Famine and Dearth

Board of Revenue Proceedings 11-18th May, 1767

About this text

Introductory notes

The early records preserved in the West Bengal State Archive pertains to the administration of the land revenue system by the East India Company. The Company attained the revenue rights of the Province through the Grant of Diwani in 1765. The records in the repositories of the Archive date back to the Select Committee Records in 1768. In the early the revenue administration was managed by various intermediary agencies, these committees reflect the early experiments and confusion of the East India Company over revenue collection.

The Court of Directors decided to reconsider the revenue administration in 1785. On this line the Court wrote in their General Letter, dated 21st September, 1785, that, there would be a Board of Revenue comprising of one of Junior Member of Council, and four other senior servants of the Company. The department would manage the whole administration of settlement, collection and receipt of every branch of the Revenue department together. The Board of Revenue at the Fort William operated from 1786 to 1822.

Selection details

The Court of Directors decided to reconsider the revenue administration in 1785. On this line the Court wrote in their General Letter, dated 21st September, 1785, that, there would be a Board of Revenue comprising of one of Junior Member of Council, and four other senior servants of the Company. The department would manage the whole administration of settlement, collection and receipt of every branch of the Revenue department together. The Board of Revenue at the Fort William operated from 1786 to 1822.

1.

[Page 115]

1.1. Letter from the Collector of Sylhet to John Shore esq

President & Members of the Board of Revenue
Gentleman,

I have this day transmitted to the Preparer of Reports the Jumma Wassil Baukee of the District for the year 1193- At the Commencement of the year the Board was pleased in consequence of any representation to authorize a Deduction of 150,000 lawns, but the Balance notwithstanding my utmost endeavors to the Contrary has auumetated to 2,03,088 being 9221 Rupees more than was authorized, not an anna of which will be recovered-

It grieves me to inform you that all the lower parts of the District is threatened with Famine and unless the grain, the Produce of the former year, is detained and sold at reasonable Price [Page 116] to the Ryots, that part of the District must be depopulated. The Crops, the early one which the land produce and which some weeks ago bore almost favourable appearance is totally swept away and not one grain of corn is saved. I flatter myself when you [...] Directions representing the settlement of the ensuing year: you will take this circumstance into consideration and give that Latitude(?) to the President which the case requires.

, I have the honor to be ,
Robert Lindsay
Note: The Board remark that they have already given instructions to the Collector of Sylhet for forming the settlement of 1194 in expectation of the results of which they for the present suspend any further orders on the subject of the above letter.
[Page 116]

1.2. Agreed that we inform the Collector as follows

To the Hon'ble Robert Lindsay, Collector of Sylhet
Sir,

We have received your Letter of the 28th April accompanying the Jumma Wassil Bakey of your District for 1193, which we are exceeding sorry to observe exhibits so heavy a Balance over and above the Large remission granted from the Demands on forming that Years Settlement.

Having already furnished you with instructions for the ensuing Settlement in expectations of the result, we for the Present suspend giving away any further orders on the subject.

We are,

[Page 147]

1.3. Agreed that Extracts from the above Letters respecting Buldacaul be sent with the following to the Hon'ble Board

To the Right Hon'ble Charles Earl Cornwallis K.G.
Governor General in Council Fort William
My Lord

Enclosed we beg leave to transmit Extracts from two letter received from the Collector of Dacca respecting Buldacaul.

[Page 148]

This Pergunnah now in Balance 94,506-Rupees has been managed during the last year by Hossain Ally Zamindar of 2 a,, 2 G portion of it, who on entering into Engagements at the time of making the Settlement stipulated that his own share should be exclusively responsible for any eventual deficiency in his payments of the Revenue aforesaid on the whole zamindarry committed to his Charge the remaining portions of which belong to the two Widows of his Deceased Brothers.

It appearing by Mr Days information, that there is possible means of recovering the Balances but by a sale of Hossain Ally’s share of the “zamindarry” We are compelled to request the Sanction of your Lordship in Council to this measure, which may in some degree make good the deficiency tho we cannot flatter ourselves that it will entirely provide for it.

[Page 149]

With respect to the late inundation stated by Mr Day, we must observe that however prejudicial it may prove to the Subsequent assets of the Pergunnah. It could not affect the Collection of the years of 1193 since the Payments for that year must have been previously concluded in the Mofusul.

We are

1.4.

[Page 150]
To Mr M. Day Collector of Dacca

We have received your two Letters of the 3rd May. We are sorry to observe so large a Balance due from Baldacaul no part of which we can admit to have arisen from the late inundation since the Collections were undoubtedly previously finished in the Mofusil and the produce of the last two months being the resource of the present years Revenue should not have been anticipated for the arrears of 1193- We wish that with your Statement of the Ultimate Balance you had furnished us with the Wausilaut accounts which were required on the 20th March last in order to inform us of the actual resources of the Purgunnah during the last year but as you have not transmitted them to us, We hope you have sent them to Mr Wroughton. If not we desire that you will furnish them to him as soon as possible with respect to Jadoonarn’s Talook we have taken measures to ascertain if it be the same with that [Page 151] pointed out by you, and shall hereafter inform you the result.

We are & C

1.5.

[Page 151]
To Mr W.Wroughton Collector of Mymensing
Sir

The Collector of Dacca having informed us that the Purgunnah of Buldacaul at the time of delivering it over to you was in Balance 94,506 rupees and that there was no possible means of recovery it but a sale of Hossain Ally’s share of the zemindarry we have applied to the Hon'ble Board for their sanction to this measure.

Mr Day at the same stating the [Page 152] injury done to the District by a late inundation, we request you will instruct the person intrusted by you with the Charge of the Khass Collections to ascertain the real Extent of this injury, that it may not be made an exaggerated plea for want of Assets for the Current years Revenue.

We are & C

This is a selection from the original text

Keywords

corn, famine, grain, grain, inundation, ryot, settlement

Source text

Title: Board of Revenue Proceedings, 11th-18th May, 1787

Subtitle: Volume 16.1

Original compiled 1787

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from manuscripts at the West Bengal State Archives. Original compiled 1787

Digital edition

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 115 to 116
  • 2 ) page 149
  • 3 ) pages 150 to 152

Responsibility:

Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > official correspondence > state archives > West Bengal

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.

Acknowledgements