 

Here comes the g-reat kidnapping- question — 
^* Act X. of 1859, which abolishes the power previously 
" vested in a landlord of summoning- his tenant for the 
^^ payment of rent, has been much complained of by 
^^ planters, as interfering with their manorial influence 
*^ over the Ryot ) and evidence on the point has been ten- 
*^ dered. We admit the importance in many ways of pre- 
^' serving the influence of the landlord over his tenantry, 


" but we must trust that whether they have the power of 
" summoning- vested in the law, or not, the landowners 
" still exercise great influence. We do not wish to elevate 
^' the peasant at the expense of the upper class, but the 
^^ peasant is entitled to a certain deg-ree of protection. 
"And many experienced men think that the additional 
" protection afforded by the new law was really needed in 
" Beng-al. We do not see, moreover, how this law affects 
" the planters more than other landlords, and on the whole 
" we refrain from offering- any recommendation on this 
" head. We have done enoug-h in drawing- attention to 
" the subject, and we hesitate, as at present informed, to 
" do more. 

"But now that indig-o planters have become larg-e 
" landed proprietors, and indeed form a very important 
'^ section in the landholding- community, it is evident that 
" the indig'o interest has become bound up in the tenure of 
" land." 

Now arises the question of rent. The Report of Mr. 
Temple and Mr. Ferg-usson continues — 

" As the planters have, in common with other land- 
" lords, been deprived of the power of summoning- Rj^ots, 
" we would venture to draw the attention of Government 
" to the speedy recovery of rents. If power be taken 
" from the landlord, it is the more necessary that the law 
" should afford prompt redress. We know that attention 
" was g-iven to this point in the framing' of Act XI. of 
" 1860. And we trust that adequate machinery may be 
" available for ensuring- the expeditious recovery of rent, 
" as the matter deeply affects the settlement of European 
" capitalists in the interior.'' 


Mr. Temple also g-ives advice to the planters^ and we 
are sure it will be received in an amicable spirit. Mr. 
Temple's very judicious advice is to raise the price of the 
indig-o plant to the Ryot. The only objection we have to 
offer to this recommendation is^ that it was not necessary 
when it was available, for that we were just attempting* 
to ag-ree upon the terms ^ and that it is now rendered 
impracticable or unavailing* by Mr. Grant's interference. 

Just previous to Mr. Eden's perwannahs, when the 
Government took upon themselves to spong*e out all the 
oblig'ations of the Ryots to the planters, every indig-o 
factor had become persuaded that the time had arrived 
when, in some way, the price of the indigo plant must be 
raised. Rice had risen y labour had risen (nearly cent 
per cent in a few years) 5 the Government salt Ryots — 
poor wretches I — were literally starving* ; the opium 
Ryots were working* for the prices they received when 
rice was one-half the present ruling* prices. There was 
discontent everywhere. The indig-o planters were a little 
a-head of other employers of labour, for they had doubled 
their wag-es and trebled their prices within thirty years, 
which was more than twice as much as the Government 
had done for its Ryots. But Government had their forced 
labour, and their summary laws, and the planters had no 
forced labour and no laws at all. The only question was, 
what concession should be made, and how it should be 
made ? This was what was then ag-itating* the Mofussil. 
The parties were cautiously scanning* each other, as is the 
wont of barg-ain-making. This was the intention of one 
of the foremost, and as Mr. Temple rightly calls him, 
^^ one of the most eminent and experienced among* the 


body of planters^ Mr. James Forlong-." We take the 
passage from Messrs. Temple and Ferg-usson's Re- 
port : — 

'^ My own intention is to make a contract with the 
'^ ByotS; of as simple a character as possible^ to give each 
" man a cash advance of two rupees a beegah^ which^ as 
'^ he would have it for twelve months without interest^ 
" would be equal; at the lowest^ to three rupees a beeg-ah ; 
^^ that the above two rupees should be g-iven to the Kyot, 
'* on condition of his cultivating-^ irrespective of all risk to 
'^ himself connected with the crop ; that whether there is 
" a crop; or no crop at all^ no portion of this money should 
^^ be charg'ed to him in any future account^ thereby se- 
'^ curing under any circumstances to the Eyot a reason- 
^^ able remuneration for his labour^ and for the rent of his 
^^ land. *Eight bundles per beegah would pa}^ off the 
" first advance^ and a Byot^ with ordinary luck and 
^^ industry^ might very easily secure a crop of double the 
^^ amount. I would also abolish the charges for stamp^ 
^^ for carriage^ for seed 3 throwing- really the risk of the 
" crop upon the factory^ and leaving a hope of a very 
^^ liberal return to the cultivator." 

Different factories were differently circumstanced. 
Many were already giving a rupee for four bundles. 
There were various arrangements as to carrying the 
plant. All these matters required much bargaining and 
adaptation to the desires of the Eyots. But all was 
coming to a compromise \ and as the Ryots could prac- 
tically hold out; and the planters could not; things would 

* Note in Report. — This is at the rate of one rupee per four 
bundles, which, at the present rate of price, is a fair price. 


have rig-hted themselves^ as all such matters of bargain 
do rig'ht themselves. 

Then it was that Mr. Grant was^ unhappily^ appointed 
to succeed Sir F. Halliday as Lieut. -Governor of Ben- 
g"al ; and in a few hours it was believed that he united 
the two most disastrous crazes that a man in office can 
have in his head^ and he brought them to bear upon this 
delicate conjuncture. His acts have justified all men in 
concluding" that he considers it his duty to vindicate the 
supremacy of the Civil Service by crushing* any class 
that should rise in stature to it^ and that it is the duty of 
a Government to make the barg-ains between its subjects. 
Hence these proclamations^ these encourag-ements^ to the 
Eyots not to sow— for it would be mere prevarication, 
when you had told a prepaid hoveller that he need not 
sow, to aver that you did not exhort him not to sow — ' 
and hence those memorable interferences with the course 
of British justice. 

How could concessions be made in the face of such 
acts as these ? There was the Lieut.-Governor, leading* 
in a new Saturnian Ag-e, conxing* to the rescue. How 
could the planter expect the Eyot to listen to easy me^ 
thods of working out advances, when Mr. Grant and Mr. 
Eden told him he need not work at all — for to sow means 
to work, so far as the planter is concerned — and where 
every concession made would only be thoug'ht a sacrifice 
to palliate the ire of Mr. Grant ? 

When he had done this, Mr. Grant looked on com- 
placently, and wrote home to say — He knew it must 
come. If he had told the Home Government the truth, 
he would have said— He was determined to do it. He 


did it wilfully^ and by the boldest means. He^ never 
having" any rig'ht to interfere in any way in the matter^ 
now taunts us with not having* made concessions^ when 
he interrupted us in the process^ and rendered them im- 

Even he himself is now driven to promise some con- 
cessions to his wretched salt B-yots^ but they are not yet 
made. Those people are now literally starving-. Suppose 
we had sent emissaries among- them. It would have been 
easy to raise those poor hungry creatures^ lang^uishing- in 
their forced labour. But Mr. Grant has only to decide^ 
and he still deliberates : we had free men to deal with^ 
and we had to barg-ain. But he takes his time while these 
men starve, and he rushes down to crush us because we 
were in a momentary difficulty^ and it was a chance 
to ruin an independent class of Enghshmen. 

This is the reply which we make to Mr. Temple when 
he exhorts us to make concessions^ and to advance our 
offers with the increase of prices of food and labour. We 
are not^ and never have been^ such fools as not to know 
that this must be done. Mr. Temple must not measure 
the knowledge of commercial men in such matters by the 
state of thick darkness which he and Mr. Ferg-usson 
found at the Board of the Indig-o Commission ; or by 
the state of mind of that eminent official^ who writes mi- 
nutes on capital and labour which would astonish Adam 
Smithy and who thinks it the duty of a Government to 
fix^ with popular proclamations^ and with a phantasma- 
goria of ever-changing- magistrates, the price of indigo 
leaves. But we must make these advances and these 
concessions in our own way, and in our Ryots' way, as 


we can aiFord, and as they will find them advantag-eous. 
We cannot nail an indig-o broker by the ears till he buys 
our indig'o in the Manchester market at a stated price^ 
nor an indig'o Ryot by the ears till he has broug-ht us his 
twenty bundles per beeg-ah in the Mofussil. The hazards 
of the indig'o manufacturer are very g-reat ; even as g*reat 
as the manufacture is beneficial to the country and the 
people of India. No capitalist runs these hazards^ with- 
out the hope of his profits being" larg-er than if his money 
were embarked in what is considered a perfectly secure 
investment. But^ looking* to the past^ there have been 
but few fortunes made by indig'o^ and the balances on 
the books of the g-reat houses that failed between 1830 
and 1832^ and again in 1847^ tell a very different tale 
to there having- been any thing- like inordinate profits 
among- the indig-o planters. With reduced expenditure 
and a g-reater economy^ of late years^ the concerns in 
those districts where they have had favourable weather, 
have been doing- well. In other districts the planter has 
had to contend with the usual dang-ers— too much or too 
little rain ; too much or too little sun ; storms, caterpil- 
lars, locusts, and white ants ; and, finally, the greatest 
white ant of all, the Government, personified in Mr. J. 
P. Grant. 

Yet the Government cannot complain that the planters 
were not ductile and humble. When it appeared certain 
that Mr. J. P. Grant would not allow the planters to 
conduct their own business ', when Mr. Grant had practi- 
cally outlawed them, and had shut the labour-market 
ag-ainst them, and had appointed a commission to ascer- 
tain upon what terms they should be allowed to trade ; 


when the commission had split into two sections^ and the 
majority had been dehvered of a Report^ which^ for par- 
tiahty^ ig-norance^ and absurdity^ is the pattern State- 
paper of India^ deserving- only to be docketted with Mr. 
Grant's Minute, Mr. Eden's perwannahs, and Mr. Hers- 
chel's pattern decision : when all this had been accom- 
plished, and the indigo lands lay all unsown, and the fac- 
tories closed, the planters recognised the position which 
Mr. Grant had assumed as the despotic licenser of trade, 
and wrote him a proposal, under which they hoped that 
this Government trades-union would stop the strike, and 
allow the eight millions of dead capital to operate, and 
the two millions of trade returns annually to circulate in 
the Mofussil. Here is the letter — 


'^ Sir, — I am directed by the Central Committee of the 
Indigo Planters' Association to submit to you, for the 
information of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of 
Bengal, the following* suggestions as to changes in the 
system of Eyottee indigo cultivation which the Commit- 
tee have, as regards planters, recommended for general 
adoption in Lower Bengal. 

" That the contract be in the simplest form practicable, 
signed by both parties stipulating in the case of the 
Eyottee cultivation, on the one side for the cultivation of 
a certain quantity of land, and on the other side, for pay- 
ment of the plant at a certain price. 

^^ Contracts for labour, carts, boats, &c. &c., to be in 
similar simple forms. 

'^ That on signing the contract an advance be made in 


cash of a certain sum per beeg'ah, out of which say eig-ht 
annas per beeg*ah shall be a separate and specific payment 
for the use and occupation of the land ; the size of the 
beeg-ah to be specified in the contract. 

" That the factory shall bear all the expense of provid- 
ing^ seed^ stamps, and carriage^ for which the planter 
shall pay separately^ leaving* to the Eyot only the plough- 
ing-, sowing*, weeding*^ and cutting*. 

'' That the planter shall pay to the Ryot for the plant a 
price to be specified in the contract, and which the Com- 
mittee believe, will, for the ensuing* season, in almost all 
cases, except chur lands^ be at the rate of four bundles per 
rupee in Lower Bengal. 

" That should the number of bundles realized from the 
beegah be insufficient to cover the advance made^ then 
the loss shall be borne equally by the planter and the 

'^ That all accounts with the Ryots shall be settled an- 
nually^ as soon as practicable after the close of the manu- 
facture, and that whatever fazil^ or balance may be due 
to the Ryot shall be paid to him in cash. 

^^ That in the event of the Ryot artfully or fraudulently 
evading* the contract fairly entered into, or neg*lecting the 
cultivation, he shall be punishable, as provided by Act XI. 
of 18G0, or as provided by Sections 2 and 3 of Act V. of 
I83O3 or by a penalty of five times the amount advanced 
to be summarily recovered. 

'^ I have to remark, in the first place, that the price to 
be paid for the bundle of plant must be left for individual 
adjustment. One rule and one price could not hold g-ood, 
or be fair in the case of plant, the produce of the churs of 


the rivers^ cultivated with little or no trouble^ and scarcely 
requiring- weeding*^ and in the case of plant grown on rich 
and heavy hig-h lands ; but it is evident that a fair price, 
remunerating- to the Ryot^ must be g-iven, or he will not 
undertake the cultivation. 

'^ Secondly — To clause 5 it will, no doubt, be objected, 
that the new system still involves the chance of balance 
accumulating- ag-ainst the Ryot. The Committee will 
reg-ret much if this should be the result, but they feel that, 
unless some responsibility attaches to the Ryot, he will 
not perform his eng-ag*ement or cultivate properly. 

" If the Ryot was certain of enjoying- his advance with- 
out interest, whether there be a crop or not, the planters 
think the consequences will be that there will be no crop. 

" In the manufacture of salt, in the cultivation of opium, 
and of all other crops, the risk remains with the Ryots • 
but in consideration of the precarious nature of the indig-o 
crop in Lower Beng-al, the Committee recommends that 
only half the risk, as reg-ards liability for cash advanced 
for cultivation, should be borne by the Ryot. 

^' The Committee trust that, in the case of contracts 

fairly and freely entered into on these or similar terms, the 

indig-o planters will have the protection of a law similar 

to Act XI. of 1860, or to the rescinded clauses of Act V. 

of 1830, so that they may not suffer ruinous loss from the 

violation of engag-ements as to indig-o plant, which would 

certainly be the case if they were referred to a Civil suit 

for redress. 

