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Malabar coaft; nor the falt diftricts or Sunderbunds of Bengal be deferted to extend the fale of bay falt from the coaft. It is known that competitions in the MofuJJil are not fo much with foreigners as with JLngli/J} under foreign names; thefe cafes may be all confidered independantly of each other: a very fimple. addition to the regifter of the Company's commercial agent might complete a diftrict regifter of all advances, and it would be to the advantage of foreigners and merchants often to fupply themfelves from the Company's warehoufes, at a fixed per centage on the Aurung coft and charges, in lieu of intereft of money, lofs, &c. The only recjuifite checks appear to be, an immediate control of the exports by the Supreme Board; an abfolute prohibition to tlie Comptroller and, his deputy engaging in any fort o/"inland trade; and a general prohibition to the indirecl trade of the Company's revenue fervants, and to the commercial agents' trade in thofe articles which compofe his provifion - for .the Company, under pain of immediate difmiflion of the fervice; to infift on balances being paid in no other way than by the articles contracted for; and to give weavers, not under advances, the option of their employer.
The delays of weavers are not always fraudulent,|fometimes to enfure fubfiftence they will lend to the Reyuts: thofe who have not Tuccavee, or advances, muf t borrow of Shroffs or of manufacturers, and the manufacturers often receive 2| per cent. per month if they can delay their contract. The competition of balances has proved in all periods and in all branches of management, the fource of oppreflion and peculation; before the Company's adminiftration, the Rajah of was kept
up to his chin in ordure to make him pay his balance; he held out till his Vakeel returned from Delhi, where, by a bribe of 19 lacks he avoided paying 45 lacks. Renters now employ agents to gain allowances, or to fuffer punifhment for delays; and 5nftances have been ftated to me of an agent having fubmitted to feveral floggings before he produced the required payment from his girdle of which his employer had feed him to fue the remiflion; none of thefe abufes and horrors need exift under a fimple fyftem: to perpetuate unequal afleflment and ignorance of internal management, is in fact to perpetuate peculation; and partial reforms are both' ineffectual and oppreffive. I may include what is farther necefiary to be considered in an attempt to'fimplify the fyftem in fome obfervations on
Salt, the firft article fo denominated, has .always been the fource of opulence to individuals or to Government; it is ftated to have been a monopoly, better controlled for the benefit of the people by the Mogul, than by the Britijh Government *; the Zemindars appear to have had the management of the Mahals in their diftricts, for on that title the Company began their claims, and refumcd them on the principle of engroffing every frage of profit, even to affect the hereditary employment of fait
* Ball, Vol. I. p. 174.
merchants in thofe diftridb*. The Government duties oft falr, at 1 before re* marked, were relerved by Meer Jaffier; but the will of the conqueror decided the amount. Mr. Vanpttort had agreed with Meer CoJJttn to pay 9 per cent.; going down the river, he inquired of the boatmen, who informed him that they 'paid 25 per cent., therefore he fuppofed all above oper cent. to he Zemmdary impofhion, and he applied to Meer CoJJim to equalize the duty at 9 per cent.; Mr. Haftings alone concurred with him, and the majority fettled the duty to be 2| per cent. f. The importance 2nd extent of the object cannot be well underftood without a particular inquiry; and the falt monopoly being on all creations inveighed againft in a political and com" mercial view, it will be more conchifive to ftate what it really is, and irriert an abftracl; which 1 made of Mr. Granfs anaryfis of the revenues of Bengal, when I examined his communication on the fait ret. venue, prefented to the Houfe of Com
* Fourth Report Selefl Committee, 1772, p. 460. t Vanftttart, Vol. II. p. 399, 165, 193, 140.
mons in 1789 by Mr. Dundas.
"Mr. Grant obferves, that Sunderbund by fome perfons is derived from Soondery, a wood which abounds there; by others from Soonder, beautiful woods and jungle; but he derives it from Chunder-bund, or offspring of the Moon. The beft and richeft Sunderbunds are in the Pergunanh, Chunderdeep, or lunar territory, falt marfhes, for the moft part overflowed by the fea.
The diftrict of falt lands in which the Bengal manufacture is carried on, for the fake of diftin&ion, he terms Noondeep; it borders on the fea coaft, in a curve, ftretching acrofs the mouths of the Ganges, about 330 Britijh miles from Tellafore Weft, on the frontiers of the Chuck/ah of Midnapore in Oriffa, to IJlamabad, the port and capital of Chittagong, near the fouth-eaft extremity of Bengal; it comprehends, inclufive of the Sunderbtma's, an area of at leaf t 7000 fquare miles, in continent or iflands comprifed in the general dimenflons of the Soubah, and always of confiderable