페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

mentioned referves included) will be annually between nine and ten lacks, the fum I guefled, when in conference with you in England on the fubject.

"Methinks I hear you cry out, what the devil became of this difference laft year? as it muft have been collected, beyond a doubt; or from whence can this advance anfwer to the prefent farmers? The anfwer is eafy and obvious; the difference fell fhort in its way to the Company's treafury, by the felf-fame roads your former revenues were diflipated, prior to the reform of your Zemindary. As your former Zemindars could not juftly be deemed culpable in that cafe, from the frequent change of port, fo in the prefent no blame properly falls on your collector, the truft being too extenfive for any one man exifting; and though frauds are equally obvious from the extraordinary increafe at a public fale, from farmers fubject to every poffible. check and reftraint that can either prevent their debafmg their lands or oppreffing the tenants, yet there is a moral certainty or profit to him, at the expiration of three years, and that they will then yield a farther increafe to the Company.

"I will clear up a circumftance that poflibly may be caufe of wonder to you; by what means I arrived at their real value.

"In the firft place, I had long and full conviction that the fame fyftem of fraud and chicane ran through every Zemindary of the provinces, and from a general knowledge of the country granted to us, it appeared to me aftonifhing they mould yield no more than was brought to the Company's credit, at the clofe of the year in. April 1758, when fo fmall a territory as Calcutta produced, on a fcrutiny and reform, an increafe of 73 to 80,000 ficca rupees per annum. I tried various means to trace out a fatisfactory reafon, and to account to myfelf for it, bnt without fuccels, until I learnt by accident that three or four of the old ftandards, employed as tax gatherers and writers in the pergunnahs, had been dtfmifled at the inftigation of the new operators: I feat privately for one or two of the moft creditable of them, and inquired into the caufe of their difmiffion, and this brought on an opening of the whole fcene, and gave me a fufficient foundation for forming my Letter of the nth' June, 1759*.

"Thus having made you matter of the fubject in as fhort a detail as poflible, I fhall clofe it with this remark, that the fame chain of frauds runs through the whole empire, but more particularly in thefe provinces, to the heavy annual lofs of the Crown, a circumftance which may, in a future, favourable conjuncture, be well worth confideration; at prefent we have but to afk and to have a more eafy acquifition of the Soubahdary than we have already obtained of the Pergunnahs, but the times (1759) are not yet ripe for fo great a grafp, nor have we fufficient ftrength to hold it; though it is certain, were we Soubahs of the provinces, the Emperor would receive more than double the revenues thefe provinces ever produced to him, and the Baft-India Company would become in a fhort time the richeft body of fubje&s in the world*.

* Interefting Hift. Events, Vol. I. to C. Manningham, Efq. and Council, p. 226; and farther detail of the value of the Pergunnahs under different management, Vol. I. p. 216.

** On a candid and attentive perufal of my third chapter-f, it will be obvious, from the whole tenor of it, that it is calculated to incite you to attempt the poffeffion of this country in truftfor the Emperor, and thereby put a period to a diftrucYive and inadequate war: but can you imagine I excite you to this from the confideration of the worth of the provinces, according to the rates ftanding on the King's books? no; it is from the confideration of their real value and aflualproduce, and the farther confederation of how much this produce would certainly be iacreafed under an Englifh Soubah J.

* Interefting Hift. Events, Vol. I. p. 231. t Ibid. Vol. I. p. 177.

\ Ibid. Vol. I. p. 211, fupplementary letter to H. C.BouJton, Efq. and the Dirtffors, December 1765.

"You have been told, gentlemen, that the revenues of Bengal are rated in thd King's books under three crores of ficcaf rupees; if it is faid the knds are Ib rated,you have been told the truth; thefe only go into the Royal Treafury, and, to the beft of my remembrance, are rated two crores feventy-five or feventy-fix lacks, and fome odd, thoufands rupees'. Ought this information, without looking farther, to be taken as a proof of my exaggeration? when my eftimate exprejfly includes the rents of the lands, and the revenues arijing from their produce, which I have eftimated conjungly at eleven crores, and now proceed! to the proof*, refting it upon what thofe converfant in your affairs in India will admit to be an indifputable fact, that the lands throughout the provinces bear nearly a proportional value to each other."

• I repeat then, and infift on my eftimate, that exelufive of the royalties, upon an obvious and fair calculation, the whole lands of the three provinces have never

\ •

* Statement of the value of the Pergunnaks, Intereft, Hift. Events, p. 216.

« 이전계속 »