Francis Carnac Brown.

Letters to and from the Government of Madras, relative to the disturbances in Canara, in April, 1837, with some explanatory notes. To which is prefixed a letter to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company online

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Online LibraryFrancis Carnac BrownLetters to and from the Government of Madras, relative to the disturbances in Canara, in April, 1837, with some explanatory notes. To which is prefixed a letter to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company → online text (page 8 of 19)
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vessels are not to go anywhere but to their own countries, and there
unload. 4. The commander or supercargo of such vessels must give a
bond, with the security of a merchant who lives at the port where the
ship takes the cargo, with penalty of 100 rupees per ton (£lO) that she
delivered the cargo in the port bound for; when the certificate is pro-
duced that such has been done, the bond is to be made null and void.
5. The above vessels are not to be allowed to trade along the Coast, but
may take in part of the cargo at one port and part at another. 6. A
certificate for inland duty is to be taken in part payment. 7. Goods
trans-shipped are to be liable to the same duty as if imported, but the

Collector of Customs may alter this, if it is hard to the trade. 8. .

9. . 10. .

E. P. Blake,

Collector of Customs.


Rules for the Peons and Kolkars (officers) of the Sea Customs.

1 . The Peons employed in this department must be young, active,
and vigilant. 2. They are to find security for their good behaviour.

3. . 4. . 5. . 6. They are to take care that no boats

are employed at night, except by particular orders, or in case a ship is
in distress. 7. They are to search the goods, and to take care that no
goods pass but what have been searched, and are regularly brought to

the Custom-house yards. 8. . 9. The peons are to seize all goods

passing without paying duty. 10. Such goods they are to deliver to the
Manager, and mention all the circumstances; and then, if confiscated,
they will receive one-half of the price of them. 11. If any person in-
forms of persons smuggling, the Peons must assist, and half of the price
of the goods seized will be shared between the Peons and the person

who informed. 12. . 13. They are to inform the managers of

any persons who fill up rivers by throwing ballast into them, or build
walls in the rivers, &c. 14. They are to prevent any goods being landed
or shipped after sunset, or before sunrise. 15. . 16. When neces-
sary, they are to go on board of vessels and demand of the commander
to let them see there is no smuggled articles on board. 17. If any are
found, they are to have them landed, and carry them to the Custom-
house. 18. . 19. .

E. P. Blake,

Mangalore, 12 July, 1812. Collector of Customs.

These are the Custom-House Regulations, whicli I found strictly en-
forced in Malabar, on arriving there to reside.

The then Governor of Madras was Sir T. Munro. Some years before
(1817) he had visited that Province as Revenue Commissioner, for the
purpose, in official phrase, " of developing its resources ;" the resources
of India being developed not by the skill, the labour, and the capital of
the people, but by the periodical visits of the tax-hunter. It was im-
possible but that Sir T. Munro must have visited some of the Sea-Custom-
houses, as well as the Inland, and there have seen these Regulations.
This being the case, I conceived the best way of drawing attention to
them was to send them to the Court of Directors. I accordingly trans-
mitted an attested copy to the late Mr. Rickards, with an earnest re-


quest that he would bring them privately to the notice of the India
House. Mr. Rickards informed me he had lost no time in putting them

into the hands of one of the most influential among the Directors,

this gentleman shrugged up his shoulders, and took no other notice
whatever of them. Nearly fifty consecutive years' proofs have I in my
possession, of the same ceaseless, persevering, continued attempts, made
by father and son, to render important services in every department of
the Government, without the least desire of notice or return. What is the
reward of all ? To be driven from my property, or to consent to live on it
upon the condition of being an object of scorn and contempt to every
honourable mind, and of loathing to myself. But that is beside the
present case.