'^ I have the honour to be, Sir, 

^^ Your most obedient servant, 

(Sig-ned) " W. F. Fergusson, 

" Secretary y 


In this position Mr. Grant hasg-ained his point. Whether 
he accept or refuse the tender of the Planters' Association, 
he has succeeded insubjug-ating* the whole class to the Civil 
Service, even to the making* them take from the Civil Ser- 
vice the prices at which they shall deal, and the terms on 
which they shall buy produce. He has reduced it now 
to this, that independent British commerce must dwindle 
away, or the Civil Service of India must be reduced to a 
level with other classes of g'entlemen in India. As it now 
exists the Civil Service is an anachronism ', it is hostile to 
all the principles of free commerce ; it is tyrannical , a 
meddler with the course of justice and with the private 
dealings of men ; a despot doing* despotism upon old-world 
fancies of reg-ulating* prices and keeping* up exclusive 
castes. Either that foohsh Service, which will not learn, 
must g*o ; or British capital must fly, and India must g*o 
back to what it was in the time of Lord Cornwallis, when, 
as that Governor-General declared, one-third of the 
Company's territories were jung-le. 




It is not a satisfactor}^ success to have proved that we 
are smking* to ruin. Nor is it g-reat reason for joy to have 
shewn that this position has been, as we believe, wantonly 
broug-ht about by a man who seems to combine in himself 
every mischievous quality which a man in power can have^ 
and yet who still is in power. 

We have had to develop in these pages the ancient 
traditionary policy of the East India Company and its 
servants to keep all independent British capitahsts out of 
India ', and, when they could no long*er keep them out, 
to discourag-e them as much as possible. We have had 
to tell how, when they strug-g-led in, bring-ing* blessing's 
with them, the Civil Service have uniformly used the 
power which every despotic Government has over an 
Asiatic people, to make these British settlers not only 
landless outlaws, but outlaws whom the natives were ex- 
cited to defraud. We have been obliged also to recount 
how, when in early times they raised their hand to defend 
those interests which the law left undefended, they were 
misrepresented and calumniated in England as despera- 
does and lawless ruffians. 

We have, further, had to trace how, when by their 
energy and perseverance, and by aid of the sympathy of 


their countrymen at home^ they emerged^ to a partial de- 
gree, from this state of outlawry, and created little circles 
of civilization around them, they were still pursued by 
constant calumnies, and were always being* made the ob- 
jects of accusations, which successive Governors-General 
have carefully investigated, and have uniformly dismissed 
as groundless 

We have proved, also, from a concurrence of the most 
opposite testimon}", that the planters, as a body, have al- 
w^ays been kind in their treatment and faithful in their 
dealings with the natives; that they have made the barren 
wilderness to smile ; that they have made the season of 
famine tolerable ; that they have been the only refuge to 
the small cultivators in their frequent moments of dis- 
tress ; that they have been money-lenders without inte- 
rest, physicians without recompence, arbitrators without 
fees, forbearing landlords, and indulgent creditors. We 
have proved these facts by the unwilling- admissions of 
magistrates, judges, collectors, and Zemindars ; and have 
sealed their authenticity by the authority of the greatest 
statesmen whom India has ever received at the hands of 
England. We have explained that all this has so hap- 
pened, not because Indigo manufacturers are better than 
other Englishmen, but because they have seen their true 
interest in working their w^a}^ by kindness ; and have been 
compelled, by the conditions of their isolated position 
among an improvident, necessitous, and ignorant multi- 
tude, to exercise to their advantage their superior provi- 
dence, and their better knowledge of the charities of life, 
and the resources of science. We have she^vn that the 
natural and the actual result has been, that where indigo 

L 2 


is cultivated the Ryot is better fed^ better clothed^ and 
better cared for than where indig^o is unknown ; and we 
have called forth those two natives^ who are almost the 
only natives known to the Western world at once for 
their wealthy their charity^ their patriotism^ and their 
philosophy^ who have proclaimed it as the result of all 
their life-long- experience that these British settlers have 
done more to benefit India and the Hindoo than any 
other class of men^ whether in or out of the Service. 

Ag*ainst this picture we have been oblig-ed to set that 
of the persecutors^ who at Calcutta have had the power of 
making" laws^ and who have always seen in this indepen- 
dent class of country g-entlemen enemies to the monopo- 
lies which they cherished^ the abuses which they desired 
to hide^ and the supremacy which they very naturally 
valued. We have shewn that when the British settlers 
made known to the people of England the character of 
the Company's dealing's with the princes of India^ the 
Company retaliated with fabled accusations against the 
planters in the Mofussil ; that when the British settlers 
exposed the national losses sustained by the Company's 
commercial monopolies^ the Company retaliated b}^ refus- 
ing- to allow the planters to hold land; that when the 
planters persuaded their countrymen ag-ainst renewing* 
the Compan3^'s charter^ the Company's officers retaliated 
hy withdrawing the remedies which they had in 1830 en- 
joyed hy the law for the enforcement of their indigo con- 
tracts — and which they re-enacted with more string-ent 
clauses for their own protection against the opium R3'ots 
a few 3 ears afterwards ] and that when the British 
settlers attempted to shew the English pubhc how much 


the evil org-anization of the Civil Service had to do with 
the mutinies, the Civil Service once more retorted by ob- 
taining- the withdrawal of that power of caUing- up their 
tenants and cultivators to attend their audits^ which all 
Zemindars, both British and native, had previously en- 

We have shewn, also, how one step further down had 
placed the two classes in still strong-er antag-onism ', how 
the British settlers made known in Eng-land the g-reat 
evil of the old Indian cozenag^e j and how they pressed 
upon public opinion at home the propriety of breaking- up 
the ^^ Nobility of India,'' and opening* it to the competi- 
tion of the whole youth of Britain and Ireland. "We 
have quoted the evidence that has been g-iven before Com- 
mittees 3 and we have confessed in the production of that 
evidence, which was but a small part of what was really 
done, abundant provocation to arouse the ang-er of the 
remnant of the old unreformed Civil Service. 

Lastly, we have narrated by what arts the present re* 
presentative in Beng-al of that Service has aveng-ed his 
caste and himself. That he should hate us, we do not 
wonder , that he should ruin us, if he could lawfully, per- 
haps we have no g*reat rig-ht to complain. He has been 
nurtured in traditions which are the direct contradictories 
of the policy of the British Parliament and of the inter- 
ests of the British people. It is his to keep India for the 
Civil Service, as his predecessors have in former days 
done : it is our interest and your interest, and it is the 
declared desire of Parliament, to open India to all 
colours and to all classes. We and you, and Mr. J. P. 
Grant, cannot but be enemies ', and Mr. Grant cannot 


but see evil in all you do and in all we achieve. We have 
never reproached him with liis hostility. 

The accusation which we have made^ and in support of 
which we have offered^ as we submit^ proof enoug-h to 
urg-e you to inquiry^ is not that he has struck at us^ but 
that he has struck us foully. We say that he has used 
his ojSicial power unfairly to our destruction. We say 
that he has used the influence intrusted to him, in order 
to preserve peace and g-oodwill among- all classes in Ben- 
g-al, to the end of arousing* the populace ag'ainst our 
houses, our property, and our trade. We say that he 
has abused a mere administrative power, intrusted to him 
for routine purposes, to the end of influencing- the deci- 
sions of judicial officers and violating- the independence of 
judicial action. We say that he has arrested industry, 
banished capital, shut up trade, aroused evil passions, ex- 
cited the populace, and threatened the mag-istrates ; and 
that he has assumed, to evil ends, an absolute dominion 
alike over the commercial dealing's of his subjects and 
over the decisions of their disputes. 

All this we have proved with, at least, sufficient cer- 
tainty to justify his suspension from functions which he 
has so perilously abused. We are not execrating", we 
are impeaching-. We are not pelting- a man with epi- 
thets, we are building* up round him a prison of facts. If 
he shall be able, before a fairly-named Committee of the 
House of Commons, or such other court of inquiry as 
the country may approve, to shew that he was justified 
in destroying- our commerce and violating- our rig'ht to 
justice, we shall have nothing- left but to succumb ; and 
shall have only the miserable satisfaction of knowing- that 


Eng-land is prepared to lose ten millions of capital and 
two annual millions of trade^ rather than set the precedent 
of dismissing- a man who has played the tyrant madly in 
a hig-h office. 

But this will not be all. It is ours to-day, for ours is 
the only larg-e independent interest in India , but it will 
be the silk manufacturer's to-morrow ; it will be the tea 
manufacturer's should he grow to be a rival ; it will be 
the cotton and the flax g-row^rs if they cannot be shut 
out by lack of roads and if railways should eventually 
give them a possibility of holding' their own.* Ag-ainst 
such men as Governor Grant and the myrmidons whom 
he has at his back, and against the unscrupulous manner 
in which he uses his power, no industry can stand,t and 
no capital can Hve. 

* The cotton grower, the flax grower, and the indigo grower are one 
in interest in India. By advances all must work ; and all must be at 
the mercy of any Governor who may choose to dislike their system or 
find fault with their prices, or hate themselves, and who may work out 
his will by informing the prepaid cultivator that Government does not 
desire them to fulfil their contracts. 

f Read how this Lieut.-Governor is still, at this moment, going on. 
"We take this story from a recent letter from the Calcutta correspondent 
of The Times:— 

" The special Act passed six months ago for the speedy settlement of 
disputes between the planter and the Ryot has expired, and the former 
is now literally at the mercy of the latter. The cultivators of the soil, 
encouraged by their past victory, by the declared inaction of Govern- 
ment, and by the prospect, too, of being able to avoid the payment of 
rent, have refused very generally either to take advances or to perform 
their contracts ; in some cases they have even sown the planter's own 
land with their own seed, and, although not proceeding to actual vio- 
lence, they have placed an embargo on supplies of fowls, ducks, and 
other necessaries of life which the planters were in the habit of receiv- 
ing from the villages, and have even in some districts compelled their 
native servants to leave them. The attitude of the planters has been, 
meanwhile, in the highest degree praiseworthy ; they have been guilty 
of no infraction of the law ; they have witnessed their lands ploughed 
up and their supplies of fresh provisions cut off without a murmur j 


Than our present position nothing- can he worse. Our 
factories are closed. We ourselves are^ some of us^ with 
a whimsical parody of justice^ bound over to keep the 
peace^ because the Byots^ instigated by Mr. Grant's pro- 
clamations^ are threatening- to attack our houses. Men 

they see ruin staring them in the face, and they can do no more than 
sit in their factories and be still. Their property is gradually melting 
before their eyes, and, hard-headed, hard-working moneyed men as they 
are, they are forced to submit. It is in vain that they have appealed 
for redress. The Government of India and the Government of Bengal 
have both decided that matters must be left as they are. In spite of 
advice to the contrary from the planters, who are of opinion that Mr. 
Grant's proclamations are always misunderstood by the Ryots, a pro- 
clamation to this effect has been issued. It purports, indeed, to warn 
the Ryots, that unless they perform their contracts they will render 
themselves liable to civil suits in the Civil Courts. To those who are 
acquainted with the delay and expense attendant upon these suits the 
warning seems little more than a mockery. In that light the Ryots 
have regarded it ; they have not sown, and they have refused to perform 
their contracts. The case of the indigo planters was never so desperate 
as now ; and when it is considered that all they demand is the estab- 
lishment of district courts, with summary powers, to prevent the Ryots 
evading their obligations, and the absence of interference on the part of 
the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, it would seem that to leave them 
entirely unprotected is to sacrifice them designedly. 

'* Whatever may be the intentions or secret wishes of the Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal with respect to the planters, and to non-official 
Europeans generally, the measures he carries out are not calculated to 
impress them with an idea that he is in favour of their settlement in the 
country. With respect to this question of indigo, the civil officer luJio so 
ally administered the affairs of the Jessore district (Mr. E.W. Molony) 
received certainly no reward for his zeal. The gentleman^ on the con- 
trary^ who originally fomented the disturbances, and the civil officer who 
mismanaged everything inKishnagur, have heen promoted over the heads 
of several seniors. Again, within the last few days a gentleman — Mr. 
Spooner— has arrived for the purpose of representing the Presidencies 
of Madras and Bombay in a Committee set on foot by the late Mr. 
Wilson, and the object of which is the examination and possible revision 
of the ad valorem duties on imports. To form the Committee the 
Chamber of Commerce appointed its President, Mr. Bullen ; and the 
Lieutenant-Governor, in his turn, appointed Mr. Eden, a young civi- 
lian, known for his unrelenting hostility to the mercantile community , 
to be the third member of a Committee in which the interests of that 
community were so largely concerned." 


whose whole stock of ploug-hs and bullocks are houg-ht 
with our money, laug-h us to scorn if we ask them to sow 
indig'o for us in liquidation of some portion of the free 
loans they are now enjoying. Meanwhile^ Mr. Grant 
appoints Mr. Eden to place after place of honour and 
profit^ just as old tyrants piled honours on their favour- 
ites to insult their people ; and that no doubt may exist 
as to his intentions^ he exalts the boys^ whose decisions 
please him^ over the heads of their seniors^ and passes 
over with marked neg-lect the sober men who were not 
zealous enoug-h to lig*ht the flame of social war throug-h 
the districts where his enemies dwelt. 

