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machinery, and of the helpless position of the English administrators, was to throw the whole management into the hands of the zemindars; and thus, as during Mahomedan rule, and for the same reasons, the helplessness of the Government was the opportunity of the zemindar. It is true the Government long struggled against this result; and, on the 7th April 1786, the Board of Revenue directed the appointment of servants of the Company as Collectors throughout the huzoory mehals, who were to realise the revenue, and “to preserve the ryots and other inferior tenants from the oppression and exactions to which they are in this country so peculiarly liable from the superior landholders and renters." The Collectors were directed to obtain, amongst other particulars, all possible information as to what land was held free of revenue. The native provincial dewans were abolished ;3 thus completing the reversal of the policy of the 14th May 1772 and 23rd November 1773. At the same time “the ancient constitutional check of the canoongoes' department” was revived and the two head canoongoes were to reside at the khalsa in the Presidency. With respect to the revival of this office, the Governor-General in Council, on the 19th July 1786, expresses the opinion that, in order to remedy the confusion that had grown up, the officers of the canoongoes' department must be placed “upon their ancient footing, altogether independent of the zemindars ;” and he

· Colebrooke's Supplement, 243. See the details of Collectorships, ib., 246, 247.

· Ib., 250. * Ib., 245. * Ib., 246.

262

PREPARATION FOR THE DECENNIAL SETTLEMENT.

VII.

Decennial

LECTURE appoints Mr. Grant sheristadar, as a step towards the

restoration of the old system.

On the 12th June 1786 the Committee of Revenue was abolished, and a Board of Revenue substituted under orders

from the Directors, dated 21st September 1785.2 Instructions for Lord Cornwallis arrived on the 12th September 1786.5 Settlement. In 1784 the statute 24 Geo. III, c. 25, for the better regula

tion and management of the affairs of the East India Company and of the British possessions in India, had directed, by s. 39, that orders should be given “for settling and establishing, upon principles of moderation and justice, according to the laws and constitution of India, the permanent rules by which the tributes, rents, and services of the rajahs, zemindars, polygars, talookdars, and other native landholders, should be in future rendered and paid;" and Lord Cornwallis brought with him a letter dated 12th April 1786, of the following purport:— With a view to carry into effect the intention of the Legislature, who further directed an inquiry into, and eventual redress of, the grievances alleged to have been sustained by many of the native landholders within the British territories in India, stated to have been unjustly deprived of, or compelled to abandon and relinquish, their respective lands, jurisdictions, rights, and privileges, the Court of Directors issued orders for a full investigation of the truth and extent of such grievances; and also for ascertaining, as correctly as the nature of the subject would admit, “what were the real jurisdictions, rights, and

· Colebrooke's Supplement, 251 to 253.
? Ib., 247. Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 48. Fifth Report, Vol. I, 15.
• Fifth Report, Vol. I, 14.

PREPARATION FOR THE DECENNIAL SETTLEMENT.

263

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privileges of zemindars, talookdars, and jageerdars under
the constitution and customs of the Mahomedan or
Hindoo government, and what were the tributes, rents, and
services which they were bound to render or perform
to the sovereign power; and in like manner those from
the talookdars to their immediate liege lord, the zemindar;
and by what rule or standard they were or ought sever-
ally to be regulated.” The Court at the same time were
of opinion that the spirit of the Act would be best observed
by fixing a permanent revenue on a review of the assess-
ment and actual collections of former years; and by form-
ing a settlement, in every practicable instance, with the
landholders; establishing at the same time such rules as
might be requisite for maintaining the rights of all descrip-
tions of persons under the established usages of the coun-
try, and the clause in the Act of Parliament above referred
to, which the Governor-General in Council was desired to
consider with minute and scrupulous attention, “taking
especial care that all the measures adopted in the adminis-
tration of the revenues be consonant to the sense and
spirit thereof.” Presuming therefore that the assets of
the land must be sufficiently known without any new
scrutinies under the various attempts made to ascertain
them since the year 1765, and wishing to fix a moderate
assessment upon the estates of the several landholders,
such as the latter might pay without having a plea for
harassing their tenants, the Court of Directors gave instruc-
tions for the formation of a settlement to be regulated
by these principles on a revision of the jumma and collec-
tions of past years; and to be concluded for a period of
ten years. In fixing this specific period the Court expressed
their apprehension that “the frequency of change had

264 PREPARATION FOR THE DECENNIAL SETTLEMENT.

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created such distrust in the minds of the people as to render the idea of some definite term more pleasing to them than a dubious perpetuity;" but they, at the same time, directed that the whole arrangement, when completed, should be reported to them, with every necessary document and illustration, to enable them "to form a conclusive and satisfactory opinion, so as to preclude the necessity of further reference, or future change."

In accordance with these directions enquiries were set on foot under orders contained in a letter from the GovernorGeneral in Council to the Board of Revenue, dated 5th February 1787. The letter refers to the 39th section of 24 Geo. III, c. 25, as designed to introduce permanent rules upon principles of moderation and justice, according to which the tributes, rents, and services of rajahs, zemindars, polygars, and talookdars might be rendered ; and with this view, and in conformity with the orders from home, the Governor-General in Council declares his intention, as soon as sufficient information has been obtained, " to settle a permanent revenue with each zemindar for a long term of years.” But he considers that this cannot be done before the next settlement, “particularly as, after the conclusion of such a settlement, it is determined to leave the landholder in the uninterrupted management of his district, without renewing inquiries into the value and produce of his lands." The Board were therefore to keep this object constantly in view; and for that purpose, according to the letter of the 12th April 1786, to “ascertain, as correctly as the nature of the subject will admit, what were the real jurisdictions, rights,

" Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 173, 174.
· Colebrooke's Supplement, 346.

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1194.

and privileges of zemindars, talookdars, and jagheerdars LECTURE

VII. under the constitution and customs of the Mahomedan or Hindoo government; and what were the tributes, rents, and services which they were bound to render or perform to the sovereign power; and in like manner those from the talookdars to their immediate liege lord, the zemindar; and by what rule or standard they were or ought severally to be regulated.”

It was proposed to form Collectorships throughout the Settlement for country; and when that scheme should be carried into effect, the Governor-General directed that the Collectors should make the settlement for 1194 (1787) for one year, and with the zemindars wherever practicable; exceptions being allowed in case of “ incapacity from age, sex, or lunaey, contumacy or notorious profligacy of character;" in which cases, when safe, “a discreet and reputable relation by way of guardian or dewan" was to be preferred to a farmer or Government officer. The letter notices that further regulations would be necessary to protect the ryots as well as the zemindars. It states that the Court of Directors disapprove of“ minute examinations or new local investigations into the actual value of the lands." But a complete account of each zemindary, and of the revenues at the time of the English accession, was directed to be drawn up.

The enquiries thus ordered were of a very comprehensive Regulations description, and they were the basis of the Permanent of the CollecSettlement. In the meanwhile annual settlements were continued. The proposed Collectorships were formed, on the 21st March 1787, in accordance with a scheme framed

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· Colebrooke's Supplement, 346 to 351.
Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 48, 175.
• Fifth Report, Vol. I, 15.

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