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From the above minute we may know what was the Government at the period of the acquifition of the Dewannee, and we may alfo, on equal certainty, flate the principle and practice of the revenue fyftem at the fame period.
The principle of the Company's revenue fyftem, applied to their territory, prior to, and at the period of, the acquifition of the Dfivannee, was a fyftematic deviation from the equity of the Moghul fyftem, as is fairly ftated by Governor Holwell in the following extracts *:
To form a juft eftimate of the value and importance of thefe provinces, we muft confider them at the period when they were governed by the younger Princes of the Blood Royal, and fome years before Jaffier Khan's Soubahjhip, for in his time they began to decline and decreafe in their worth, from caufes-j- already inveftigated.
* Interefting Hiftorical Events, 2d edit. Vol. I. p. 178.
t Ibid. Vol. I. chap. 2.
"From his demife, the country for a few years recovered and began to flourim, until within two years of the deceafe of Sujah Khan, when, by the rapacity of Hodjee Hameff the Rajahs and Zemindars were again cruelly opprefled and plundered and were thereby difabled from making good their contracts to Government; foon after that period commenced the ufurpation of Alherdi Khan, that drew on the Mahratta invafion, which overwhelmed the country in miferies of every kind for eight years.
"The peace which the ufurper made with thefe invaders in 1750 feemed for four or five years to promife reftoration of vigour to this harafied country; but its mattered conftitution was fcarcely beginning to revive, when the ram conduct of the fucceeding young tyrant reduced it again to imminent peril, a juft vengeance and neceffity drew the Englim arms againft him and his country, which produced a revolution fatal to himfelf and family — neceffity again produced a fecond revolution—wantonnefs, a third — and wheji we (hall ftop, rime only will difclofc. A few individuals may benefit by this fhifting fyftem; but the total ruin of the trade of the provinces, and to the Company, muft manifeftly, in the end, be the confequence of this continued warfare, if not timely prevented, notwithftanding the flattering, fallacious fuccefs of our arms."—" The country is capable of being reftored under a proper fettled government, and lafting peace; warfare fwallows up new-acquired revenue, turns the heads, and bewilders the Company's fervants from attention to their mercantile bufinefs; and the Direction muft labour under heavy embarraffments in conducting the two branches of war and trade*—A trading and a fighting Company is a two-headed monfter in nature that cannot exift long, as the expencc and inexperience of the latter, muft exceed, confound, and deftroy every profit or advantage gained by the former."— Let us boldly dare to be Soubah ourfehcs, our own terms have been more than once offered to us by the Emperor; why mould
we longer hefitate to accept them? — we have not fcrupled to feize and poflefs part of his territory with violence; furaly it would be more confcientious, and more confiftant with the laws of nature and nations, to hold the whole of thefe provinces under him by his own appointment.
"We cannot enough applaud the feafonable meafure of fending out Lord Clive, which we efteem a happy event. I think the Public will not doubt this opinion to arife from a juft regard to his Lordfhip's character, as they know we lie under 110 obligations to that quarter that might excite our partiality."
"To fum up the whole, we venture to (take our credit and veracity on the aflertion, that the two provinces of Bengal and Bahar will fully yield a revenue of eleven cro res of rupees, or £. 13,750,000; if ityields this under a defpotic, tyrannical government in time of peace, and currency of trade, what may we not more expect from its improvement undera mild Britim one *?"
* Intereft. Hiftor. Events, p. 204.
Governor Holwell, in 1759, had convinced Lord Clive and the Board that his reafons for the public fale of the rents of the Company's lands by auction were uuaufwerable; and the fale was unanimoufly refblved on: he explained the whole to John Payne y Efq. the Chairman of the Board of Directors*. —" I had taken great pains to ferret out the real va'ue of the lands, which was covered with almoft impenetrable obfcurity and difficulty. By an eftirnate I gave Colonel Clive at his return from the Patna expedition, I ventured to pronounce they would yield leven lacks and a half, and the total of their fale on the i ^th July amounted to 7,65700 ficca rupees per annum, exclufive of feveral referves in favour of the Company, fuch as a confiderable tract of land taken from the pergunnahs adjoining Calcutta, to extend its bounds, and all the advantages refulting from holding the royalties and judicial proceedings, &c. in .our own hands on the Company's account: fo that I judge the whole produce of thefe lands (the before
* Intereft. Hiftor. Events, Vol. I. p. 230.