Surely this is a case for the interference of the British 
people and the British Parliament. Our prayer is not 
for money, or for soldiers, or for protective duties. We 
ask only for that protection of law which you yourselves 
enjoy, and which it is the first duty of Government to g'ive. 
We ask not to be helped^ but to be let alone, even as you 
are let alone in your business affairs. We ask to be re- 
lieved from the oppression of an ig-norant and mischievous 
despot, who is ruining the finest country of the earth, who 
is even now rendering" it necessary to take military oc- 
cupation of the rural districts of Beng-al^ and who, if he 
remain your Minister, will soon bring" matters to such a 
pass that you will have to make your choice between 
abandoning" the country and holding it at the point of the 


I. — Extracts of Letters from Merchants, Planters, and others, in 
Bengal, respecting the present condition of the Indigo Trade 
and Manufacture. 

II.— Extracts from the Honourable Ashley Eden's Evidence before the 
Indigo Committee, 1860. 

III. — The Petition of the Indigo Planters Association to Lord Canning 
against Mr. Grant. 

IV.— Reply of the Indigo Planters Association to Mr. Grant. 

V. — Latest accounts contained in the Calcutta Newspapers. 


Extracts of Letters from Merchants and Indigo Manu- 
facturers IN Bengal, respecting the present condition 
OF THE Indigo Trade and Manufacture. 

From Messrs. Jardine,, Skinner, and Co., of Calcutta. 

Bated Calcutta, ^th October, I860. 
We regret to have to report more unfavourably than ever 
of the state of our northern Indigo concerns. The Ryots are 
becoming daily more bold and defiant, and openly assert their 
determination to put a stop to the cultivation both Ryotty and 
Neiz. They have latterly and very generally taken possession 
of our Neiz Jhote lands — some of which we hold on sub-lease 
from themselves, and some direct from Government and Zemin- 
dars — and have sown them down with their own crops. We 
are referred for redress to Act 4 of 1840, under which a 
magistrate is authorized to keep in possession the party he may 
find to be in possession at the time of investigation ; in some 
instances the magistrates have decreed the lands to us ; but in 
others, they refuse to decide on the rights of the matter in 
dispute, and refer us to the Civil Courts. Our assistants are 
refused supplies; our head native servants threatened and 
insulted to such an extent that many have resigned, and our 
ploughmen and coolies so intimidated, that they refuse to work 
any longer for us. Large bodies of men on two occasions 
surrounded two of the factories during the night, but retired 
after making a great noise on seeing our people prepared for 
them; under such circumstances, we see no hope of any 
October sowings on the part of Ihe Ryots, nor can we look 
for any in spring either, unless the Government, either 
here or at home, take prompt and energetic measures to break 
up the present illegal combination. Of Neiz sowings even, 
we must fall very much short of what we would, under other 
circumstances, have got in, and there is, moreover, danger of 
the Ryots breaking up our lands so sown, and sowing them 
down with their own crops. We wholly and entirely attribute 


the present state of affairs to the course pursued by the Bengal 
Government. The Ryots are firmly convinced that it is the 
wish of Government that Indigo cultivation should be put a 
stop to, and that they wiU be supported in their illegal pro- 
ceedings so long as they do not proceed to open violence. 
Where a Kyot alleges trespass against a Planter, the magistrates 
are enjoined to support the Ryot ; but where a Planter brings 
a like charge against a Ryot, he, in his turn, is referred to the 
Civil Court. In our own case, all our Ryots are under con- 
tract for a term of five years, of which, with the great majority, 
three and four have still to run; and yet the Lieutenant- 
Governor, in a proclamation issued some months ago, distinctly 
told all Ryots connected with Indigo, that after this year 
(30th September last) they would be at liberty to sow and take 
advances or not, as they chose. Until this notification 
became known, all our concerns were quite quiet, and work 
progressing as usual; but since then, they have gradually 
become disorganized, till, at the present moment, they are in as 
bad a state as any of those in Kishnughur and Jessore. It is 
now known that Government will not enact any special law 
of contract, or take any action on the report of the Indigo 
Commissioners, except by introducing small Cause Courts into 
the Mofussil ; but as they propose establishing them for the 
present only in the large towns, they will practically be of no 
service in the present crisis. We have addressed Government 
several times, pointing out the hardships we are suffering under; 
but as yet have got no redress. We intend to send you copies of 
these papers by an early opportunity, and would impress on 
you that unless measures of relief are devised by the Home 
Government, and the Bengal Government be strictly enjoined 
to carry them out fully and speedily, the cultivation of Indigo 
must, in a very great measure, cease, — entailing ruin to many, 
and serious loss and depreciation of property to all, planters. 

From Messrs. Jardine, Skinner, and Co., of Calcutta. 

Dated Sth November, 1860. 

We regret that we cannot report any improvement in the 
state of things. 

There is not yet any improvement in the Indigo districts, 
and even where partial sowings have been made, a great pro- 
portion will be destroyed by cattle, or will fail in consequence 
of inefiicient cultivation and want of weeding, defects which, 
in the absence of labour, it is impossible to supply. 


2Srd November, 1860. 

Little or no further progress has been made in the sowings; 
in fact, it is now too late in the season to continue them. In 
the Bansbarreah quarter, where the Ryots have hitherto kept 
pretty quiet, they have suddenly become very bold and tur- 
bulent, instigated, we believe, by two Zemindars. The 
Gomastah was attacked in open day close to the factory, and 
severely maltreated. The magistrate and military police were 
speedily on the spot. 

Had the authorities generally shewn equal promptitude at 
an earlier period, we would not now have to regret the state of 
anarchy to which the Indigo districts have been brought. The 
Zemindars were also summoned to appear, but, we hear, have 
absconded from the district. Since then two of our factory 
bungalows have been burned down. Government has offered a 
reward of 1,000 rupees for discovery of the incendiaries, but as 
yet without success. 

Srd December, 1860. 

The incendiaries who burned down our two bungalows have 
not yet been discovered. 

From Edward Prestwich, Esq., a Merchant in Calcutta, and 
Joint Proprietor in some of the most extensive Indigo Pro- 
perties in Bengal, dated Calcutta, 2Srd November, 1860. 

I AM sorry I am unable to report any improvement in 
Indigo prospects. My tour this year was to the following 
places, Burdwan, Rajmahal, Jungypore, Calleegunge, Banleah, 
Ackrigunge, Berhampore, Patkabarree, Khalbolia, and also 
Neeschindipore. The opinion of the leading planters appears 
to be that the present movement is not simply one of the Indigo 
Ryot against the planter, but of the native against the European, 
and this view is confirmed by the fact that the combination is 
not confined to Ryots who have contracted to sow Indigo, but 
includes the natives generally, the head men of the villages 
being the leaders. I will describe to you the state of the Pat- 
kabarree concern. The Ryots there have never complained until 
the present year. There are, in round numbers, 7,000 Biggahs 
Neezabad, and 8,000 Biggahs Ryottee, with 2,200 Ryots who 
sow Indigo. This year, half that number cleared off their 
balances, and have rupees 10,000 to receive from the factory as 
fazil. The rent they have to pay is from 10 annas to 1 rupee 
per biggah. They sow two crops upon the ground, at one and 
the same time, so that one cultivation does for the two crops 
and no weeding is required ; both crops are sown in October ; 
one crop say of wheat, oats, hay, or the like, matures first in the 


spring, and is then garnered in. The Indigo then shoots a-head, 
and in its turn is cut and manufactured. Conjointly these are 
the best and most profitable crops to the Ryot that he can sow. 
This year, not one Ryot will sow Indigo, and the whole of our 
own Neezabad land consisting of 7,000 Beegahs has, with a few 
exceptions, been taken possession of by the Ryots, and sown 
down in Kullye, Our servants are intimidated by the Kyots, and 
leave us. Our lands we may recover under Act IV, but our 
October sowings are lost. The season for sowing is past, and 
we must take our chance in the spring.* When I was there, 
I required bearers to carry me on in my palkee. I sent for 
them and their reply was, that had I been a respectable native 
they would carry me willingly ; but being a belatee sahib (or 
English gentleman) they would see me far enough. Shortly 
before my arrival, the out-buildings were -fired during the night 
and some were burned down. The manager was aroused from his 
bed ; he could get no assistance from the neighbouring villagers, 
who are, indeed, upon good grounds, supposed to be the incendia- 
ries, and had not the wind lulled, our seed golahs, full of seed, 
and the factory houses would also have gone. As it was, flakes 
of fire fell on the cutcha roofs of the former, and the cutcha 
verandah of the latter, and they were with difficulty extinguished. 
The next morning, a messenger with a note was dispatched by 
the manager to the magistrate. The villagers, guessing his 
errand, knocked the messenger off his horse; but the police, 
fearful for themselves, rescued him. A counter-charge, how- 
ever, of the murder of two of the police who are both alive and 
well, has been brought against him. These men were present 
before the magistrate when the charge was made, and were 
seen by him. Our man has, nevertheless, been bound down to 
appear when called for, in a sum of rupees 500 ; but whether 
to answer the charge of murder, or to prosecute for the assault, 
1 do not know. One of the assistants of the concern has been 
twice assaulted this year, once severely. He identified his 
assailants upon oath before the magistrate ; but they were dis- 
charged because he could get no witnesses. No witnesses are 
procurable. The willing, if there are any such, are afraid to 
appear, and the unwilling won^t. The assistant, appeared to 
think that his life was not safe, or that the risk of such assaults 
was not included in his salary of rupees 200 per month, or that 
he ought to have received some protection from the magistrate, 
and the offenders punished. At all events, he did not like it, 

* Kullye being a crop, not requiring cultivation, lands sown with it, 
become as hard as iron, and on them a spring crop of Indigo cannot be 


and sent in his resignation. I may add, that he was riding 
alone along the road, when the assault was committed. These 
things I heard from the manager, and have no reason to doubt 
his words. 

It is on the subject of rents that the managers are so uneasy : 
they say, that they believe the combination will extend, as it is 
now extending, to a refusal to pay rents, and when it comes to 
that, it will be utterly useless for the planter to contend against 
it. In such a case, to [attempt to collect our rents through the 
Courts would be utterly impracticable, and for Government then 
to refer us to our legal remedy would be simply another insult 
and mockery, added to the many they have already heaped upon 
us. With a Government supposed, and a police known, to be 
against the individual planter, surrounded as he is by hundreds 
of thousands of hostile, non-paying Ryots, with magistrates luke- 
warm in our favour, to say the least of it, and insufficient even 
now for a tithe of the work they have to do, what will be the 
result when their work becomes ten thousand fold? When, 
however, things come to that pass. Government will be at a dead 
lock, and will have to do something in self defence. What 
the planter requires from Government is not much. He says, 
that the whole of the people and the police believe that the 
Government is against us ; and in this opinion he is confirmed by 
almost all of the best and most intelligent persons with whom I 
have spoken on the subject. If the Government will cause the 
people and the police to understand that such is not the case, 
the aspect of affairs would be changed in a day. Let Mr. Grant 
instruct the magistrates and officials simply to explain this 
clearly and intelligibly (and it would be very easy to do this), 
and our difficulties would be at an end. 

From an extensive Planter in Kishnaghur, 

BatidUh November, 1860. 

Government has steadily persevered in the determination to 
root us all out of the Mofussil. Many thought that Mr. Grant's 
malice would have been gorged with the total ruin of our Indigo 
interests; he has also ruined our Zemindarree. The Ryots 
finding they got every support in sowing down our Neezabad 
with '' kuUye," refused to pay rents, and many Putnees have 
not collected a pice for 1267 (a.d. 1860—1861). Our instal- 
ments with the Zemindars are payable monthly ; we have had 
to pay up as usual, and must do so as long as we have a rag to 
our backs. I have tried to recover through Court. I com- 



plained in January, got a decree on 28tli May, and tlie case is 
now under appeal, and likely to stick there until next January. 
In another instance, after six months I got a decree for rents. 
The officers of the Court went with my Gomastah to attach the 
property ; the Ryots turned out, and nearly killed a couple of 
the Court people, and severely maltreated the others. After 
another four months' litigation the Ryots were sentenced to 
four months' imprisonment, and I am as near getting my rents 
as I was a year ago. These two instances are in properties in 
which we have no Indigo. Mr. Grant now tells me to go to 
Court if the Ryots refuse to pay rents. After the above 
experience am I likely to do so ? There is no course left us but 
to sell the Putnees for what they wiU fetch, and wash our hands of 
all landed interest in the country. We cannot go on paying 
rents if we cannot coUect them'; and the Government will take 
good care we never get any law that wiU enable us to get in 
our rents monthly, as we have to pay them. With the present 
feelings of the Ryots, no terms will induce them to sow Indigo. 
Unless you were on the spot, you could never believe that a 
people could be so changed in one short year. It has become 
altogether a matter of race. The Ryots are just as bitter 
against the officers of the railway as against the planter. The 
Rrahmins keep up the excitement, and have been the leaders on 
aU occasions. They really believe we must all leave India. 
The combination is general, and effectually carried out, — the 
policy being passive resistance. The Salgurmoodiah concern has 
stopped all Indigo cultivation ; and, indeed, it is folly to have 
sowings, for the Ryots will destroy the crop with cattle. Not a 
witness, nor, in fact, a servant, can be had, and every officer of 
Government looks upon it as much as his appointment is worth 
to give an order in favour of a planter. There will be no 
October crop, for the few concerns that may sow a portion wiU 
be as bad as the rest before March. I see no prospect of 
coming to an arrangement with the Ryots. It is impossible 
that the withdrawal of 7 lakhs of rupees (70,000/.) from our 
concerns in one year can be done without affecting the country 
generally. I am merely carrying on the Copannee to keep the 
Boonahs (private labourers) together, and doing my best to get 
in the rents quietly. The disaffection has extended to Purneah, 
where, I hear, Forbes's Ryots refuse to sow. Tirhoot and 
Behar, inclusive of the opium, will be the next move, and as 
the income tax has not yet come into operation, the Govern- 
ment cannot realize the extent of their difficulties. They have 
stood hitherto like the Missionaries — men who gave, and asked 
for no return. They have now to acquire a knowledge of 


Bengalee character by asking for payment of a tax, without ever 
having given an advance, and in the mean time they have 
destroyed the entire European influence and interest which 
would have been a back stay in their hour of need. Every 
rupee I had earned I have in these properties. I felt confident 
that, with our great landed interest and the liberal manner in 
which these concerns were carried on, nothing but prosperity 
could attend us. Who could ever have foreseen that the 
Government would set to work, in the most inveterate manner, 
to destroy all our capital, and drive us, after years of toil, to 
leave the district ? With every Ryot's heart turned against us, 
what can we do ? How is it possible to escape loss, and, if we 
hang on, total ruin ? It might be a difi'erent matter if we had 
to deal with 50 or 100 tenants ; and people at home argue as if 
our business were confined to a small estate, instead of thinking 
how helpless a man must become with not only the 23,000 Ryots, 
with whom he has engagements turning upon him, but when 
the millions who surround him detest him because he has a 
white skin. It is our enormous extent of country and dealings, 
which people who have never been in India cannot grasp. 