It has been seen that the express orders of the Court of Directors,
the Supreme Lords of the soil, are, to begin by taking from the land of
India, as direct tax, " the whole surplus produce in all cases" and that in
money, determined by their own Collectors, without the least respect
either to the immemorial practice of the country, which always fixed
the demand upon the Native, in produce, or the smallest reference to the
great and regularly progressive increase in the value of money, as com-
pared with produce, which such a tax must inevitably generate and
perpetuate. The Custom-House Rules enforced show that, in the Ma-
ritime Provinces of Madras, where the sea is the only higiiway, the
indirect tax fixed upon every article whatever of produce, except the
most valuable, which are liable to 15 or 18 per cent., is an export duty
of 8 per cent., besides Stamps and Fees, levied upon them, when taken
from the interior coastways, for sale at the nearest port, if it be but a
mile; that this duty is again exacted if, at the expiration of a short
time, the produce remaining unconsumed, it is transported for sale from
the first to any otlier port in the same Province; and that if the produce
be transported, within the time allowed, for sale in any other Province,
it is there subjected to duty, as an import, agreeably to the different Tariff
of that Province.

In order to make the operation of such a system plain and palpable, let
it be applied to any other country in the world — to Scotland, for example
— no larger than many Indian Provinces. Let us suppose the Government
of Great Britain to take in the first instance, in money, the whole rental
of the land of Scotland ; to take it from every acre and every fraction of
an acre in every parish in that kingdom; to collect this money at every
county town ; and, monthly, to send every farthing, except the fraction


(36 shillings) spent in each parish, to be hoarded in the Treasury at
Edinburgh : let us suppose that there are no roads, — therefore, no carts,
in the country; that all the inland traffic is by porters, with tolls at
every bridge and at every ferry, at which a Native with only a bundle
in his hand is considered as a loaded animal, and pays double toll every
time he passes, the European and his suite paying nothing. (Some years
ago, the tolls levied in Malabar, lying in the Treasury, amounted to
60,000 Rupees, a sum which, judiciously expended, would have made
many, many miles of excellent roads. What was done with it ? Every
Rupee was carried to account as surplus revenue !) Let us suppose
a Custom-House erected at the mouth of every stream, and river, and
accessible spot on the coast from the Tweed east, to Solway Firth west;
at which every article of produce passing sea-wards is stopped for 8 per
cent, duty, besides stamps and fees : let us suppose this to be called
an export by sea, and the same articles, if subsequently taken to another
port in Scotland, if from Leith to Dunbar, to be subject to a fresh
duty of 8 per cent. : let us suppose the article taken to any port in the
adjoining counties of Cumberland or Northumberland, and to be there
stopped, as a7i import, and taxed with fresh duty, besides stamps and
fees, according to a different tariff in that county : let us suppose the
articles to be so met and stopped at every port in every different county
coastways, all the way to London : let us suppose all the coin of Scot-
land so collected directly and indirectly at Edinburgh, to be transmitted
periodically to London : let us suppose that it is the return trade
(imports) from London to Scotland, placed exactly upon the same
footing as the trade outwards, which must bring all this coin back to
Scotland, during the eight months of the year that the Coast-Navigation
is open ; while, during ten months of the year, the Government is
rigorously calling upon the people in the remotest parishes and hamlets
to pay monthly the direct land-tax, and their tax on every house and
shop, in this coin, under pain of having their moveables and immove-
ables sold, and these failing, their persons imprisoned : let a man
suppose two necessaries of life, Salt and Tobacco, to be Government
Monopolies : let him suppose all these, only the most striking points of
the system, to be applied to Scotland, and then let him say whether
the marvel would be, not that the people were almost uniformly quiet
patient, and submissive under such a Government, but that the standing
miracle would be, that the whole country was not one deadly, perpetual,
endless scene of riot, insurrection, and bloodshed from one end to the other.


There is that country, there are the people; let any candid, impartial
man, desirous for the truth alone, go among and question them, and then
let the truth of what I have here adduced and stated be gainsaid.

If, with the same desire, he wishes to consult on the subject high
modern authorities, writing above all suspicion of prejudice, partiality,
or local interest; discarding all preconceived notions, he has only to
read with patient attention two very moderate-sized works : the first,
" The present Land-tax of India," by Major-General Briggs, an Officer
who for many years filled several of the highest civil situations under
the Government : the second, " Notes on Indian Affairs," by the late
Honourable Frederick Shore, a Judge in Bengal ; whose untimely death
I conceive to be one of the greatest calamities which has befallen India,
and as a public loss to his country.

(Note C Pageol.)

