Famine and Dearth

Board of Revenue Proceedings, 2nd-31st May, 1788

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.

1.1.

[Page 374]
To John Shore Esq President & Members of the Board of Revenue, Fort William
Gentlemen,

Enclosed I have the honor to forward to you translation of the Letter which I have this day received from the Dewan of Edrackpore in answer to my perwannah communication to him your orders of the 29th Ultimo with respect to the balance due from that District.

I have written to him in reply that the Style of his letter is very exceptionable, and that as from the [Page 375] matter of it I am led to suppose he does not mean to avail himself of the Boards offer he must remain in strict confinement until he discharges the balance.

I have the honor to be
D H McDowall Collector
[Page 375]

1.2. Translation of a Letter from Raj Kishore Roy, Dewan of Idrackpore to Mr McDowall Collector of Rungpore

I have been honored by the receipt of you Perwannah of 1st of Cheyte, in which inform me that, having laid before the Gentlemen in Calcutta, an account of the State of Idrackpore, the Zamindary of my late principal Mr Gournaut Ray, and acquainted them of the inquiry made by Mr Graham they had returned for answer that if either the discharge the balance of the aforesaid Pergunnah to the present period, and give sufficient assurances that the relief shall be extended to the Ryoits they would endeavor to obtain from the Governor in Council, a Suspension of 15,000 Rupees from [Page 376] the amount of last year's Revenue to be paid in the ensuing years and that as soon as they shall hear of these direction being complied with they will endeavor according to the request of the Ranny to obtain a Sunnud in her name” and to this you direct me to return on immediate answer....

[Page 379]

You say that “a suspension of 15,000 Rupees will be granted by the Gentlemen in Calcutta as soon as I shall have satisfied you that the relief shall be extended to the Ryots”- I have granted very large deductions to the Farmers and others on account of the death and desertion of Ryots, but as it is impossible for me convince you of this without and enquiry being made, I request, that Mr Graham may be sent to ascertain all the particulars upon the Spot, by comparing the with the Investigations which he may have already made, and I shall then pay whatever he may fix upon to be the amount of the revenue.

[Page 384]
James Graham, Assistant Collector
This is a selection from the original text

Keywords

farmer, ryot, zamindar

Source text

Title: Board of Revenue Proceedings, 2nd-31st May, 1788, Board of Revenue Proceedings

Subtitle: Vol-39

Original date(s) covered: 1788

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from manuscripts at the West Bengal State Archives. Original date(s) covered: 1788 West Bengal State Archive

Digital edition

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 374 to 375
  • 2 ) pages 375 to 384

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