I only trust all will join heart and soul to try and save us 
something out of the wreck. If Mr. J. P. Grant is allowed to 
remain in power, we are without hope. 

I have given you a long letter, and wish I could have given 
you better news. 

From the same Planter. . 

Dated Qth December j 1860. 

The Ryots find the combination answers admirably. They 
are all now in clover, paying no rents, and having the know- 
ledge that through the Civil Court we can no more recover 
rents from thousands of people than we can recover our Indigo 
balances. We are virtually without redress. We are now as 
helpless as to rents as we were as to Indigo. The Ryots refer 
us to the Court. You thought Government would interfere 
and save us : but no, — we, as Putneedars, must first be driven 
out. The Zemindars will then have to collect directly from the 
Ryots, and unless they can do so without difficulty, the Govern- 
ment rents will remain unpaid. Therif but not till theriy will 
the Government support the landholder, and by that time we 
shall have disappeared. Experience tells too truly also that 
rents once in arrear can never be recovered from the Ryot ; he 
is the most improvident being on the face of the earth; and 

M 2 


like all men of the East, lie invariably lives beyond his income, 
and is never clear of the Mahajun's books. These latter 
worthies are now reaping the fruits of their instigating the 
Ryots not to sow Indigo, and the Moonsiff^s courts are com- 
pletely glutted with plaints. Owing to the threats of the 
combination ringleaders in this immediate neighbourhood, many 
of our Tuhsildars (rent collectors) have not returned since the 
Poojah (native holidays), and I find it impossible to replace 
them, no man consenting to become an outcaste for the sake of 
employment. The non-payment of rents is not a criminal 
offence, and the instigators cannot, therefore, be touched. 
I hear that the railway engineers have represented to Government 
that they find there is a complete combination against the 
European; no amount of pay will induce the Joyrampoor 
fellows to work on the line, and where men have been brought 
from Santipoor (thirty miles off,) to make bricks, these 
Joyrampoor scoundrels have intimidated the strangers, who are 
daily running away. The unfortunate contractors are in the 
position we were during the manufacturing. The work must 
be done, and these fellows can make their own terms. As it is, 
the contractors are just paying 150 to 200 per cent, above what 
is fair and right ; not owing to competition, but to the unfor- 
tunate state of the country, which is without a Government, — 
which knows not law or justice. The Brahmins look upon its 
as the despised of the Company Bahadoor, and we are bullied 
by great and small. The income tax appears to halt, which is a 
pity. The Government will discover the character of the 
people when they come to seek something from them; the 
passive resistance so ably carried out regarding rents will com- 
pletely floor Government at every step. You will see by 
R. Thomas and Co.'s Circular, of 3rd December, a very truthful 
representation of the writer^ s, and, in fact, every one's, difficul- 
ties. The Byots who are well disposed towards us have no 
support or protection, and are ruined and disgraced as is 
therein described. 

From Messrs. Thomas and Co's., Price Current and Indigo 
Report, printed in the Calcutta Correspondence of " The 
Times,'' of 7th January, 1861. 

Our market having opened we beg to hand you particulars 
of the transactions that have already taken place. Only one 
public sale has been held as yet, at which prices ranged for the 
fine lots from July rates to 2d, advance, and for the middling 
and common sorts July rates to 2d. discount. 


Private Sales. — W. G. and Co., Pundoul, Tirhoot, 2,000 
maunds, at 187r. 8a.; Moran, Mooteearree, &c., Tirhoot 1,500 
maunds, at 197r. 8a. ; Moran, Mooteearree, &c._, Tirhoot, 300 
maunds, at 200r. ; K. E. J. W., Bansbareah, Kishnaghur, 83 
chests, at 202r. 8a. 

Public Sales. — A. and J. L., Rampoorali, Moorshedabad, 
20 chests, at 198r. 10a. ; H. and Co., L., Loknathpore, Kish- 
naghur, 21 chests, at 200r. la. ; H. and Co., L. B., Khalispore, 
Kishnaghur, 42 chests, at 170r. 7a. ; I. C, J. E., Connoynutsal, 
Burdwan, 25 chests, at 162r. ; H. S. and Co., B., Beezoolee, 
Jessore, 50 chests, at 205r. 6a. ; H. S. and Co., G., Goldar, 
Jessore, 11 chests at 206r. 13a. ; J., H. M., J., Jingurgatcha, 
Jessore, 21 chests, at 212r. 15a. 

In our circular of the 8th of September we alluded to the 
delay in giving the report of the Indigo Commission to the 
public ; a similar delay has now taken place on the part of the 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal in making his report upon it 
known to the public. The document has now been in his 
Honour's hands for three months, and when it is remembered 
how urgently he pressed on the sitting of the Commission, and 
hurried the members of it for their report, we think that those 
concerned in the great interest in jeopardy have further just 
ground of complaint against Mr. Grant, for this neglect of the 

The extension of the conspiracy and combination against 
Indigo cultivation in the Furreedpore District has been marked 
by events in one concern of which we give the narrative, as 
well illustrating the position in which planters are placed. In 
the Cossimpore concern the whole sowings, cultivation and 
manufacture of the past season were completed without any 
sign of objection on the part of the Ryots; when the work was 
over they all came to the factory as usual, settled their accounts, 
expressed themselves as perfectly contented, and gladly took 
advances for the new season, signing agreements on stamp 
paper in the most stringent form, rendering themselves liable 
to penalties of 10 rupees per Beegah for non-fulfilment of their 
contracts. At first the ploughing and sowing went on as usual, 
and all was perfectly quiet in the concern j but suddenly 
without any apparent cause, the Ryots all discontinued the 
cultivation, and went to the magistrate in the usual way with 
petitions against the factory. This official acted with the 
greatest fairness and consideration, pointed out to the people 
that the fact of their having taken advances and signed contracts 
was of too recent date and too fully capable of proof for denial. 


and that if they persisted in refusing to sow^ decrees must be 
given against them_, and ruin overtake them. He also read to 
them the Proclamation, stating that it was not true that 
Government wished the cultivation of indigo to cease. All, 
however, proved of no avail ; the people were evidently under 
some evil influence, and only replied they had been told that 
they must petition against sowing Indigo. 

Mr. Grant has remarked, as mentioned by us in our circular 
of the 8th of October, that the capacity for organization and 
combined action shown by the people is a subject worthy of 
much consideration ; surely, also, the fact of some evil influence 
being at work, sufficiently powerful to over-ride that of the 
Government, as expressed by the Proclamation, deserves the 
most serious consideration, and the most strenuous exertions of 
the Government to suppress. We can confidently assert that 
twelve months ago no such antagonistic power existed, and that 
the word of a magistrate would have been implicitly accepted 
by the people on any subject even without the suppoit of a 
Proclamation of Government. The moral influence exercised 
by the authorities over the people is entirely broken down, and 
it has become their regular custom, whenever cases are given 
against them by the magistrates, in favour of Indigo Planters, 
to come to Calcutta with petitions to the Lieutenant- 
Governor, whom they state to be their friend, and certain to 
reverse the decisions unfavourable to them. 

We feel that it must be so difficult for people in England to 
realize to themselves the position into which property has been 
brought in Lower Bengal by Mr. Grant's system of Govern- 
ment that we annex to this the copy of a letter from one of our 
largest planters and most valued constituents, for the absolute 
truth of every word in which, we give our fullest assurance. 
The writer of the letter, we beg it to be understood, is in pre- 
cisely the same relative position as any gentleman residing in 
the midst of his own landed property in England, and there is 
nothing whatever in the tenure of his estates, or his claims 
upon his tenantry for rent, to which such a state of things as 
he describes can be attributed; the same might as easily occur 
in Yorkshire did the same absence of effective laws exist there 
as in Bengal, and the same determination on the part of 
Government not to protect the landowner against the encroach- 
ments of his tenantry. 

The refusal of the Ryots to pay rents to planters continues 
as general and determined as ever. In some parts of the 
country, deputy collectors have been sent into many villages 


to decide cases under Act X on the spot^ as without the 
adoption of this plan the work of the Courts would be simply 

The recovery of their neej lands by the planters under Act 
IV is slowly progressing, but in many instances decrees are of 
of little use, as the authorities will not give sufficient force of 
police to carry them out when the Ryots resist the ordinary 
establishments, which they have frequently done ; and in nearly 
every case the recovery of these lands has been too late in the 
season, and when the Kjdai crops sown by the Ryots had got 
too strong a hold on the soil for the planters' October indigo 
sowings to be carried out. 

We must again beg our readers to endeavour to bring home 
to themselves this state of things, by imagining the whole rural 
population of Essex to have taken possession of the fields, 
driven the servants of the owners and landlords from them, and 
sown them down with crops of their own choosing, there being 
no redress to be got by application to the authorities beyond 
a reference to the Civil Courts — a tedious and expensive process, 
generally attended with success at a period too late for the 
proper agricultural operations of the year. This would be called 
a parody on Government in England, but it is what the English 
capitalist has to submit to, who has brought his funds for 
investment in Bengal. 

" Pubna, Nov. 7. 

" I AM sorry to have to inform 'you that the state of affairs 
here and the combination against the concern is as bad as ever, 
if not worse. There are some six individual heads of this 
combination; they have divided the concern between them, 
each collecting money from the Ryots of his division to enable 
him to carry on the war against my interest. They fine and 
maltreat any person who dares to enter any of my factories, 
and any Ryot who may come to see me is punished to the 
utmost extent. They have got large sums of money in this 
way, and, of course, the longer the quarrel lasts the better for 
them ; so that I see no chance of a speedy termination to it. 
The heads of the combination have regular establishments 
of Hattials,' who in open day go from village to village to 
punish any Ryot who may act contrary to orders. The poor 
they coerce with blows and by fines, and the more respectable 
portion of the people by preventing their getting food from the 
bazaars, not allowing a barber to approach their houses, insult- 
ing their women at the ghauts, beating their servants, &c. ; so 
that all classes are compelled to act according to their orders 
and wishes, and we are helpless. No servant of mine dare go 


into any of my villages, talook, or izarah. No man will under- 
take the office of Tussildar. Trees are cut down by order of 
the heads of the combination, and sold to whoever will purchase 
them. New Kyots come in and put up houses on my lands 
wherever they please, and, instead of applying to me for leave to 
do so, they give ' nuzzurs ' to the heads of the combination, and 
act according to their orders. 

" On the 13tli ult. some servants of mine gave evidence in 
an Act IV case before the magistrate at Koostiah. Their 
evidence was given about 3 p. m. ; at 5 p. m., or two hours 
afterwards, their houses, eight m.iles distant from Koostiah, 
were plundered of everything they contained. The deputy 
magistrate went to their houses next day, and saw that they 
had been plundered, and got evidence to that effect. Whether 
the parties guilty of such an outrage will be punished or not 
remains to be seen. 

" On the 4th inst. a Ryot complained to the magistrate 
that one of the heads of the combination had fined him 25 
rupees; that the man in question, with a number of Hattials,' 
surrounded his house and compelled him to pay the fine. On 
the following night the same party surrounded his house, broke 
into it, and took away his wife, his daughter, and his mother- 
in-law, himself escaping by mere chance. The magistrate 
investigated the matter yesterday, and the charge was proved. 

" The great object of the Ryots just now appears to be that 
of preventing any of my old servants working for me, so that 
it is with great difficulty I can retain any of my office servants. 
I have got but three or four of them, all the rest having been 
compelled to leave. Three days ago, one of my most useful 
writers was obliged to leave, as the Ryots kept permanent guard 
over his house, so that his family were denied egress or ingress 
until he appeared and paid a fine for daring to work for me. No 
person who had not actually witnessed it could imagine the 
state of aff'airs in this neighbourhood. The authorities know 
all about it, but they are helpless, as, if crime is brought to 
their notice, the necessary evidence cannot be had — no man 
dare give it, even although he wished to. As to the native 
police they have an ample harvest time of it; the sums of 
money they are getting are almost incredible ; their demands 
such as were never before heard of, even in Bengal: and I 
have no hesitation in saying that they extort more money in 
one month now-a-days, than they did during the whole of the ten 
years from 1850 to 1859 inclusive. 

The amount due this concern by the Ryots on account 
of rents for the current year is upwards of 65,000 rupees. Of 


course, tlie whole of tliis may be collected through the Courts, but 
every suit instituted against a Ryot will but increase the ill- 
feeling between the tenantry and the concern, as paying rents 
with costs will fall heavily upon them. 