Even such afflicting details will convey nothing like a correct idea of the
incurable condition in which these desolate countries now become plunged .
There is left in them nor seed-corn, nor plough-cattle, nor money to buy
them with. The Government is obliged to turn money-lender, and
make advances for seed, and cattle, and present food, to the remnant of the
population, taking receipts for the future repayment of the advance,
called " tuccavi;" the name by which this fatal remedy is disguised,
yet the only remedy there is to stay the pestilence. Of ten Rupees
" tuccavi," which the Collector advances, through the agency of course
of hundreds of Native officials, the starving village cultivator may get
three, passing a receipt for ten (or not getting one if he refuses), which
sum is entered against him in the public Accounts. The Revenue is
partially remitted for one or more years ; but " the Jimimu," as it is
called, or Jixed assessment, remains unaltered in the Accounts, as the
standard to be reverted to and demanded, together with the advance,
whenever there is a prospect of realizing them, all or in part. A very
few years are sure to brine; round a " crack" Collector, or a want of rain .
If the first, he issues peremptory orders, desiring all outstanding balances
to be collected, under pain of dismissal, to his Native subordinates;
and to show them he is in earnest, he carries every fraction of their pay to



1 thft public account, as revenue collected. This I have positively known
to be done. I have known arrears of 19 years' standing exacted by the
Collector himself. From the nominal debtors ? No, not at all ; they were
mostly dead and departed ; the arrears were exacted from whomsoever
was found in actual occupation or possession of the land. I have seen
these men confined for days and days together, until, wearied out with the
persecution, they paid the demand, and — then starved with their families
for the rest of the year through, while the Collector received the highest
praises for his zeal and ability.

If the country be a bare, open country, the recurrence of a failure of
rain, partial or total, is inevitable, in consequence of the physical
character of the climate, produced and perpetuated by the same system;
hence, as inevitably, a recurrence of famine. No Native toiling for his
scanty daily food can dream, under such a system, of planting a tree,
which would require 15 or 20 years to yield him fruit. If he were such
an idiot as to plant one, he knows he would have to pay assessment,
just the same, for the ground it stands on and covers. " When a field
contains a few tamarind, kikar, or other productive trees, you will make
NO DEDUCT] ON for the land under their shade, because the ryot (occu-
pant) derives a profit from them." — (Sir T. Munro's Instructions to
Revenue-Surveyors, Rule 15. Would that men of sense and feeling
would read all these rules and judge for themselves of their operation !)
Thus, the fact of there being a fruit-tree in the open fields in India (a
crab-mango, worse than a crab-apple) is proof' that it yields a profit !
The Government, the sole Landlord, of course never thinks of planting
a tree for fruit, or shade, or for one of the ameliorating uses of soil and
climate, for which trees, in the wise economy of nature, are the indispensa-
ble agents. What then is the consequence ? The soil, incessantly cropped
without manure, becomes exhausted of its fertilizing constituents. But
the capacity of a soil to absorb and retain moisture depends entirely
upon its fertility, upon the proportion of fertilizing constituents which
it holds. As soon, therefore, as the scanty crop is off this exhausted soil,
the fierce sun darts down, unobstructed, and destroys and drinks up in
a few days every trace of vegetation and moisture. Then are generated
and arise the hot winds, the Simoom of India, sweeping night and day
over the arid, adust, wastes, loaded with fire and sand, making respiration
an effort, and existence a burthen. If, from some cause difficult to trace,
but certain to recur, the fiery blast continues to rage beyond the usual
months of suffering, the rain-fraught clouds, instead of being condensed


and descending in blessed drops at the vvislied-for time, pass over, and
leave the devoted country a prey to all the horrors of another famine.

Although I have witnessed this result from partial experiment, I shall
cite in support of its inevitable occurrence, far higher and abler autho-
rity, and refer others, who may still feel doubts as to the universality of
a great physical law, or who think that the profound purposes of Nature
are meant to subserve the crude and cruel theories of man, to the his-
tory of New Holland ; where uniform experience has shown, that the
destruction of the trees in a tract of forest has invariably been followed
by the desertion of rain and moisture from the tract. (See Lang's
New South Wales.)