" I have done and said all I possibly could to bring about 
an amicable arrangement. I have told every person, even some 
of the leaders of the combination, in presence of Mr. Bainbridge, 
that 1 don't want to sow Indigo just now, nor until the Ryots 
are willing to do so of their own accord, and that I merely 
want my rent; but it is not a mere Indigo quarrel just now — it 
is one of native against European; and the question is, whether 
we cannot be compelled to leave our factories altogether or not. 
My Ryots state openly that they will not pay rents, neither 
will they do work of any kind for a sahib, and that such will 
be the rule throughout the district in a short time. 

'' I daily receive petitions from Ryots who are unable to 
contend with their more powerful neighbours. The poor man's 
lands are forcibly taken possession of, and his crops cut and 
taken away. I am powerless and cannot help them, neither 
can the authorities, as they won't act in accordance with the 
laws ; and who will bear witness to the fact ? So hundreds of 
the poorer Ryots are being ruined. This state of affairs cannot 
last very long. Plunder, dacoity, and crime of every kind will 
become rife throughout the country ; the idle and the wicked 
see that they can act as they please with impunity. They have 
done so for some months past, and as the year advances, and 
the necessaries of life become dearer, the district will become 
more and more disorganized, and the end will be that Govern- 
ment will have to resort to the strong hand sooner or later." 

From the Calcutta Correspondent of the Times. Printed in the 
Times of \Mh January, 1861. 

I MUST allude for a few moments to that vexata question 
Indigo. On this point I can give you the opinion of a gentle- 
man who is universally admitted to be the most practical 
civilian and the best administrator in Bengal — Mr. Yule, Com- 
missioner of Bhagulpore. Mr. Yule has lately been engaged 
in investigating the circumstances under which in the month 
of May last the Ryots attacked the factory of Beniagram. Of 
this attack I gave a particular account at the time, and I 
stated that but for the noble defence of the agent, Mr. Lyon, 
the most disastrous results would have ensued. I referred also 
to *the fact that, previously to the attack, not only had no 
assistance been rendered to Mr. Lyon by the magistrate of the 


district, but that functionary had warned him that he would 
hold him (Mr. Lyon) responsible for any disturbances that 
might ensue. When the factory was attacked the anti-Indigo 
faction loudly asserted that Mr. Lyon was an oppressor, and 
that the attack was a natural consequence of his misdeeds. It 
was useless to attempt to controvert this statement; every 
office in the country was held by men pledged to oppose the 
settlement of Europeans in the country, and they were able to 
make their own statements. Now, however, the question may 
be alluded to ; it has been examined into by Mr. Yule, a 
civilian, one of their own order, and this is what he says : — 

" The reports show how the Ryots, at first amenable to 
remonstrances from the police, gradually learned to disregard 
them till they attacked Beniagram in open daylight, and in 
defiance of a considerable police force present on the spot. 
The Ryots appeared to have said all along that what they wanted 
was a Hakim to inquire into their grievances, and the prisoners 
in this case plainly told me that they never would have been 
in the scrape they were, had a Hakim been at hand. I say the 
same, and this belief renders the duty of passing sentence, at 
all times a painful one, infinitely more so in this case than 
usual. In conclusion, I must observe that Mr. Lyon by his 
determined defence saved not only his own life and property, 
but, had the attack on Beniagram been successful, every planter 
and factory in this subdivision and Maldah would, I verily 
believe, have been attacked, and there is no saying how far the 
outbreak might have spread. Mr. Lyon had quelled the spirit 
of destruction before almost it was known to be abroad.'' 

He further acquits Mr. Lyon of oppression, and aUudes 
pointedly to the weak spot in our rule — to the real causes of all 
the Indigo disturbances. These are, according to Mr. Yule, 
inefficient magistrates, an utterly useless police, and the want 
of summary courts of justice. These are the remedies he would 
propose, and, by a coincidence not curious but striking, these 
are the remedies which the planters have proposed, but which 
the Lieutenant-Governor will not have. I must, however, do 
Mr. Grant the justice to state, that since the pubHcation in this 
country of English opinion on the subject of Indigo the tone 
of his letters has softened down. Within the last fortnight 
two factories, belonging to Messrs. Watson, have been burnt 
down, and rewards have been offered for the discovery and 
apprehension of rhe offenders. Magistrates, also, have been 
directed to bestir themselves, and put a stop to the crimes 
which disgrace the districts. This spasmodic movement would 
appear to be somewhat late in the day. An annual expendi- 


ture of more than half a million sterling has been lost to the 
Ryots, and these, prompted by men behind the scenes, are 
endeavouring to make combinations for the avowed object of 
living at their ease without the obligation of industry and toil. 


Extracts from the Honourable Ashley Eden's Evidence before 
the Indigo Commissionj 1860. 

3578. Mr. FergussonJ] In the forty-nine cases (of affrays) 
which you ferretted out, as having occurred during the last 
thirty years, is it not the case that in more than half of them, 
Europeans have not been accused, or, if accused, have been 
acquitted ? — There are scarcely any one of these cases, in which 
the European or Principal Manager of the concern has ever 
been put upon his trial, although in many of them, the Judges 
trying the cases have expressed strong opinions that such Euro- 
peans were themselves implicated in them ; and it is to this 
importunity and freedom from responsibility that I attribute 
the constant recurrence of these violent outrages. 

3579. In such instances as you have mentioned, was it not 
a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the Government not 
to prosecute the Europeans ? — There certainly was a failure of 
justice which, in my opinion, may, to a certain extent, be 
attributed to the strong bias, which the Governor and many 
of the officers of Government have always displayed in favour 
of those engaged in this particular cultivation ; this may also 
partly have arisen from the difficulty which exists under the 
present law of obtaining a conviction against Europeans, as, for 
instance, in the case in which a planter, named Dick, alias 
Richard Aimes, was murdered by a European planter named 
Jones, a French planter named Pierre Alter, and some native 
servants, in which the Frenchman and the natives being 
amenable to the Courts of the country, were imprisoned for 
life; whilst Young, the European British subject, not being 
subject to the jurisdiction of the local Court, was tried in Her 
Majesty's Supreme Court in Calcutta, and was acquitted on 
precisely the same evidence as was brought against the foreigners 
and natives who were convicted in the district Court: the 
sentence being upheld by the Nizamut Adawlut. 

188 APPENDIX ir. 

3580. Then you consider tliat in that case justice was 
obtained in the Mofussil Courts and denied in the Supreme 
Court ? — I consider that the Judges of the Court of the Nizamut 
Adawlut are fully as competent to come to a decision on the 
evidence before them, as a Calcutta petty Jury. I shall, there- 
fore, consider that, in this instance, a failure of justice occurred 
in the Supreme Court. 

3581. If I tell you, that I was in the Supreme Court during 
the whole of that trial, and with a strong feeling against the 
prisoner, and that /, and most other gentlemen in Calcutta^ con- 
sidered it impossible to find him guilty on the evidence^ would it 
alter your opinion in any manner ? — JVO, as with those facts 
before them, and commenting on those facts, the Sudder Court 
subsequently convicted the remainder of that party as accessories 
to the murder on that evidence; the previous acquittal in the 
Supreme Court, and the distrust throion upon the evidence having 
been urged by the defendants Counsel, and over-ruled. Moreover^ 
if the murder icas not committed, where is Dick alias Richard 
Aimes, who has never appeared since. 

3606. Mr. Fergusson.] In the present state of the Mofussil 
Courts and with the present Judges who preside in them, would 
you like to see any European friend tried in them ? — / think that 
if the Courts are good enough for the natives, they are good enough 
for Europeans. If they are not good enough for natives, they are 
not fit to have any jurisdiction at all over any one. As far as I 
am myself concerned, I would sooner be tried, if innocent, in the 
local Sessions Courts, with an appeal to the Nizamut, than in the 
Supreme Court. If guilty, I would prefer the Supreme Court 
and a Calcutta jury, 

3664. Mr. Fergusson,'] Then you do not think that the 
residence of European gentlemen in the interior has improved 
either the physical or moral condition of the people ? — Although 
I have no doubt, that there are many individuals who have done 
great good and rendered assistance to the authorities, yet, as a 
general rule, I do not think the residence of Indigo Planters has 
improved to any great extent the physical or moral condition of 
the people.^ I believe there are to be found more bad characters 
settled around Indigo Factories, than in distant villages in 
which an European has never been seen. My remarks do not 
apply either to silk manufacturers, or rum distillers, or Sunder- 
bund settlers ; of the latter of whom I had a great many in my 

* Here Mr. Eden, the Bengal civilian, differs from the Statesmen Lord 
William Bentinck and Sir Charles Metcalfe, whose opinions are cited at 
page 18. 


district ; but against "whom I never had a single complaint. I 
allude only to the Indigo Planters, who, as a rule, live in con- 
stant antagonism with the people around them ; a state of 
things which cannot conduce to the peace of the country. 


Petition of the Indigo Planters' Association to Lord 
Canning against the Honourable J. P. Grant. 

To the Right Honourable his Excellency the 
Viceroy and Governor- General of India 
in Council. 

The humble Petition of the Bengal 
Indigo Planters' Association. 
Respectfully Sheweth, 

That your Petitioners' Association is composed principally 
of persons engaged in the cultivation of Indigo in the Lower 
Provinces of Bengal, a cultivation which has been by one 
Right Honourable Member of the Council remarked upon as 
one of the few in India attracting British capital to native 
labour, and one which the Government would above aU others 
wish to encourage. 

That although your petitioners are convinced of this desire 
on the part of the Government of India, the present Governor 
of Bengal, the Honourable John Peter Grant, has since his 
appointment to his present office unfortunately acted in such a 
way as to throw nearly the whole of the Indigo districts, and 
especially Kishnaghur, into confusion, and unless something be 
done to remedy the present system of misrule, many Indigo 
Planters must be irretrievably ruined, while the inevitable 
result of the withdrawal of British capital from the districts is a 
matter of no small importance. 

That your Excellency in Council may probably be, in con- 
sequence of your Excellency's duties having made it necessary 
for you to proceed up the country at the time in question, not 
minutely acquainted with the origin of the disturbances which 
have for some months been existing in Kishnaghur and the 
adjacent districts, and which have already put Government to 
so much expense. 

That the origin of those disturbances undoubtedly was the 
conduct of the Honourable Mr. Eden^ then magistrate of 


Baraset, in allowing the Ryots of the Baraset district to become 
aware that his feeling was against the Indigo Planters^ where- 
upon the manager of the Bengal Indigo Company complained 
to the then Governor of Bengal now Sir Frederick Halliday, 
but that gentleman having retired from office, the matter was 
finally investigated by the Honourable John Peter Grant, who 
supported Mr. Eden. 

That on the 17th August, 1859, the Honourable Mr. Eden 
wrote to the deputy magistrate of Kallaroah a letter, which 
your Excellency in Council will at once see was intended to 
point out the advisability of Byots objecting to cultivate. 


The Honourable A. EDEN, 

Magistrate at Baraset, 


Deputy Magistrate, Kalaroah Sub-Division, 


As the cultivation of Indigo is carried on to a considerable 
extent in your sub-division, I beg to forward for your infor- 
mation and guidance extracts from a letter No. 4516, dated 
21st July, 1859, from the Secretary to the Government of 
Bengal to the Commissioner of the Nuddea Division. 

You will perceive that the course laid down for the police in 
Indigo disputes, is to protect the Ryot in the possession of his 
lands, on which he is at liberty to sow any crop he likes, 
without any interference on the part of the Planter or any one 
else. The Planter is not at liberty, under pretext of the Ryots 
having promised to sow Indigo for him, to enter forcibly upon 
the land of the Ryot. Such promises can only be produced 
against the Ryot in the Civil Court, and the magisterial autho- 
rities have nothing to do with them, for there must be two 
parties to a promise ; and it is possible that the Ryots, whose 
promises or contracts are admitted, may still have many irre- 
sistible pleas to avoid the consequence the Planter insists upon. 

That on the 20th August, 1 859, the said Hemchunder Kur 
published in the district the following unfortunate and iU- 
judged proclamation : — 


" To the Darogah of Thannah Kalarooah. Take notice. — 
A letter from the Magistrate of Baraset, dated the 17th 
August, 1859, having been received, accompanied by an extract 


from an English letter from the Secretary to the Government 
of Bengal, to the address of the Commissioner of the Nuddea 
Division, dated 21st July, 1859, No. 4516, to the following 
purport, that in cases of disputes relating to Indigo Ryots they 
shall retain possession of their own lands, and shall sow on 
them what crops they please, and the police will be careful that 
no Indigo Planter nor any one else be able to interfere in the 
matter, and Indigo Planters shall not be able forcibly to cause 
Indigo to be sown on the lands of those Ryots on the ground 
that the Ryots consented to the sowing, &c., of Indigo. If 
Ryots have so consented, the Indigo Planter may bring an 
action against them in the Civil Court. The Criminal Court 
has no concern in these matters, because, notwithstanding such 
contracts, or such consent withheld or given. Ryots may urge 
unaswerable excuses against the sowing of Indigo. A copy of 
Perwannah is therefore issued, and you are requested in future 
to act accordingly. — Dated 20th August, 1859.'' 

That the consequence of this was that the Ryots in that 
and the surrounding districts immediately believed that Govern- 
ment wished to put a stop to Indigo planting, and on the 14th 
October, 1859, the manager of the Jingergatcha Indigo concern 
brought to the Commissioner's notice the dangerous effects of 
such a proclamation, and after an investigation, the Commis- 
sioner, Mr. Grote, as well as Messrs. Reid and Drummond, who 
were all men who thoroughly understood the Indigo districts 
and the people, unanimously condemned the indiscretion of the 
magistrate and deputy magistrate, although the Honourable 
Mr. Grant, on the 7th April, 1860, wrote a letter in which he 
stated that he considered that Mr. Eden had given a satisfac- 
tory explanation. 

That although that might appear so to his Honour, the con- 
sequences in the meantime were serious in the extreme to the 
Planters ; and about the beginning of February, on the return 
of the Honourable Mr. Grant from a tour through the Indigo 
districts, a report spread rapidly throughout the whole of the 
villages that the Government were opposed to the cultivation of 

That your petitioners believe that this was caused by the 
Lieutenant-Governor allowing himself to form and openly 
express an opinion hostile to the system of Indigo planting, 
although at a subsequent interview which a deputation of your 
petitioners' Association had with his Honour, he stated plainly 
that he had never had any experience in the Indigo districts, 
and that he was very ignorant on the subject; and in order to 
show that your petitioners' belief on that subject is not 


unfounded^ they would beg your Excellency's attention to tlie 
following extract from a letter from Mr. Grant to Mr. Sconce, 
dated 23rd March, I860, written ten days after the interview 
with the deputation, and published by the authority of the 
Government of Bengal, which is as follows : 

" I am myself of opinion that the Indigo cultivators " 
(meaning the Ryots) — "have and long have had great and in- 
creasing ground of just complaint against the whole system of 
Indigo cultivation." 

That the occasion of the writing of that letter was the 
earnest entreaty of the Planters that His Honor should request 
Mr. Sconce to bring into the Legislative Council a bill to com- 
pel Ryots to complete their engagements, a measure which was 
absolutely necessary, as from the rapid spread of the disaffection 
amongst the Ryots many Planters saw ruin staring them in the 
face, while the districts were becoming so disturbed that neither 
life nor property were safe. 

That the Legislative Council at once saw the necessity of 
speedy action, and the Act XI of 1860 was passed and received 
your Excellency's assent. 

That your petitioners believe that if the local authorities had 
been permitted to carry out the provisions of this Act without 
interference on the part of His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor, 
none of the difficulties with which the Planters have to contend 
would now exist, while instead of having a prospect before them 
of utter ruin to many factories next season, matters would have 
gone on to the mutual advantage of the capitalist and labourer 
— all differences between them being settled like every other 
commercial arrangement upon the simple question of price. 

That immediately upon the Act being passed. His Honor 
published on the 4th April, 1860, a letter of instructions which 
is hereto annexed and marked No. 1, which refers to a previous 
letter published by His Honor, and which is hereto annexed 
and marked No. 2, and your petitioners humbly submit to your 
Excellency in Council that at a time when the Ryots were all 
under the belief that the Lieutenant-Governor was opposed to 
the system of Indigo planting, it would have been more proper 
to leave the magisterial officers to exercise their own discretion 
as to the mode of acquainting the Ryots with the terms of the 
Act, instead of directing the magistrates to communicate to 
them the desire of Government, or pointing out to them as in 
the 7th paragraph of the letter marked No. 2, that the Act was 
only to apply to the current season, thereby keeping alive in 
the minds of the Ryots a feeling of excitement that a discreet 
magistrate if left to himself would have known how to avoid. 


Tliat considering the powers which His Honour has as to the 
removal of magistrates, it was as your petitioners submit un- 
called for — unless the Honourable Lieutenant-Governor could^not 
trust the magisterial officers of the district — to hold out as he 
did in the letter No. 1 a threat of removal if any magistrate 
interpreted the Act contrary to His Honour's views. 

That the Lieutenant-Governor in laying down rules for the 
interpretation of the Act exceeded, as your petitioners submit, 
his powers and trespassed upon the province of the Legislative 
Council and of the judicial officers of the Government, because 
where a question as to the meaning of an Act arose, a judicial 
tribunal where both sides could be heard, was the proper forum 
to interpret it. 

That your petitioners beg to draw to the earnest considera- 
tion of your Excellency in Council that the Lieutenant-Governor 
has since that Act was passed, interfered with the working of it 
in such a way as to make it wholly useless for the purpose which 
the Legislative Council had in view, and your petitioners have 
only to refer to the records of the Government of Bengal con- 
taining the papers relative to Indigo planting whicli are pub- 
lished by authority, to shew that His Honour has exercised an 
improper and most indiscreet interference with sentences passed 
by the magistrates. 

That soon after the passing of the Act a Mooktear was tried 
by Mr. Betts for instigating Kyots to break their engagements, 
and a number of Ryots were sentenced for ploughing up Indigo 
that had been sown. 

That both of these offences had become very common, and 
it was necessary for the sake of example to put them down at 
once; but notwithstanding this and the express provision by 
the Legislative Council that there should be no appeal, the 
Lieutenant-Governor, on the 19th April, 1860, ordered the 
Commissioner to review these proceedings as appears by the 
letter hereto annexed and marked No. 3. 

That by adopting such a course the prosecutors had not even 
the chance which, if there had been an appeal, they would have 
had, of showing that the convictions were proper, and the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor soon afterwards ordered the release of the 
Mooktear and the Ryots, which did more harm than your 
Excellency can imagine. 

That in order to show what the wish of His Honour was, this 
proceeding has been followed up by his directing the release of 
many other Ryots imprisoned duly according to law, and the 
removal from the Indigo districts of the Magistrates, Messrs. 
Betts, Mackenzie, Macniell and Taylor, and the substitution for 


them, in cases coming under the new Act^ of some of the Prin- 
cipal S udder Ameens of other districts. 

That the effect of His Honour's interference has, amongst 
other things, been to create an impression not only in the 
minds of the magistrates but also of the Planters and Ryots, 
that any decisions in favour of the Planters would meet with 
the disapproval of the Government of Bengal, and your peti- 
tioners would beg leave to draw the attention of your Excellency 
in Council to the evidence amongst others of Mr. Forlong and 
Mr. Taylor, given before the Indigo Commissioners (the evi- 
dence on oath of men of the most unimpeachable character) to 
shew the effect of these acts of His Honour and the absurdity of 
continuing to institute suits under the new Act. 

That in a recent case in which a decision has been given by 
Mr. Herschell, magistrate of Kishnaghur, which your peti- 
tioners consider to be entirely contrary to the evidence, and 
most unjust to the Planter concerned. His Honoar has, upon a 
special report of the case to him, ordered copies of it to be dis- 
tributed among the officials before whom cases under Act XI, 
1860, are tried, with an intimation that Mr. HerschelFs decision 
is to be taken as a rule to guide them in all similar cases. This 
your petitioners look upon as a most unusual and unauthorized 
interference with the ordinary course of law, and the proper 
independence of the judicial authorities, and especially unfair 
and injurious to your petitioners, inasmuch as the evidence 
produced was chiefly that of books and documents, kept accord- 
ing to the common practice of all Indigo factories, which are 
thereby and in this particular case unjustly condemned whole- 
sale as not to be received as good evidence of claims against 
Ryots, and being the only corroborative evidence Planters have 
to produce, such claims are practically rendered impossible of 

That your petitioners beg to draw particular attention to 
the evidence of Mr. Taylor, a man of the highest honour and 
reputation, (given before the Commissioners,) by which it 
appears that while the decision of cases under Act XI, was left 
to the gentlemen acting as magistrates in the district, every 
case was decided in his favour, but every case which has since 
their removal been brought by him before the principal S udder 
Ameen, although supported by the same class of evidence as in 
the previous cases, has been dismissed, — a fact that as your 
petitioners submit shews the effect of the interference which 
they now complain of. 

Thatiu several districts contracts have been entered into for 
three years and upwards, and in the absence of any Legislative 


enactment to the contrary, such contracts are in every way 
binding, and many Planters have made their calculations for the 
several seasons on the knowledge of these contracts ; but His 
Honour, without taking this consideration, or indeed considering 
for one instant the serious effect on all cultivators of Indigo of 
such a proceeding, lately published^a proclamation, the immediate 
effect of which was, to cause the Ryots in many districts, who 
were previously perfectly quiet, and especially in Messrs. Watson 
and Co/s factories, to combine against their employers. 
That the proclamation is as follows ; — 

Istahar by the order of the Honourable the Lieutenant-Governor, 

The following Istahar is issued for the information of those 
Ryots who have been put in prison on account of claims against 
them for non-fulfilment of their contracts for sowing indigo or 
having taking advances for the current season, and those against 
whom claims are now pending, as also those who are in any way 
connected with Indigo. 

The Act XI of 1860, respecting Indigo, which is now in force 
will only remain so for a short time. Commissioners will be 
appointed before the commencement of next season for sowing 
Indigo to enquire into the cause of complaint by the Ryots in 
respect of the cultivation of Indigo, and on their report to 
Government, such rules will be laid down as will benefit all 
parties, and will undoubtedly show no partiality to any one. 
On the expiration of the present season it will be optional for 
the Ryots to receive advances and to enter into contracts for 
sowing Indigo. That is to say, that as for those who have been 
imprisoned for not sowing Indigo this season in terms of their 
contract on proved claims, it will rest with them to receive or 
not receive advances to sow Indigo in future, although for this 
season they are required in terms of their contract to sow 

Kevenue Commissioner's Office. \ 
Nuddea Division, ) 

That if there were any doubt in the mind of your Excellency 
in Council as to the views of His Honour on the subject of the 
Indigo disputes and his interference with and implied disapproval 
of the Act of the Legislative Council, this proclamation would, 
as your petitioners believe, remove it, and the effect of it upon 
the contracts not yet completed will be irretrievably injurious. 
That in consequence of this constant interference of His 
Honour, the people of Lower Bengal are losing all respect for 

N 2 


the officers of Government, and tlie minds of tlie people in the 
Indigo districts are kept in a state of greater excitement and 
uncertainty than they were before Act XI of 1860 was passed. 
The districts of Jessore and Pubna, hitherto comparatively quiet^ 
are becoming seriously disturbed, and in them as well as in 
Kishnaghur, the greatest difficulty is experienced by Planters in 
inducing the Ryots to cut the fine crop of Indigo plant now ripe 
for manufacture, and which will give a handsome return to both 
Planters and Ryots, unless allowed to perish by the misguided 
folly of the people. 

That although in the course of the evidence taken under the 
Commission appointed to enquire into the state of the cultivation 
of Indigo, and which Commission was appointed at the earnest 
request of your petitioners, a mass of evidence in support of the 
allegations that the Ryots are opposed to the cultivation of 
Indigo, and that it is anything but advantageous to the people 
to have it cultivated has been given, your petitioners refer with 
confidence to the evidence of the Planters themselves, and more 
particularly to the plain, visible and undeniable fact that where- 
ever Indigo factories are situated in Bengal, there the people 
are richer, the country more highly cultivated, and the province 
in a more advanced and prosperous state that in any district 
where factories do not exist ; and your petitioners point with 
pride to the fact, that within but a few years, miles and miles 
of country which were covered with the rankest jungle, are now 
highly cultivated and productive lands. 

That your petitioners believe that if your Excellency in 
Council is desirous of retaining English capital in Bengal, it is 
absolutely necessary to adopt some measures to prevent his 
Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, from interfering 
as he now does, behind the backs of persons interested, in 
cases pending or decided, with the due administration of the 
law, and to direct his Honour to leave to the Legislature and the 
regularly appointed tribunals of the country, the promulgation 
and administration of the law. 

Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray your Excel- 
lency in Council to take into consideration this 
petition, and to pass such orders as may oblige 
his Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, 
to refrain from pursuing a course of conduct 
which cannot but be ruinous to the Indigo 
Planters in Bengal, and to point out to his 
Honour the impropriety of interfering with the 
due course of the administration of the law by the 


regularly appointed judicial officers as laid down 
by the Legislative Council of India, and which 
interference is, as your petitioners submit, both 
illegal and unconstitutional, and especially indis- 
creet in the case of a dispute between capital and 
labour, and that your Excellency may pass such 
further orders as may under the above circum- 
stances seem proper. 

Dated 26th July, 1860. 

Reply of the Indigo Planters^ Association to Mr. Grant. 

" Calcutta, Oct. 13. 

" The Committee of the Indigo Planters' Association 
having at last received from the Commissioner of Nuddea 
information which they requested from him on the 7th ult., 
they proceed to submit to his Excellency the Governor- General 
of India in Council the following remarks on the Minute of 
the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal dated the 17th of August, 
which was communicated to the Association with your letter 
of August 31. 

'' Although his Excellency has expressed himself satisfied 
with Mr. Grants explanations except on one point, the Com- 
mittee respectfully beg to observe that Mr. Grant's Minute is 
not accompanied by any particulars of the cases to which he 
refers, by which his Excellency's judgment might be guided ; 
and they, therefore, beg to submit the fullest details which they 
have been able to obtain in explanation. In commenting upon 
his Honour's Minute, the Committee are desirous of avoiding 
as much as possible anything like entering into a controversy 
with the Lieutenant-Governor ; still they cannot but express 
their regret, that the tone of his Honour's Minute is such as 
to show how deeply his feelings are affected against the system 
of Indigo planting generally, and the persons who are engaged 
in that cultivation. 

" In support of this position the Committee content them- 
selves by simply referring his Excellency to the style, as well 
as the matter, of one paragraph only — namely, the 5tli, which 
assumes as a granted fact that planters have been in the habit 
of committing every description of crime and oppression. 