" The character, as well as the temperature, of a climate must depend
very much on the quantity of rain which falls, while the quantity of rain
and the vegetation of u country mutually act on each other as cause and
effect. This interesting fact we will explain by an example :

" Let us consider an extended plain of sand in any tropical country,
as Africa. The sun will heat the surface and the air ; but the earth,
accumulating the heat more rapidly and more permanently, will com-
municate to the lower portion of the air a greater degree of temperature
than it would otherwise have; and, from a well-known law, this heated
portion of air would ascend, and its place be supplied with colder air
coming from a distance, which would, in its turn, become heated, and
rise, producing a constant current upwards of hot air. Now this cur-
rent of hot air would prevent the clouds passing over the spot from
condensing by cold and rain ; hence no rain would fall on the parched
soil, and it is certain that, without moisture, little or no vegetation can
be produced.

" But if the plain consist, instead of barren sand, of some earth favour-
able to vegetation, the last would screen the earth from the accumulating
heat. Little or no current upward would arise; either clouds would be
condensed in the higher regions, and rain would fall, or the vapours would
be condensed by the colder vegetable clothing, and this dew would
accelerate the growth of fresh plants, till in time a forest might cover the
former naked expanse. These trees would still farther shade the earth,
and preserve its moistened surface from evaporation ; it would also
attract moisture, and consequently keep down the temperature of such
a country."

So total and complete is the revolution which is gradually being
wrought in the climate of Madras, that, for the last fourteen successive


seasons, there has not been known what is called " a good Monsoon ;"
that is, there has not fallen the quantity of rain which used to fall every
year between October and January, and the perennial regularity of
which is attested by the tanks and embankments constructed there, as
generally throughout India on every advantageous spot, not only as
reservoirs to retain the periodical rain, but as vast basins to receive
swollen streams, diverted into them from running waste to the sea.
Coincident nearly with this change, in the character of the climate, have
been the visitations of the Cholera, whicli never wholly cease, and have
there been more rife and fatal, among the Native population, than in
almost any other region swept by the scourge.

Thus it is, as the impartial inquirer will find who directs his investi-
gations to that great country, the cradle of human civilization, that, by
uprooting the foundation of civil society, coeval with, and arising with
all its relations from, the institution of private property in tlie soil, and
incapable of being rested on any otiier solid and permanent basis than
the sacred and inviolable recognition of this right in the descendants, by
whatever legal title, of those who first felled the forest and peopled the
waste ; short-sighted rapacity, like the earth devouring her children,
is sure gradually to convert the fairest regions on the globe into little
better than howling wildernesses ; by usurping a dominion which it is
impossible for Sovereign Power, from its constitution, its paramount
duties, and its unavoidable ignorance, to exercise in any other manner,
than by entailing irremediable evil and misery upon the victims whom
it despoils, at the same time that it degrades, in the course of one gene-
ration, to the abject moral and physical condition, whence centuries
alone of struggles and of experience could have enabled them, or any other
people, to emerge.

The European instrument of this spoliation, sent over the waste to
hunt out land-revenue, but panting in vain for repose or rest, or stricken
to the heart by the fatal climate, beholds the scene with unutterable
loathing and abhorrence; and although stumbling at every step on monu-
ments attesting liie wealth, the industry, and the civilization of the former
myriads who peopled it, he doubts whether the beneficence of Provi-
dence can have designed such a country for the habitation of civilized
man. From blasted inanimate nature, he turns to the wasted forms of
animated existence he now sees around, cowering at his presence; he
denies that beings, who accept of life on such terms and conditions, as
living there as they live, can be possessed of the feelings and sentiments


which entitle them to rank in the creation in the same scale as that to
which he himself belongs, and hence, incapable as they are of resistance or
remonstrance, he learns, by degrees imperceptible to himself, to debase
them by treatment, which his better nature would revolt from bestowing
upon the dog which crouches at his feet.