''The Committee do not wish either to enter into an argu- 
ment as to the correctness of the Lieutenant-Governor's views 
of the position of the Eyot as a capitalist^ as they believe that 
such a theory is one wholly new^ and one particularly opposed 
to the general idea of what constitutes a Eyot in Bengal ; but 
they must not be considered as in any way agreeing in the 
view his Honour takes of this subject, or assenting to his 
discovery, that the Ryot is a capitalist as distinguished from a 

" The Committee would, however, draw particular attention 
to one part of the Minute, where the Lieutenant-Governor is 
obliged to confess that the gentlemen he employed in the 
judicial offices in the disturbed districts were unfit for the 
common duties of their stations, and the Committee think that 
such a confession from such authority must necessarily draw 
the attention of the Executive Government to the necessity of 
establishing such a system as will give the people a more 
efficient class of judicial officers ; and the Committee would beg 
attention to this part of his Honour's Minute as supporting the 
truth of what has long been put forward by the planters as 
their most serious grievance — viz., the inefficient state of the 
Mofussil Courts. His Excellency will have an opportunity in 
a later part of this letter of judging of the fitness for the 
judicial bench of one of them (Mr. J. S. Bell), who is con- 
sidered by his Honour as so much superior to the covenanted 
magistrates whom be superseded in their duties. 

" The Committee consider it as hardly worth while referring 
to the earnest manner in which the Lieutenant-Governor 
argues as to there being no ' confusion' in the districts ; they 
can only say that a publication of the Lieutenant-Governor's, 
dated the 17th of September, has led them to believe that the 
word ' confusion' was not strong enough to express the state of 
the district ; and they believe that the mere fact of a vast 
military force being employed in that part of the country, 
where troops have not been stationed since it came under the 
British rule, proves ' confusion j' and they cannot but express 
their surprise that, at a time when all residents of these districts 
knew that affairs were daily becoming worse, his Honour 
should, as he does in the last paragraph of his Minute, refer to 
the crisis having passed over so peacefully, and with so little 
injury to the great interest at stake. The Committee can only 
say that the great interest of the European settler is for the 
present entirely ruined, and they see but little prospect of 
European capital being again embarked in the districts of 
Lower Bengal. 


'^ But, leaving the general tenor of the Minute, the Com- 
mittee would beg his Excellency's attention to the prominent 
cases brought forward by the Lieutenant-Governor, on which 
he lays much stress ; and when the Committee show that his 
Honour has taken statements for granted without fully 
investigating the cases on which he relies, to found most 
severe remarks and attacks, not only on the planters, but on 
his own judicial officers, the Committee believe that his 
Excellency will attach much less weight to the Minute in 
question than at first sight would appear to be due to it. 

^' In the 28th paragragh of the Minute the Lieutenant- 
Governor refers to the case of the Mooktear who was, as stated 
in the planter's petition, sentenced by ISir. Betts to imprison- 
ment and a fine for instigating Ryots not to sow. 

It would naturally be supposed from the comments upon 
this case that the man in question, Teetaram Chuckerbutty, 
was a Mooktear acting as such on behalf of Ryots, and that he 
was sentenced for exercising his lawful avocations as a Mooktear ; 
and his Honour, on this assumption, would make out that the 
sentence in question deprived the Ryots of legal assistance, and 
that it was intended to give an advantage to the planters. 

The Committee have, however, ascertained that the man, 
though entitled, perhaps, to call himself a Mooktear, was, in fact, 
but an Omedwar (one seeking employment) ; that he had never 
appeared before Mr. Betts as Mooktear ; that he was not 
employed in any way by any Ryot on that occasion ; that a few 
days previously he had waited on Mr. Forlong, begging for 
employment in any capacity ; and that on the day in question 
he was hanging about Mr. Betts's tent, looking out for the chance 
of anything that might occur, holding no Mooktearnama ; and, 
in fact, the Ryots whose cases were before Mr. Betts never con- 
sulted him, or referred to him as their legal adviser. 

" Mr. Betts had for more than two hours been patiently 
explaining to the Ryots their position and liabilities, pointing 
out to them that the law distinctly laid it down that if they did 
not complete their contracts they would be subject to imprison- 
ment, and perhaps be cast in damages, and he begged them to 
retire and think over the matter. 

" To the former alternative the Ryots were inclined to 
agree, and they retired to some neighbouring trees to consult. 
The man Teetaram Chuckerbutty went to them then for the 
first time, and, joining in their conversation, advised them to 
resist sowing, and not to mind the consequences. Information 
of this was brought to Mr. Betts, who at once had him brought 
into court, heard the evidence, and, finding that he was not 


acting as Mooktear for any of the parties, convicted him of 
instigating, with evil design_, the Ryots not to sow. 

" The Committee admit that the sentence might not per- 
haps have been strictly legal within the words of the section 
of the Act as amended and passed,, but the mere fact of an 
error as to the interpretation of the wording of the Act has a 
very different effect from that which the Lieutenant-Governor 
attributes to this decision, which he erroneously regards as 
a gross interference with the liberty of the legal agent of the 

" His Honour is wholly misinformed as to the Ryots in 
that quarter not being able to obtain the services of legal 
agents to defend their cases, and it is wholly incorrect to state 
' that the prosecutors for several days had it all their own way; ' 
so far from this being the case, on the very same day, a com- 
plaint having been lodged against one really acting as a 
Mooktear before Mr. Betts, it was at once dismissed by him, 
on the ground that he could not interfere with the advice that 
any legal agent deemed it riglit to give to his client, and 
Mr. Betts distinctly pointed out to the complainants that the 
position of this man was wholly different from that of Teetaram 

^' The Committee unhesitatingly refer to the records of the 
Court in proof of their assertion that no Mooktear was deterred 
from representing Ryots in consequence of Mr. Betts's decision, 
and they are quite at a loss to understand upon whose repre- 
sentation the Lieutenant-Governor has been led into so grave 
an error; and his Excellency will see how serious a matter this 
is when he observes the frequent and bitter allusions to it in 
the Minute. 

'^ The other case on which his Honour comments, as 
showing not only misconduct on the part of Mr. Betts, but, 
what is of far more importance to the Committee, as supporting 
the grave charges of forgery and perjury against a planter, or, 
at any rate, against their subordinates is that mentioned in 
paragraph 32, which he says accidentally came to his knowledge, 
as one in which Mr. Betts gave a planter a decree against a 
Ryot on a written agreement, purporting to have been made in 
1856, though executed on stamped paper which on inspection 
proved to have been sold in 1859. 

" On investigation this charge proves to be utterly untrue. 

'^ The Koboolyat or agreement in question, of which a copy 
and translation is herewith sent, recites that the Ryot (Hishab- 
dee Shaik Mundle) who was complained against, was indebted 
to the factory at the close of the season 1859, to the extent of 


3r. 3a. 6p. ; that he had received a farther advance of 12r. 
ia cash in consideration of his engaging to cultivate seven 
beegahs with Indigo in 1860, and in the four following years 
terminating in 1864, the correctness of the account showing the 
balance of 3r. 3a. 6p., and the payment of the advance of 
12r. in cash, was sworn to by the manager of the factory, 
Mr. Taylor, and proved by Mr. Betts's inspection of the books, 
and on that evidence Mr. Betts gave the decree against the 
Ryot on the 18th of April, 1860, and the Committee would 
draw particular attention to the different years mentioned 
in that document as those over which the contract was to 

'' On the 27th of July, 1860, Mr. Principal Sudder Ameen 
Bell, who is above referred to, as being considered superior to 
the other magistrates, on hearing another case, delivered the 
judgment, of which a copy is herewith sent, and to which we 
beg his Excellency's particular attention, as his Excellency will 
perceive in that judgment he did refer to the Koboolyat filed in 
the former case, which is above referred to, and apparently 
without having made any further inquiries, and certainly 
without having read the document which, in fact, was not in 
evidence before him, he gratuitously pronounced the same to 
be a spurious exhibit, in as much as it is dated at the foot, in 
figures, December, 1856, when the stamp was sold in November, 

" The Committee beg his Excellency's attention to the 
Koboolyat, which requires only the slightest glance to show 
that the date of the English year 1856 is only a mistake and 
clerical error of the Bengalee writer, and that it was a Koboo- 
lyat for season 1860 to 1864 inclusive, and that the whole text 
and wording of the agreement unquestionably prove this to be the 
case. When an error was made in one of Mr. HerscheFs 
Purwannahs, that of the 19th of April, which caused the 
planters' losses, that can only be estimated by tens of thousands 
of pounds, and Mr. Herschel put forward, as his defence, that 
it was a clerical mistake, and that it was by accident that the 
obnoxious copy happened to go to the only place where it was 
likely to do harm, the planters did not refuse to accept the 
explanation, however opposed to probability. 

*' It would seem, however, that no such feelings of fairness 
are to be evinced by the authorities towards planters, and that 
no opportunity is to be omitted to misrepresent and malign 
them, and this is particularly the case in the present instance, 
where the record could have at once been called for ana 
inspected, and which in fairness ought to have been done. 


^^ The Committee can only hope that neither Mr. Bell himself, 
whom the Lieutenant-Governor designates as the experienced 
Civil Judge : Mr. Herschel, the magistrate, who eagerly seized 
on the casCj and sent it up ; Mr. Lushington the Commissioner 
who reported it to the Lieutenant-Governor; nor Mr. Grant 
himself ever looked at the document before basing on it the 
grave charges that are contained in the Minute. Five minutes^ 
inspection would have prevented a most unjust accusation being 
put forward in an official document, and much of that official 
document would then have been unwritten. 

"In para. 357, his Honour, on whom this case seems to 
have made much impression, again introduces the Koboolyat 
as the foundation of a sarcasm, and a slander on the whole 
body of planters, in the following words : — 

'•'It must doubtless have been agreeable to planters when 
their suits were tried on such a fashion, that decrees were 
obtainable on agreements purporting to be four years old, 
though written on stamps which were in the vendors' shops 
one year ago.^ 

"The Committee respectfully, but most earnestly, beg to 
submit to his Excellency that such language is as unworthy 
of a man holding Mr. Grant's high official position as it has 
now been proved to be unfounded and unjust ; and should his 
Excellency (as they cannot but believe he will), view the matter 
in the same light as they do, they appeal to his high sense of 
honour and fairness to point out to the Lieutenant-Governor 
the propriety of withdrawing the charge as publicly as it has 
been made. 

" In the 37th para., his Honour replies to the complaint 
that was made, of his influencing the minds of judicial officers 
by circulating to all in the districts copy of a decision of 
Mr. Herschel, and of a letter from Mr. Lushington on the 
subject of a charge against the servants of a factory, respecting 
which Mr. Herschel had at that time made a preliminary 

"The communications referred to are annexed, and the 
Committee appeal to his Lordship in Council to say if they 
are not of a nature to prejudice all magistrates against planters. 
" The Committee have carefully gone into the case referred 
to, which was sent up for trial to the judge, whose decision 
was adverse,to the servants of the factory ; but the Committee 
do not hesitate to declare their belief that the decision is 
incorrect; that it was biassed by the proceedings of the 
Lieutenant-Governor ; that it will be reversed on appeal ; and 
if Government will publish Mr. Lushington's communications. 


tlie proprietors of tlie concern are prepared to prosecute for a 
libel, with the object of proving that the allegations ara 
unfounded and untrue. 

"Beyond defending the body they represent from the 
grave and sweeping charges brought against them by the 
Lieutenant-Govomor, the Committee do not desire to contest, 
or to enter into a controversy on individual cases, but they 
feel it their duty to protest on constitutional grounds against 
the interference of the Lieutenant-Governor, which has 
unquestionably been exercised to such an extent as to impair, 
if not to destroy, judicial independence within the districts 
under his control. His Excellency will find, on inquiry, that 
upon the abolition of the office of Superintendent of Police, an 
officer who, from his position, could not be classed with that 
of the Lieutenant-Governor, or be considered as having any 
such influence as that of the head of the Government, the 
supervising control over the proceedings of magistrates, pending 
or disposed of, rests in the hands of the Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal ; and the Committee respectfully submit that such 
a power exercised as it is by Mr. Grant, who is superior to the 
whole Judicial Bench of Bengal, and who has complete power 
over the members of that body, is one that is dangerous to the 
true interests of justice, and one that ought not to exist, more 
especially so when the uncovenanted officers of that body are 
completely under the control and hold their offices subject to 
the pleasure of the Lieutenant-Governor alone. 

" In thus replying to his Honour's minute, the Committee 
have avoided as much as possible acting otherwise than in a 
calm spirit ; but although they feel that they are contending 
with one whose position makes it impolitic on their part to 
enter into controversy with him, they cannot consistently with 
their duty, or feeling as English gentlemen, representing a 
large European Association, composed of many men who have 
not only invested their all in this country, but have done so in 
the belief that they would be protected by the leading principles 
of an European Government, allow such serious charges as these 
brought by his Honour to pass unremarked upon, and without 
protesting against the injustice and impropriety of them as 
they now do ; and, believing that a different line of conduct on 
the part of the Government of Bengal would have led to a very 
different result to that which now exists, they submit these 
remarks to his Excellency, trusting that this matter is one of 
sufficient importance to attract to its careful consideration his 
Excellency's earnest attention.^' 


Latest accounts contained in the " Friend of India^ the '' Bengal 
Hurkaru/' and the " Calcutta Englishman,'^ 

{From the " Friend of India y^ November 29.) 

Government by Abstract Principles. — Logical 
government, like logical theology, is a dangerous mistake in 
practical life. Admirable as systems, both fail when applied 
to men with more passion than intellect, whose habits are the 
result of centuries of growth, whose beliefs are narrow and one- 
sided, whose rights stretch far back beyond the widest statute 
of limitation, whose prejudices must be allowed to perish as 
slowly as they have been permitted to grow. The doctrine of 
predestination may be logically true, but the consciousness of 
man tells him that his will is free. The abominations of 
slavery may be most patent, but the well-being of society 
demanded a gradual emancipation of the slave, and the indem- 
nification of his master. The evils of the system of Indigo 
cultivation which the East India Company created may be 
great, and the logical course is certainly to put an end to them 
at once and for ever. But the good of the cultivator, the 
rights of the Planter, the general quiet of the country, and the 
claims of commerce, all demand that the evils be removed by a 
reformation which will improve the system or render a better 
possible, not by a revolution which will destroy it and sow the 
seeds of a jacquerie. 