If from India the enquirer turn to Great Britain, in whichsoever way
he directs his regards, he will find that this same system of impolicy and
injustice is gradually enveloping and coiling round the permanent great"
ness and prosperity of his own country, insure, hidden, deadly, and inex-
tricable folds. If he look at the far West, he will see that the system has
forced into existence, in little more than forty years, one production alone,
the staple for centuries and tens of centuries of India, as it would still be
in supplies wholly illimitable from the unfettered land and labour of
one hundred millions of Natives ; and that Great Britain, not merely for
the continuance of her commercial predominance, but for the hourly
maintenance of her domestic tranquillity, is rendered dependent upon
receiving from America three-fourths of the cotton which America, by
tlie labour of 600,000 slaves, has now been brought to produce (1 ,600,000
bales); the possession of which staple, doubling as its growth there does
every nine years, must, in the same rapid progress of time, hurried on-
wards by the gigantic growth of capital, enable this rival to supplant
and ruin British Manufacturers in all the marts of commerce they now
frequent, as she already successfully competes with them in some the
most distant and profitable, those of Africa and China,

In the extreme East, upon which all classes of the empire, from the
peasant in his cottage to the Prince on the throne, depend for an indis-
pensable necessary of life, he will see that, by the proscription of the
fur cheaper cotton of India; supplied with which the British Manufac-
turer would, at the hour that is now passing, have clothed the hundreds
of millions of the population of China, from Canton to the Great Wall,
in peaceable, friendly, and most beneficial exchange for their tea; the
British Merchant is beheld setting at defiance, and waging armed war
against, the established laws of a vast Empire, for the purpose of forcibly
introducing into it, as almost the only equivalent he can procure, a most
pernicious drug (opium) which that Empire deems it a duty peremptorily
to prohibit^ as being alike fatal to the health and the morals of its peo-
ple ; he will hear the Merchant calling loudly upon his country to
avenge by the sword the personal insults and contumelies heaped upon
him, because this Empire, averse to war, yet mighty in its strength, will


no more than tolerate a race of men, whom their conduct obliges it to
regard in the light of a band of hardened smugglers, nor suffer them to
inhabit any other spot in the country than a despised, remote corner of
a few hundred yards extent, nor to hold intercourse with any but the
dregs of its populace.

If the inquirer ask whence is derived the supply of this noxious com-
modity, if he demand, what its necessity? he will learn, that it is all
derived from India, that the Government of India it is, which retails the
poison to the Merchant, after first erecting it into an odious and vexa-
tious Monopoly upon the Natives, and that it is that Government which
defends and maintains the necessity of the monopoly by the declaration
that, deprived of this resource, India in its hands would be bankrupt !

These are only a few of the results, in one or two branches of com-
merce, which await the candid and impartial inquirer after truth, who
calmly traces no more than the obvious effects of the system of Govern-
ment, pursued towards the Natives of India, upon the great and solid
interests of Great Britain; these are the results which he will find await-
ing his investigations; this is what he will discover, instead of beholding
such a spectacle as the world never before beheld, but which it would
now behold — the spectacle of his country flourishing as the seat of a com-
merce so vast, that her present unrivalled greatness, maritime and
manufacturing, sinks by the side into utter and worthless insignificance:
a commerce and an industry which unbeheld, exceed all the powers of
the imagination to grasp in value or in extent; but which would now
exist, made palpable to the senses by the certainty of living demonstra-
tion, if a course of enlightened wisdom, impartial justice, and strict
moderation had ruled India in leading subserviency to her own in-
terests, demonstrably proved to be the plain, the real, and the cardinal
interests of Great Britain: by giving to the millions of peaceable, indus-
trious Natives of that great country, all they asked in return for a
willing and cheerful obedience, and all that they now ask, entire secu-
rity of person, and the right conceded and inviolably preserved to every
other subject of the British Crown, whatever his caste, his complexion,
or his country, the right of tilling, unmolested by the Government or its
myrmidons, that soil, which the plainest understanding must perceive,
no Government on earth, nothing but the capital, the labour, and the
knowledge alone of their forefathers, could have redeemed from the
waste, could have converted into the property, which the Sovereign-lord
now seizes ;is his mvn, and have made it the habitation of man.


But if such would now be the commercial spectacle presented by
Great fJritain, had this just and simple course of rule been followed, the

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Online LibraryFrancis Carnac BrownLetters to and from the Government of Madras, relative to the disturbances in Canara, in April, 1837, with some explanatory notes. To which is prefixed a letter to the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company → online text (page 8 of 19)