What Government by abstract principles has done for 
Lower Bengal may be seen in the present state of the four 
rich districts of Jessore, Nuddea, Pubna, and Furredpore. We 
have been at the pains to make out a list of all the Indigo 
" Concerns " which have this year been suddenly and violently 
ruined. An unwillingness to disclose the private affairs of 
individual Planters prevents us from giving the names in 
detail, but the results of the list now before us are in the gross 
sufficiently startling. They agree in all main points with 
those given by the Indigo Commission in their Eeport. On 
1st October, 1859, there were in these four districts 27 Con- 
cerns, each consisting of a large number of factories, valued in 
the gross at £1,244,000, or about a million and a quarter 
sterling. Of this there is no doubt, as several of them are 
mortgaged to within a narrow margin of the values assigned. 
Their yearly outlay, of which the greater portion was spent in 
the agricultural districts, was .£400,000, or nearly half a million 
sterling. For the past eight years the books of the Calcutta 


Indigo brokers show that these 27 Concerns have manufactured 
25,165 maunds of the finest Indigo, which has been sold at the 
average price of Ks. 210 the 82 lbs. In London the average 
cost has been Rs. 4 a pound. Up to this moment there is no 
prospect of these factories turning out one pound of Indigo 
next season. If put up in the market the property would not 
realize any price whatever. The proprietors are ruined, and 
at least 30 lakhs which they have hitherto put in circulation 
among the Ryots every year are withdrawn. Admitting that 
the Planter ought to have met by anticipating the storm, 
admitting that the whole difficulty is one of price, and that in 
a few months the exasperation of the peasant will cease if he is 
attracted to grow the plant by being paid a fair value, what 
are we to say of the policy which has so worked as at once and 
violently to cause this ruin, and whose only panacea for the evil 
is — more Moonsiffs ? 

Mr. Grant has shown a laudable zeal in answering the 
attacks of the Indigo Planters, in meeting sarcasm by sarcasm, 
charge by counter- charge, complaints by sneers. His answer 
to the last defence of the Planters on the subject of the forged 
contract was sent in to Government a week ago. But as yet 
ill-judged proclamations, fruitful in adding fuel to the discon- 
tent which pervades Lower Bengal, are the only result of the 
Report of the Indigo Commission. In vain has the Govern- 
ment of India called on him for his Minute on that Report. 
In vain has a Bill been hurried through the Legislative CouncU 
to allow the local governments to establish Small Cause Courts 
in the disturbed districts. In vain has the Supreme Council 
voted money for their establishment. Mr. Grant does not 
approve of Small Cause Courts. He believes only in Moonsiffs 
with a regular gradation of appeal up to the Sudder and the 
Privy Council. The only excitement we give to the Bengali 
is litigation, and he does not wish to deprive him of that 
luxury. He cannot allow the establishment of courts in the 
Indigo districts with so large a jurisdiction as to Rs. 500, from 
which there is no appeal, with which he therefore cannot inter- 
fere. But as the Act has been passed he must do something. 
And so he resolves to establish four Small Cause Courts, in the 
suburbs of Calcutta, in Akyab, Dacca, and Moorshedabad. 
He has recommended two grades of judges, on Rs. 700 and 
Rs. 1,000 a month. As to the Indigo districts where the 
courts are really wanted at once he thus calculates. In the 
districts of Jessore and Nuddea there are 19 Moonsiffs. Each 
court must have a jurisdiction not larger than that of two 
Moonsiffs. This would give 10 Small Cause Courts to the two 


districts, and where are judges or money for them to be found? 
Instead of this he proposes to direct the Moonsiffs to arrange 
their cases so that they shall devote three days a week to all 
bond, debt, and minor suits, and three days to those of greater 
duration and importance. The Appellate Courts are to do the 
same, and this is Mr. Grant's reform in the Indigo districts. 
A reform on the present system it is, but as ineffectual for the 
object in view as a drop of water to extinguish Vesuvius. 
The Planters want Small Cause Courts, the Supreme Govern- 
ment have ordered them, the public are convinced of their 
utility. Let Mr. Grant for once throw over his abstract prin- 
ciples, and give them what they want. One judge like Mr, 
Montriou in Jessore, and another in Kishnaghur, will give all 
classes the chief, speedy, and effectual justice for which they 
vainly cry. 

{^^ Bengal Hurkarur 8th December, 1860.) 

Indigo Cultivation. — We publish under the head of 
Official Papers a correspondence which point? out how wholly 
the Government, the magistrates, and the police are answer- 
able for the worst of the riots that have taken place with regard 
to Indigo cultivation. It is only after a lapse of time that 
Planters can prove how false are the accusations of their 
calumniators, among whom the chief is the head of the Govern- 
ment, Mr. John Peter Grant. It was only after some among 
them had been held up to the scorn of the world by that 
gentleman as habitual forgers for about two months, that they 
were enabled to prove that the charge was as false as malicious. 
Mr. Grant also, in a note to one of his minutes, accused Mr. 
Hampton of the Pubna district as guilty of a grave outrage of 
which he has now been fully acquitted and the crime saddled 
upon the police. Messrs. Eden and Herschel in their evidence 
before the Indigo Commission both accused the Messrs. Lyon 
of being oppressive planters. Mr. Herschel told us that he 
was not *^ surprised at the attack upon Benlagram, as the 
concern of which that factory forms a part, both on the Moor- 
shedabad and Malda side of the river, has for many years past, 
been the scene of the gravest outbreaks on the part of the 
Ryots that he has seen in any district." Mr. Eden says that 
the Aurungabad sub-division was established on account of the 
oppression to which the people were subjected by the servants 
of the Messrs. Lyon's factories. In opposition to the testimony 
of these precocious young gentlemen we have the following 


testimony of the magistrate who was deputed to investigate all 
the charges which the Messrs. Lyon's Ryots could bring 
against them, after they had been exasperated to the utmost by 
the result of the battle of Beniagram and while they were 
acting under the influence of a Dhurmoghut or religious con- 
spiracy against them : — 

"In conclusion 1 beg to state that no serious charges of any 
kind were brought before me against Mr. Lyon, by any of the 
accused concerned in the attack on the Beniagram Factory, 
neither am I aware that Mr. Lyon has in any way, personally 
maltreated his Ryots. Petty cases of exactions and ill treat- 
ment on the part of his factory subordinates were at times 
brought to his notice, and instead of at once taking up such 
himself, or referring complaints to our Courts, he would make 
them over to his Sudder Office Amlah, by whom some cases 
were sometimes hushed up, or misrepresented to Mr Lyon and 
redress not always given the aggrieved parties. None of these 
however were of so serious a nature as would have given rise 
to feelings which would have produced the occurrence that has 
been the subject of this enquiry. Since the institution of 
Act XI, of 1860, Mr. Lyon has brought before me but seven 
cases of breach of Contract, all of which have been com- 
promised, the Ryots agreeing to fulfil their engagements, which 
would speak strongly in favor of the feelings existing between 
that Planter and his Ryots." 

Mr. Yule, in the papers we publish, gives a very clear 
account of the cause of the outrage committed against Mr. 
Lyon. The Ryots in one factory of a neighbouring concern 
had been much oppressed by a Gomastah, and had not got 
redress from the manager, nor from the magistrate or police. 
The deputy magistrate from Moorshedabad took no notice of 
their complaints and gave them no redress. They were 
irritated and encouraged to violence by his proceedings. "The 
oppressions they complained of were not enquired into, and the 
violence the result of these oppressions was unpunished : — 

"The excitement spread among the Ryots of other Indigo con 
cerns. They entered into a Dhurmgut or combination under 
religious sanction not to cultivate Indigo. They raised contribu- 
tions to defray the costs which might be incurred by their refusal 
to cultivate. They established signals by the beating of drums 
to enable themselves to assemble quickly at any given spot. 
Darogahs, Jemadars and Burkundazes were sent to the Than- 
nah where this was going on, but they were helpless. Large 
assemblies of Ryots took place at night on the drum signal 
being given, and sometimes even in the day time large bodies of 


men would assemble •ond proceed to this or that village on pre- 
tence of defending it from an attack by the factory. The 
police, however, reported constantly and in strong and urgent 
terms the state of affairs, plainly stating in a report of the 
11th March, that a serious affray with murder would occur. 
Had any enquiry been instituted even then by a competent 
officer, matters would have been settled, but there was no 
officer in the sub* division, and no enquiry was made. More 
police were ordered out, but from the 14th March none of the 
police reports appear to have been noticed until the 26th idem. 
The Ryots got worse and worse, the infection spread to the vil- 
lages of Mr. Lyon's Beniagram factory above five miles from 
Ancoro, on the 1 9th drums were then heard by night answering 
each other from the villages all round." 

After this followed the attack upon Mr. Lyon's factory from 
which he was so providentially saved. Mr. Yule has con- 
demned the Kyots to imprisonment, but he thus speaks of 
them : — 

" Those unfortunate wretches whom I have just convicted 
and sentenced, those who were killed and wounded, many who 
have fled the country were led into the guilt for which they 
have suffered by the conduct of the deputy magistrate sent to 
enquire into the Ancora case, by the subsequent absence of an 
officer from the sub- division, and by the neglect with which 
the police reports were treated." 

The cause of the outrage was not the Planter's oppression 
but the conduct of the deputy magistrate, who was perhaps 
as good a man as either Mr. Herschell or Mr. Eden, and who 
if examined before a Commission, would have probably given 
evidence against the character of the Messrs. Lyon, because 
their factories " had been the scene of the gravest outbreaks 
on the part of the Ryots that he had seen in any district." 
That Mr. Herschell's own conduct was the cause of the out- 
breaks he witnessed is very probable from the fact, that while 
he was in that district hs was severely rebuked by the Judge 
for passing most unjust orders in consequence of his ignorance 
of the vernacular, aU of which was most fully set forth in the 
columns of the Dacca News some two or three years ago. 

In conclusion, we shall quote what Mr. Yule says with 
regard to the cause of the poor Ryots having been betrayed 
into such an outrage against the law, and his opinion with 
regard to Mr. Lyon's gallant conduct and its result : — 

"The reports show how the Ryots, at first amenable to 
remonstrances from the police, gradually learnt to disregard 
them till they attacked Beniagram in open daylight, and in 


defiance of a considerable police force present on the spot. 
The Ryots appeared to have said all along that what they 
wanted was a Hakim to enquire into their grievances, and the 
prisoners in this case plainly told me that they never would 
have been in the scrape they were, had a Hakim been at hand. 
I say the same, and this belief renders the duty of passing 
sentence, at all times a painful one, infinitely more so in this 
case than usual. 

" In conclusion, I must observe that Mr. Lyon by his deter- 
mined defence saved not only his own life and property, but 
had the attack on Beniagram been successful, every Planter 
and factory in this sub-division and Maldah would, I verily 
believe, have been attacked, and there is no saying how far the 
outbreak might have spread. Mr. Lyon had quelled the spirit 
of destruction before almost it was known to be abroad." 

We trust that Mr. Grant will now acknowledge that his 
magistrates and police, and Government are not all faultless, 
and that the country may owe something even to a despised 
Planter. — Ibid., December 7. 

(From the '' Calcutta Englishman " of the 8th December, 1860). 

The secret of the long- continued neglect of Government 
securities with increasing bank balances, and money lying every- 
where idle, is to be found in petitions such as that given below, 
presented this morning to the Legislative Council from all the 
leading mercantile men, and many native capitalists. It is to 
be found also in the universal remonstrance against the Govern- 
mental support of Mr. Grant and his policy, despite their own 
recognition of the difl&culties every day accumulating around the 
position to which his determined enmity to Mofussil interlopers 
upon the Civil Service district autocracies has brought them. 
The resistance to the Planter, and repudiation of every contract 
with him, in which Mr. Grant has tutored and supported the 
Ryot, has developed itself into the destruction of interloping 
property, and resistance to rent-paying as well as contracts, 
and that in districts where no complaint has ever lain against 
the Anglo-Indian residents, who bid fair to be involved in the 
common ruin which is completing the long-foreseen result of 
Mr. Grant's ^^ success." All the circulars that the victorious 
Bengal Government can write will be of no avail with the 
Ryots who see that he is still in power. They continue to 
read or listen to his circulars and proclamations only in the 
sense in which he first taught them to interpret them, and they 



treat as lies and cunning snares anything which implies that 
any change of sentiment or policy can weaken the intente 
cordiale which unites the " small capitalists " of Bengal and 
their great patron in their common enmity to the Planter. 
The weight of the English press has made itself felt most 
terribly in the ranks of the old aristocracy, who begin to think 
that there may be something in what every non-official in 
India has been telling them all along, when they see those 
sentiments, even more strongly expressed, and the self-same 
arguments carried to even harsher conclusions by the whole 
leading press of England. We told our friends and readers in 
England long before, what would be the drift and the worth of 
the report of the Indigo Commission ; we told them long ago 
that the resistance of the Ryots would not long be confined to 
Indigo Contracts, and we tell them now what the Government 
know, but would fain discredit, that the policy of the Bengal 
Government has brought Bengal to that point at which any 
accident at any hour, may rouse large districts from their 
condition of passive resistance to payments, into an active 
jacquerie only to be put down, by force of arms, at which the 
very loudest in protest would be the men whose folly brought 
about the mischief. Meanwhile, Mr. Grant has the satisfaction 
of seeing the men who, on his assuming his lieutenancy, were 
men of wealth, improving whole districts and openinsj up the 
path of civilization, now seeking employment in which their 
energies may make fresh fortunes, not, we may hope to be at 
the mercy of such Governments as that of Bengal under Mr. 


"^ ^oyoy